Back pain, neck pain and numbness of hands when riding a bicycle – how to prevent them?

Back pain, neck pain and numbness of the hands when cycling, with intensive use, are very common. Their cause is above all the wrong attitude resulting from inadequate bicycle adjustment. Read how you can deal with back, neck and numbness pain while cycling and what to do when they appear.

Neck pain, neck pain and numbness of the hands are ailments with which both novice and experienced cyclists are struggling - it is difficult to find a lover of two-wheeler claiming that during the ride and after the ride, it never hurt. Fortunately, it is usually easy to diagnose the reasons for this and implement steps that counteract them.

Back pain, neck pain and numbness on the bike - what causes it?

Causes of back pain

Back pain neck pain and numbness of hands when riding a bicycle

If you are wondering why you may get a neck pain when you ride a bike or shortly after it, there may be several answers. It's mostly depends on your driving style. First of all, that when you are driving, you take a leaning position, and consequently - to be able to see well what is happening on the road - you bump your head. It's an unnatural position and unnatural muscle tension.

Every day, when we change our head, we tighten the neck muscles and relax, and riding a bicycle with constant leaning requires a constant tension. As a result, the blood vessels that narrow the oxygen neck muscles become narrower, which in turn leads to hypersensitivity of the muscle fibers and spasms. 

Sometimes these ailments may even cause cervical migraines, i.e. headaches caused by the pressure of the cervical nerves, and manifesting themselves with radiating pain from the back of the head to the forehead.

If the pain persists after changing the regulation of the bike, it may mean that the muscles have been damaged or there is inflammation and it is necessary to consult a doctor.

Causes of neck pain

Neck pain on the road bike also causes a forced tilting position. Then there is a disturbance of blood circulation within the soft tissues and, as a result, to their damage. These changes concern the thoracic and cervical segments of the spine, in which the brachial nerve plexus is located, responsible for the innervation of the arms. 

Disorders in their functioning cause the pain of the shoulders, neck and neck. What's more, unnatural bending of hands contributes to an overload or levator, which causes pain in the entire arm or shoulder joint, which in turn leads to pain in the shoulder plexus and thoracic spine.

Causes of hand numbness

Hand numbness also appears as a result of taking the wrong posture. Our position on the bike has three points of support: legs on the pedals, buttocks on the saddle and hands on the steering wheel. The legs support pedals, but the buttocks and hands are responsible for maintaining the torso weight.

The former are used to it on a daily basis, unlike the hand. The situation is also aggravated by the too-low steering wheel position, because then the weight rests on the hands. Similarly with the length of the frame - the longer it is, the more we have to stretch our hands forward. No wonder your hands are numb.

How to set a bike to avoid neck and hand pain?

The basis is the correct regulation of the bike. Pay attention to the appropriate position of the saddle and the height of the steering wheel - the height of the saddle is best set using the LeMond method or the Holmes method, description of which can be found in the article below. The saddle should be horizontal, with no inclinations at an angle.

After the saddle you have to set the steering wheel properly - in the case of a trekking bike at the beginning of the season, it can be placed as high as the saddle, later it can be lowered. Road cyclists to assume the most aerodynamic position, and saddle, and the steering wheel set low.

The correct position on the bike will prevent neck and hand pain

The key to avoiding the pain of the neck, neck and numbness of the hands while riding a bicycle is also - to a large extent dependent on the adjustment of the bicycle - the correct position.

  • Dutch bicycle - the most convenient position, close to the right angle between the back and the ground, the handlebar grip is close to the chest. The steering wheel is located higher (up to 5 cm) than the saddle.
  • City bike - the position of the back with a slight incline to the ground - 30-70 degrees. The steering wheel is at the same height or up to 5 cm higher than the saddle.
  • Trekking bike - the right position requires tilting the back at an angle of 30-60 degrees to the ground.
  • Road bike - requires a large back inclination, because it is more important to get the right speed than comfort. The inclination is therefore 15-30 degrees, and the saddle is placed higher than the steering wheel. This position should definitely not be taken during recreational driving, because it increases the unnatural tension of muscles and can cause pain.

Exercises for Back pain, neck pain and numbness of hands on a bicycle

With pain ailments we can also cope with the bike every now and then and perform some simple relaxation exercises.

Exercises for back pain

The way to neck pain is the memory to loosen and tighten her muscles while riding. These gentle movements are not an obstacle during the effort and do not require a lot of work. It is also worth taking a break while driving and do neck stretching exercises:

  • Touch your head with your left hand and bend it to the left. Put your hand on your head and at the same time, with your head, as if you wanted to counteract her movement. Hold in this position for 20 seconds, then touch the head with your right hand and tilt it to the right (also pushing one over the other) and withstand 20 seconds - repeat the exercise twice;
  • Bend the left ear towards the left shoulder and stand in this position for 30 seconds, then do the same with the right side of the body - repeat the exercise twice.

Let's also remember about the helmet - it is best that it is light and does not load the neck additionally, and does not have a visor that limits the field of view and forces the neck muscles to tighten even more. A visor is usually not needed during recreational driving.

Exercise for neck pain

The pain of the neck will help you to exercise your shoulders, which are worth doing in a break from cycling every half hour or when you experience pain:

  • Stand upright, in a light stride, with arms loosely lowered along the torso. Then raise the shoulders up and turn them in a circular motion towards the back - repeat the exercise 10 times.

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