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Exercises to eliminate neck pain?

Old 06-05-21, 11:41 AM
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willhub
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Exercises to eliminate neck pain?

Sorry if wrong forum as far as I can see this is the most relevant area.

So I struggle with fairly severe neck pain on the bike that isn't a result of bike fit, my neck just doesn't like the road bike position and over the years it's got worse.

I'm looking for exercises to do regular that WILL improve my neck pain, I feel the muscles that are the culprits are the "trapezius" and the "levator scapulae" from a look at back muscles.

I can only assume these muscles which are knotted are very weak and as a result get tired out after 15 or so miles.

I've improved my back posture and that takes longer to give way and have a foam roller and 3 different resistance levels of rubber bands

Thanks
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Old 06-05-21, 04:54 PM
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Did you in fact get a bike fitter to look at it already? I had a neck issue which I felt would be impossible to be related to my bike fit, but I went in for a professional fit (for other reasons) and my neck issue was 100% solved by bringing the handlebars a bit closer/higher.

If you have a good fitter already I would ask them for exercises. I have some posture problems which the fitter pointed out, and he gave me several good exercises for it.
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Old 06-05-21, 07:49 PM
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The only "exercise" I know to strengthen the neck muscles is to ride the bike more for longer periods.

Another thing that could remove neck pain is the back posture. Having your back more straight will put the base of your neck in a more upright position and less curved which is less strain on your neck.

Assuming a good fit, and still didn't work, the only options left is more upright bike setup (higher stack usually) and buy a very lightweight helmet.
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Old 06-05-21, 08:50 PM
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Yup, very familiar. My C1-C2 were cracked in a car wreck in 2001, and several other vertebrae were damaged. Then I was hit by a car in 2018, breaking and dislocating the shoulder and reinjuring the neck. Still hurts almost every day, every ride. But I ride, run, jog or at least walk almost every day anyway.

In sprint/summer 2019 I spent about three months in physical therapy, three times a week. Learned some new exercises and the PT also did gentle traction. I rarely allow anyone to touch my neck, and definitely *not* chiropractors. But this guy was good.

There are some good tutorials (and even more bad tutorials, badly edited that ramble on aimlessly) on YouTube. Check the Bowflex channel -- lots of concise 2-5 minute tutorials that don't require any special equipment, so they aren't just ads for Bowflex equipment. And the Bike Fit Adviser, the best I've found on YouTube.

I use percussion massagers before and after most workouts. Much better than ordinary vibrating massagers. One has a long handle to reach behind my back and around the shoulder blades. It has two heads, spaced to avoid direct contact with bones -- spine, shoulder blades. The other is shaped like a portable drill, with various attachments.

And lots of soaks in a hot bath with Epsom salts. And ice packs after a ride or workout.

I have a foam roller but find it really awkward to use, pretty much useless for my back and neck. The percussion massagers are much better. And I use a heavy old marble rolling pin for my legs.
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Old 06-06-21, 02:54 AM
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Thanks I'll have a look at the YouTube channels.

I've had a proper bike fit. Some annoying issues they couldn't remedy sit bone wise but I'm trying to ignore them for now.

I used to suffer with lower back and neck pain, it does potentially seem the power back pain is a lot less but I've not been able to push mileage high due to neck.

I'm convinced the neck pain can't be bike fit and must be me , few years back I was trying all sorts of different bike positions which didn't effect the neck pain.

My back is straighter and I am already quite upright now.
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Old 06-06-21, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by willhub View Post
I'm convinced the neck pain can't be bike fit and must be me , few years back I was trying all sorts of different bike positions which didn't effect the neck pain.

My back is straighter and I am already quite upright now.
Upright is not necessarily the key. For me the key was I needed to be able to have my elbows down and not be straight-arming. Overall I ended up lower but it solved my problem. Here is a picture, the top one is after the bike adjustments and keeping my elbows down. You can see I am lower in the after-picture (which surprised me as you can see the stem is flipped which makes the bars higher). But, zero neck pain there and 100% odds of neck pain in an hour in the lower picture position.

Note your problem could well be elsewhere, but I would not make any hard conclusion on it not being your bike fit. Body systems are just too complex.

Re: percussion guns, another vote for 'em. I also have two of them and do most massages with two guns so I can finish faster. Yes they are heavily hyped these days and yes they are awesome.



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Old 06-06-21, 02:19 PM
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Hey I just happened on a recent Youtube by Neill Stanbury, one of the best bike fitters out there. He explains the different causes and solutions for neck pain.

,
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Old 06-09-21, 08:28 PM
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In the photos in post 6, see how straight his upper back is? That's key: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...discovery.html

And leaning forward is not the culprit. Most folks have less back and neck pain using the normal road position, about as photographed. And yes, bent elbows are key. The video in post 7 agrees exactly with my experience. That's the best thing on the subject I've ever seen. Kudos to that poster.

Yes, there are exercises which one can do and which I do in winter. You need a gym or a set of dumbbells. You can youtube these exercises: lateral raise, front raise, rear raise, all standing. Superset these 3 exercises, 3 sets of 12 reps, same weight for all 3 exercises and all 3 sets. Do the front raises 1 arm at a time. Follow these with seated dumbbell presses and then heavy shrugs, both 3 sets of 12, increasing weight for each set. Last set to failure. Rule is if you can do 15, you can increase weight next time.

Riding your bike isn't necessarily the best neck exercise. If that were true, long distance riders wouldn't get neck pain.
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Old 06-10-21, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
In the photos in post 6, see how straight his upper back is? That's key: https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycl...discovery.html
Thanks for that link. In fact I have been working on getting more straight in my back, I have "swayback" posture which puts my hips in what is called posterior rotation. The bad form they mention in the link is with the pelvis in posterior rotation. I don't seem to have it so bad on my bike, perhaps because I have been on bikes all my life including before I had posture problems.

Re: the video I posted, Neill is one awesome guy and I have greatly enjoyed all of the videos he has up. My other favorite YouTube bike fitter is the guy on Bike Fit Tuesdays, James Thomas. He is a good foil to Neill, super intense James and super laid back Neill. Here is James in action on neck pain:


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Old 06-18-21, 10:13 PM
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Thanks for the post. I have a similar issue, but mine might be caused by a spinal compression issue. Interesting to see the replies.
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