Cyclist Neck Syndrome

Cyclist Neck Syndrome

Cyclist Neck syndrome

Human were not made to ride bicycles; for starters, we were designed to walk.

Cycling not only disrupts the weight distribution of your spine and muscle, but it also force your back and neck to bend in an unnatural way.

The neck must compensate in particular so that you can see where you’re going. It’s no surprise that neck muscle are fatigued and irritated in a bad riding position; it’s like standing and look up into sky for hours !

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Neck and back pain are frequently present among cyclists, with up to 60% of them experiencing it. Poor cycling posture or a bad bike fit are the most common causes of neck pain. This entails:

  • Helmet that hasn’t been properly adjusted: If the rider’s helmet is too low in the front, the rider must extend head upward to hold the helmet from blocking the front view.
  • Eyeglasses that don’t fit right: as eyeglasses slipping down the nose, causing rider to extend the head upward
  • low handlebars: forced to reach further when handlebars are too low. This puts excessive pressure on shoulders and causes the neck to extend more.
  • slanted saddle: putting additional weight on the upper limbs
  • fully extended elbow: The impact is not lightened up to the neck region
  • stiff thoracic spine: inducing hyperextension of the cervical spine

When neck is constantly extended, the deep neck extensors could get fatigued and unable to sustain the weight of the head during long cycle hours.

“Shermer’s neck”

Shermer’s neck is a disorder that predominantly affects ultra-endurance cyclists. It was first recognized in 1983. It was named after Michael Shermer, a competitor of a 3,000-mile nonstop bike race from The Race Across America. Shermer’s neck muscles had become so fatigue that they had simply given up. He was unable to hold his head up about 2,000 miles into the race, and he was forced to hold his chin up with his palm to keep going. His team had to build a brace out of bungee cords to keep his head in place where he could see and finish the race.

Even though Shermer’s Neck is not prevalent among average cyclists, It’s still common in ultra-distance bicycle races. Untrained cyclists or beginners who plan to compete in events longer than 300 KM should be aware of the risk of suffering Shermer’s neck. Untrained people are more likely to develop symptoms, hence preventative measures should be done.

If you’ve already had a bike fit and are still experiencing neck discomfort and pain when riding, the issue could be weak neck muscles, alignment of neck, pinched nerve or stiff joints, Maintaining the load of your head for a long time on the bike takes a lot of strength, and your shoulders typically try to compensate as you tired.

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