As New Yorkers, chances are you can bike just about everywhere, even to work. Biking is such a fun way to stay in shape, do something active with friends, and take in the fall scenery. While cycling is a great way for those with joint pain to workout, novices and expert cyclists alike commonly start to feel aches and pains, especially in the back and hip. Here’s why and how to fix it.
You’ll often hold your neck and back in an awkward position while riding, especially if you are trying to build up speed. Stooping over your handle bars and holding your neck up while in a hunched position can definitely put strain on your lumbar all the way up to your cervical spine. The best way to prevent back pain is to work out your core. Having strong core muscles will help you support your back while on longer rides. Stretch out your hamstrings and even drop into the Child’s pose after a ride. You may also need to adjust your positioning on the bike however. Stop by a bike shop and have them evaluate the height of your seat. This should also help get your neck into a better position. Work on keeping your shoulders relaxed as you ride and pull your head from side to side to release tension in your neck. Physical therapy is a great way to keep your back and neck linger to avoid chronic pain while still cycling to heart’s desire.
Hip pain and even hip bursitis are common ailments for cyclists. Repetitive pedaling, especially on high gears can really damage your hip joints. The best way to prevent this is to keep strengthening your glutes. It’s just as important to make sure your muscles are not tight, as this will put more strain on the joint as it moves in the pedaling motion. The pigeon pose is the best way to stretch out your hip muscles. You will definitely feel the difference after this stretch. Keeping this area limber will also keep tight muscles from irritating your bursa and causing recurring pain from bursitis later on.
Everyday cyclists may start to feel pain in their knees. Asking a professional to adjust your seat is usually the best way to deal with this. Oftentimes pain in the front of your knee means that your saddle is too low, while pain at the back of the knee means it’s too high. General wear and tear of pedaling may be affecting your joint muscles as well. Strengthen your outer glutes with a couple of side leg raises a day. It’s definitely important to stretch your quads, iliotibial bands, and hamstrings. Pain in these areas can lead to iliotibial band syndrome, tendinitis, or tears. A light physical therapy regimen is very helpful in preventing larger injuries that will keep you off the bike.
Some cyclists may encounter Achilles tendonitis. To prevent this, stretch your Achilles tendon by placing the front of your foot on a step and let your heel hang below it. You can treat this immediately by icing to keep inflammation down. See a physical therapist to treat any ankle pain to keep it from become a larger orthopedic issue.