Cycling in Sydney Australia
I have been experiencing some upper left back / shoulder pain for the last 4 - 5 months and have seen a physiotherapist to assist with the pain. The pain has come back and two days ago I started to feel some fairly intense pinched nerve pain in upper right back / shoulder area. I am beginning to think that the pain might be related to my cycling posture. To add insult to injury, I have 1 - 2 fingers that have been feeling numb for the last 24 hours or so. Basically, I am falling apart :-). I have had numbness in my fingers before, but this has usually self corrected when I shake my hand while on the bike or shortly after getting off the bike.
I am seeing my doctor tomorrow, but was also wondering if at this point in time there is someone I could go and see to check how I am sitting on my bike to see if there is something there that might be causing my back / shoulder pain and numb fingers. Can anyone recommend someone?
Note, when I bought the bike a couple of years ago, the bike was "fitted" to me, where the only adjustment that was made was the seat height. With all the discomfort that I am now feeling, I am beginning to think that maybe more adjustments are needed.
The only person you need to see is Blair Martin. Ex-champion runner, triathlete and cyclist, and qualified physio. Specialises in sports running / tri / cycling injury rehab. Also does bike fits etc. If Blair can't fix you, no one can.
Yes, I spend a lot of time using a computer - it is my tool of trade.
So you changed your stem from a right angle (90 degrees) to an upward angle (say 80 degrees or so) - is that right? How did you know what angle to choose?
I am riding a Trek hybrid bike (flat bar) so I guess I could do a similar thing.
I am definitely getting older, am sure I would not have had these problems ten years ago!
Here's the Sheldon Brown link. I think I went from 90 degrees to 110 degrees (whatever's the next one up). I gave my old one to the bike shop (Cranks North Sydney) and they gave me the other one for about $20 and said to try it for a while and if I wanted to go higher, they would just swap it over (as long as I made up my mind in a reasonble time frame).
I would almost bet money that the root cause of your problem is the computing (same with me), especially as you said it is worse on the RHS. Think about your posture, is your head jammed a bit forwrd of vertical? Do you take regular rest breaks and stretch your shoulders and neck and arm muscles....? I am not an expert, just another victim. Speak to an expert, but in computer position, not bike set up.
I still found that because I had the muscle stiffness from the computing, that the pain translated to riding my road bike and changing the stem angle helped that.
+1 for Blair.
Also Steve Hogg:
I would recommend seeing an accupunturist to check your current condition.
Sometimes an uneven pull of the muscles lead to the symptoms you describe move from one side to the other side of the body.
If you don't have a phobia of needles then potentially a treatment can help to relax the muscles potentially allow the alignment to occur and help resolve the underlying condition(s).
Only thing I can add is that a bike fit two years ago is likely to be ready for an update. In two years, you may not have grown taller or shorter as such, but your posture may (will) have changed, and every little angle can make a big difference. Nerves a funny things, you get pain in one spot, numbness in another, and it can all relate to somewhere totally different. Physios are good, but they don't generally have as holistic an approach as other therapists. An osteopath might be the go.
Good luck, it sucks when the thing you love seems to be causing the hurt.
it sucks when the thing you love seems to be causing the hurt.
....and I was *just* listening to this