The fourth of our series of blog posts on cycling injuries with
Bespoke's Head of Bike Fitting, Dan Pells, and resident Osteopath
with New Body Osteopathy, Charlotte Mead focuses on neck pain, how
you get it, how to fix it, and how to stop it coming back.
Although many of us love it, humans weren't perfectly designed
to ride bikes. We evolved to have our feet on the ground and
balance our body weight through levers and pulleys designed for a
mostly vertical system of movements. The position we create when we
cycle changes the weight distribution through our muscles and
spine, as well as bending the back and neck into a bit of an
unnatural position to compensate so that we can see where we're
going! For some people, this position can be quite extreme, it's no
wonder neck muscles and joints sometimes get tired and
What goes wrong when cycling?
Road cycling involves extended periods where the neck is
hyperextended (tilted backwards), particularly when the bike is set
up with a large handlebar drop, e.g. when riding a time trial.
This position can cause the deep neck extensors to become
fatigued and stiff. When this occurs the trapezius muscle, which
originates from the base of the skull to the shoulder, begins to
support the weight of the head. Over time, cyclists can develop
stiffness and pain in the upper trapezius and neck muscles.