How to Prevent the 6 Most Common Cycling Injuries

Make sure your bib shorts aren't too old and are providing enough cushion from the insert can also help to prevent saddle sores from occurring. As with anything else, cycling shorts are a matter of preference. When you find a pair that works well for you, buy a few extra pairs and rotate them. It'll make them last longer too.

Lower Back Pain

Bike fit and long hours in an aggressive riding position are the major culprits leading to lower back pain from cycling. Excessive flexion in the lumbar region of the spine can lead to more serious conditions involving nerve entrapment and sciatica, which require medical attention.

Tip: A good core-strengthening regimen should be part of every cyclist's routine, particularly in the off-season when less time training is spent on the bike. Cycling often over looks core muscles like the gluteus medius, the transverse abdominus and other smaller muscles surrounding the pelvis.

More: Love Thy Knees: Get the Right Fit

Because the spinal column inserts into the pelvic bone, having weak muscles can prevent cyclists from generating the kind of power from the core needed to sustain long efforts in an aggressive riding positions. This can lead to pain in the lower back by forcing supporting muscles to compensate for the weakness of others. Strengthening the core will help cyclists to maintain these riding positions for longer periods of time while also increasing balance and power.

Neck Pain

Pain in the neck often involves tightness or trigger points in the upper trapezious muscle, which begins at the base of the skull and runs along the sides of the neck to the shoulder. These muscles commonly become fatigued during cycling from having to hold the weight of the head in extension for long periods of time. Other causes of neck pain include bike fit and tensing the shoulder muscles while riding.

More: Exercises to Treat Shoulder and Neck Pain From Cycling

Tip: If your bike doesn't fit you well, that will need to be addressed first. Shortening the stem and moving your seat forward will put you in a more upright position that might be more comfortable and allow for your cervical vertebrae to be in a more neutral position instead of full extension. However, it is probably a good idea to address these changes with a bike-fitting expert, since making major changes in position can lead to other unwanted injuries.

Loosening your grip on the handlebars may also help. Making a concerted effort to relax the shoulder muscles will reduce fatigue and keep the trapezious muscles from becoming tight.

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It is also a good idea to incorporate neck and shoulder exercises to your strengthening routine in the offseason. Shoulder-shrugs, rows and chin tucks (stretching of the neck extensors) are good exercises to start with.

As with all injuries, if you are unsure of your ailment it is best to consult with a doctor if pain is severe or becomes worse with time. Be smart and listen to your body.

More: How to Avoid Lower Back Pain While Cycling

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