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pain in the ...neck

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2003 9:18 am GMT +0000    Post subject: pain in the ...neck Reply with quote

During the last month I've upped my road riding drastically (for me) to my highest levels ever (training for the HHH)...about 200 miles per week

During that time I also changed the stem length and angle (shorter, higher) and seat height on my bike...all under the supervision of my lbs. Everything felt great.

Until the numbness in my right arm and fingers set in.
The MRI and Xray's of my neck show:
1. C5-C6: Right uncinate hypertrophy with mild to moderate right neural foraminal stenosis.
2. C6-C7: 1-2 mm left posterior paracentral disc bulge. No stenosis.

I feel NO effects while riding. It's the rest of the time...

My doc couldn't explan it well, and I will see a neurologist next week, BUT:
* Is this someting that could be caused by riding?
* What will be the effect when I pick up the MTB again in 2 weeks to begin to prepare for the fall races?

Thanks in advance,
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The Bike Doc

Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1371
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 2:04 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote


Your increased road milage may be a factor hear. On a road bike the typical rider position has the head in an almost parallel to the ground position. You have to then hyperextend your neck to look down the road. This hyperextension can compress the already narrowed spaces in your cervical spine where your nerves come out. You may not be noticing it while on the bike possibly due to the natural increase of pain blocking hormones, endorphins, that occur with stress and exercise. But the cummulative compression of the nerves may be taking their toll.

What can you do to help now? Raise your handle bars up some (use a riser stem or move spacers under the stem if they are on top) to bring your head up higher and decrease the hyperextention that can occur with the traditional position. Use caution here though, if you get your position too upright, too much weight will be shifted to the backside. You may then suffer from another nerve malady from excess pressure on the peroneal nerve, the DDD (Dreaded, Dead Dingus).

Consider a recumbent bike for road riding (they are lousey off road). You will cease agravating the problem going to a recumbent for your road riding. This link will take you to an article I wrote on the medical benifits of recumbents. There are several fast recumbents out there. The world land speed record for human powered vehicles is held by a streamlined recumbent 80+mph on a flat without wind assist. Much like there are different types of road bikes: racers, tourers, cruisers, hybirds etc, there are several different types of recumbent bikes to consider. Check out for several reviews and discussions about recumbent bikes. You can access to their link to bikes reviewed by clicking on the bike reviews section.

For your off road riding, your rides typically are shorter durtation, you are also more upright with frequent postion changes and standing on the pedals so it should be less of an issue for you. You should consider a higher handle bar possition on your mountain bike.

Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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