Neck pain - no matter the position

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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Miles253
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 am

by Miles253

TobinHatesYou wrote:I very much doubt it's road vibration or bumpy terrain. The spring analogy I made earlier still applies. Your spine is like a damper everything attached to it. This is almost certainly a conditioning issue or fit issue, not overinflated tires or a hard saddle or anything like that.
Yeah I suspect you're right as I've had issues on a wide variety of tyre combinations and I get the same discomfort when abroad on much smoother roads ( I live in the UK)

Should I be aiming for a flat spine on a side profile?

It would be interesting to hear from anyone else that is a similar height and what size bike they ride too?

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Jugi
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by Jugi

I’m not seeing anything too extreme in the fit based on all pictures posted. A frame that size built to a racing position will inevitably have lots of drop, and that shouldn’t be considered ”bad”. However long stints in the position do demand a relaxed riding technique and good shoulder + neck strength.

I’m not a professional, but what I understand is that as long as the pain starts to accumulate as the ride progresses and will fade quickly after ending the ride, it originates from muscle strength. The muscles in question may not be weak in general, but they may be experiencing too much continous tension. As you seem to be quite mindful of this issue already, I guess you have already tried to intentionally relax your shoulders regularly while riding? Can you alleviate the issue by ie. riding no-handed for a short while?

by Weenie


Miles253
Posts: 191
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by Miles253

Jugi wrote:I’m not seeing anything too extreme in the fit based on all pictures posted. A frame that size built to a racing position will inevitably have lots of drop, and that shouldn’t be considered ”bad”. However long stints in the position do demand a relaxed riding technique and good shoulder + neck strength.

I’m not a professional, but what I understand is that as long as the pain starts to accumulate as the ride progresses and will fade quickly after ending the ride, it originates from muscle strength. The muscles in question may not be weak in general, but they may be experiencing too much continous tension. As you seem to be quite mindful of this issue already, I guess you have already tried to intentionally relax your shoulders regularly while riding? Can you alleviate the issue by ie. riding no-handed for a short while?
I suppose it's always unrealistic for a bike set up for racing purposes to be comfy over longer distance without some conditioning.

I do regularly ride no handed stretch, flex etc. It helps temporarily, but it would be good if I can condition my body for the pain to come later in the ride.

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zefs
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:40 pm

by zefs

Miles253 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:28 am
TobinHatesYou wrote:I very much doubt it's road vibration or bumpy terrain. The spring analogy I made earlier still applies. Your spine is like a damper everything attached to it. This is almost certainly a conditioning issue or fit issue, not overinflated tires or a hard saddle or anything like that.
Yeah I suspect you're right as I've had issues on a wide variety of tyre combinations and I get the same discomfort when abroad on much smoother roads ( I live in the UK)

Should I be aiming for a flat spine on a side profile?

It would be interesting to hear from anyone else that is a similar height and what size bike they ride too?

Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
Yes a flat spine is ideal, it's hard to flatten the spine if there is a lot of saddle to handlebar drop because as soon as you try to flatten it you can feel pressure in the perineum area/saddle nose pressing against you. Then if you tilt the saddle down to avoid that, more weight goes to the upper body/hands and you slide off the saddle so you need to find the balance. With a more neutral/upright position it's easier to flatten it and you can use the drops for being aero. Terrain plays a role too, if you go down a mountain gravity will make things even harder and you need to push yourself further back in the saddle to not slide forward and being able to apply power.

Height is not the only measurement for bike sizing because someone might have different inseam/other proportions as well.
It depends on what riding you do as well, an aero position like the one you posted would work on 1hour crits but not for long hours in the saddle.

Miles253
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 am

by Miles253

zefs wrote:
Miles253 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:28 am
TobinHatesYou wrote:I very much doubt it's road vibration or bumpy terrain. The spring analogy I made earlier still applies. Your spine is like a damper everything attached to it. This is almost certainly a conditioning issue or fit issue, not overinflated tires or a hard saddle or anything like that.
Yeah I suspect you're right as I've had issues on a wide variety of tyre combinations and I get the same discomfort when abroad on much smoother roads ( I live in the UK)

Should I be aiming for a flat spine on a side profile?

It would be interesting to hear from anyone else that is a similar height and what size bike they ride too?

Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
Yes a flat spine is ideal, it's hard to flatten the spine if there is a lot of saddle to handlebar drop because as soon as you try to flatten it you can feel pressure in the perineum area/saddle nose pressing against you. Then if you tilt the saddle down to avoid that, more weight goes to the upper body/hands and you slide off the saddle so you need to find the balance. With a more neutral/upright position it's easier to flatten it and you can use the drops for being aero. Terrain plays a role too, if you go down a mountain gravity will make things even harder and you need to push yourself further back in the saddle to not slide forward and being able to apply power.

Height is not the only measurement for bike sizing because someone might have different inseam/other proportions as well.
It depends on what riding you do as well, an aero position like the one you posted would work on 1hour crits but not for long hours in the saddle.
It does raise the question as to how the pros do it day In day out! Is that just experience and conditioning?

The Power saddle is snub nosed, so it does help with reducing pain on the perineum. The solution could be to have bikes set up in very different positions. The Canyon here as my crit bike and the new bike as the more all day bike...

I've been doing some geometry comparisons, with my two current bikes and the potential new bike and the issue is, the biggest size going increases the reach hugely!Image

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zefs
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:40 pm

by zefs

Reach is almost identical and you get more stack but I wouldn't know if it's enough to put you in a more neutral position.
Since you already have a racing bike why not look for endurance geometry? A professional fitter would be able to help you with sizing, before getting the bike.

Miles253
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 am

by Miles253

zefs wrote:Reach is almost identical and you get more stack but I wouldn't know if it's enough to put you in a more neutral position.
Since you already have a racing bike why not look for endurance geometry? A professional fitter would be able to help you with sizing, before getting the bike.
Yeah you're right, very similar to the 61cm I would prefer to go for a 61 than an endurance frame at this point. I don't feel like I should need one at my age, I just need to take more care over my body.

I'm still racing a lot and hence would like to race and ride normally on similar geometry if at all possible.

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boots2000
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by boots2000

Don't blame your position- Find a good manual physical therapist (preferrable one that works one on one- not a clinic setting) who understands neck injuries and rehab.
This person will be able to do some hands on work on your neck and also work with you on strengthening type exercises.

zefs
Posts: 438
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by zefs

Miles253 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 10:52 pm
zefs wrote:Reach is almost identical and you get more stack but I wouldn't know if it's enough to put you in a more neutral position.
Since you already have a racing bike why not look for endurance geometry? A professional fitter would be able to help you with sizing, before getting the bike.
Yeah you're right, very similar to the 61cm I would prefer to go for a 61 than an endurance frame at this point. I don't feel like I should need one at my age, I just need to take more care over my body.

I'm still racing a lot and hence would like to race and ride normally on similar geometry if at all possible.

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Endurance geometry isn't too big of a difference (maybe you think you would sit like on a city bike and upright). You can race on endurance as well, and you would probably fit better because of your size. The 58 Roubaix is close to the 61 Tarmac. Compared with the Canyon the Tarmac has more stack so it might be enough for you and you can use spacers if needed I guess.

TobinHatesYou
Posts: 4185
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by TobinHatesYou

zefs wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:18 pm

Yes a flat spine is ideal, it's hard to flatten the spine if there is a lot of saddle to handlebar drop because as soon as you try to flatten it you can feel pressure in the perineum area/saddle nose pressing against you.

This is a nitpick, but the human spine is naturally curved like an S. Flat back, good. Flat spine, not so good.

Miles253 wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:29 pm
It does raise the question as to how the pros do it day In day out! Is that just experience and conditioning?

A little bit of everything.

1) Some pros are naturally more flexible than some random bloke out of a crowd. A combination of flexibility, genetic aerobic capacity, limb length, metabolism, etc. are what make pros extraordinary vs us regular folk.
2) Pros can handle pain, block it out...or use drugs to mitigate it...
3) Yes, it's conditioning. The more you ride, the stronger your lower back muscles, shoulders and neck.
4) Not all pros can flatten their backs. Look at Lance's infamous hump. Look at any race footage, a good portion of the peloton have pronounced arches.

I am an example of someone who has ridiculous natural flexibility and also a high pain tolerance. My road bike fit is almost a TT fit and I can ride bent elbows in the drops for hours at a time.

Image

diegogarcia
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:31 pm

by diegogarcia

Personally, your position looks good. You are super lean there is not excessive weight on the hands from what I can see. Interestingly there is mild thoracic kyphosis with your spine loading 'halfway up your back' which could be causing more load onto the shoulders thus into the neck. Pro riders do not ride with flat backs, a lot of them ride with the flex at the lumbar (lower back) region of the spine, look at Alaphillpe as an example. Over use of the thoracic area could be your problem. The paradox here is you may benefit from another 10mm on your stem based on my experience with this issue as my spine is the same.

Forget endurance geo, that can actually make it worse. I tried it and gave me chronic neck ache. Some people are simply better suited to long and low and you could be. If not, find a decent holisitc bike fitter than can have a fettle with fore / aft and stem length. I was in your position a while ago and I know how annoying a constand ache can get. I would walk away from cycling if it I did not get on top of it. In around 2010 the bike fitter obsession was up and back, up and back as the golfers took up cycling but as an example the editor of Cycling Plus need a long and low position. Drop him a line for advice.

This picture shows your neck dropping your head too. All 22lbs of it and the further foward the heavier it can get.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BuWB_jWAxQ3/

Get some exercise bands and start strengthening the neck too. You see hundreds of riders like this on sportive events. They get home and the Mrs. says good ride darling ? Yes, loved it, but my neck is killing me. :noidea:

Finally, oddly enough I am seeing my pyhsio for my regular neck, traps, deltoids, shoulders massage tomorrow afternoon as prevention very helpful too.

IvanZg
Posts: 61
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2019 3:10 pm

by IvanZg

I was avoiding using the drops while riding for long time. Few minutes in that position would cause my neck to hurt for hour or two after the ride. Now I am doing it very often, position is more slammed then before and pain is gone. I think all that got sorted because I went back to bouldering after few years of basically doing no exercise for upper body.

dim
Posts: 534
Joined: Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:25 am
Location: Cambridge UK

by dim

Miles253 wrote:
Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:03 pm
zefs wrote:Neck pain can be caused by many variables. On that particular position it could be a too low front end, because it's visible you have trouble looking forward on that position which puts pressure on the neck area. It can also be caused by over-reaching to the handlebars although your reach seems good in my opinion.

Another reason is saddle pressure, when the front end is low and you slide forward on the saddle the pressure on the saddle area causes our back to flex (to avoid the pressure). When you flex your spine and your pelvis is not stable/relaxed on the saddle it puts tention in the neck area as well.

If you are tall the saddle height is big, so equally you need a high front end.
Again in my opinion it would be a position issue, but exercises would help as well. Pro's do a lot off the bike work and their extra power on the legs help them unweight the upper body too, which allows them to ride in more aero positions (they can also ride custom geometry frames which would be different than production models that are sold as far as I know).

About the new bike size, it depends because a 58 with race geometry would be different to 58 with endurance geometry etc.
58-59 sounds small for your height, but it's tricky because as I mentioned geometry, body proportions/flexibility, riding goals all play a role.
Thanks for the reply, great feedback.

I'm terms of flexibility, an idea where they key points are for weakness? I.e. neck flexibility, hips or hamstrings etc? Where are the biggest limiters?

I've ridden bigger frames than this, but have never managed to alleviate the pain. Equally I've ridden with much less saddle-bar drop and the same issue. If we assume that the drop is the issue, which areas do you think I should work on to compensate?

That's why I lean towards a core weakness and the potential main cause? Fyi I ride a Power saddle normally to alleviate the pressure of rotating forward. In the picture below, I'm not riding a power - trying something else - and the difference in my position is noticeable.

CheersImageImageImage

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dunno ... looking at the photo's, the bike is not setup properly .... wrong size frame?, arms in the wrong position, etc etc ...

you need to find a place that does a proper bike fit linked to a computer .... they will sort our the problems
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zefs
Posts: 438
Joined: Sat Aug 05, 2017 8:40 pm

by zefs

TobinHatesYou wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:45 am
zefs wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:18 pm

Yes a flat spine is ideal, it's hard to flatten the spine if there is a lot of saddle to handlebar drop because as soon as you try to flatten it you can feel pressure in the perineum area/saddle nose pressing against you.

This is a nitpick, but the human spine is naturally curved like an S. Flat back, good. Flat spine, not so good.
Flat back is what I meant, thanks for the correction.
Anyway, long and low positions require good flexibility, core strength and stabilizing the pelvis to not slip forward.
I don't see the point of setting up the hoods so aero and then not using the drops, the hoods is a comfort position and then you get ~12cm+ of drop when using the drops. Even pros use ~40deg of torso angle on hoods and only get in aero position when they have to.

Image

Image

Image

by Weenie


Miles253
Posts: 191
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:32 am

by Miles253

zefs wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:50 am
TobinHatesYou wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:45 am
zefs wrote:
Sun Apr 21, 2019 8:18 pm

Yes a flat spine is ideal, it's hard to flatten the spine if there is a lot of saddle to handlebar drop because as soon as you try to flatten it you can feel pressure in the perineum area/saddle nose pressing against you.

This is a nitpick, but the human spine is naturally curved like an S. Flat back, good. Flat spine, not so good.
Flat back is what I meant, thanks for the correction.
Anyway, long and low positions require good flexibility, core strength and stabilizing the pelvis to not slip forward.
I don't see the point of setting up the hoods so aero and then not using the drops, the hoods is a comfort position and then you get ~12cm+ of drop when using the drops. Even pros use ~40deg of torso angle on hoods and only get in aero position when they have to.

Image

Image

Image
Except when pros are trying to get aero, where bent elbows on the hoods is supposedly the most aero position on a road bike. The drops are arguably the more sustainable aero option...

It's going to be a multitude of factors for me, poor core strenth and lack of a sensible regime, couple with a position that is too aero for me to sustain presumably.

If anyone has a tried and tested regime for both core and neck strengthening, preferably without the exercise ball as in the above video, I would be rather grateful?

Edit: Also, I notice on this morning's training session that my position is way off in the above photos from my living room, more stretched out than I would normally be. I'll take some more photos and see if anybody's opinion changes
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