Shoulder pain

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
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AMC
Posts: 482
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 5:53pm
Location: Y Ganolbarth (Mid Wales)

Shoulder pain

Post by AMC »

I wonder if anyone's experienced this; I couldn't find any previous threads. I've been getting stiff shoulders, especially the right one after only a couple of hours cycling. The pain is strongest in the lower part of the shoulder blade area, but wears off quickly after getting off the bike.

I had my tourer rebuilt a couple of years ago (quite a major frame redesign as it now has 26" wheels instead of 700c) & an A type headset. After some trials of bar positions I set the drop bars rather higher than I used to have them, which I much prefer; the hood point of the bars is 1 cm above the height of the saddle nose. I mainly ride on the hoods & use STI's so don't move my arms around so much.
Is it possible to set drop bars too high?

My partner says I ride lopsidedly which he puts down to pushing harder with the right leg due partly to my weak left knee. I have noticed I've become rather tense in my upper body & arms when riding, perhaps it is an age thing? I'm 44.

Another odd thing (probably totally unrelated) is that I can't ride this bike with no hands, unlike my other bikes. Could this mean the frame is out of true? (I've tried with & without luggage). Any thoughts welcome, I could do with sorting this out before the touring season begins in earnest!
Ritchie

Post by Ritchie »

Hello AMC.

I too seem to be getting pain in my right shoulder but more towards the top and near the vertebrae in the lower neck. Like you after a few hours it's gone but within 60 mins riding it's back. I also have 26" wheels and a Ahead stem on a Thorn Raven Tour where the bars are flat but anotomical curved for a more natural hand position, and i have been adjusting bar hight and reach and angle of stem over a period of many months but still can't seem to get it right.

I suffer from odema in the right leg which makes the leg heaveir therefore i feel that im using more pressure with this leg than the left when peddling. Maybe like you this so called lopsided riding maybe affecting the skeletal postue of the body.

A visit to the oestopaths is now required as it is stoppiing me riding, also looking at at getting measured to see if my bike is to big or just my positioning needs very fine tuning or get a new bike. Is it just coincedence that im 42 and you are in your 40's as well???
PW
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Joined: 23 Jan 2007, 10:50am
Location: N. Derbys.

Post by PW »

It certainly sounds position related. If you wish to check the frame tracking all you need is a piece of string. Tie it to one rear dropout, feed it round the headtube, pull tight & tie off at the same point on the other dropout. Then measure from the string to the side of the seattube on both sides. The error in tracking is 1/2 the difference between the two measurements.
My bet is on a position problem due to that left knee. *Possibly* (I won't say more than that) the ability to spin full circles using clipless pedals may help??
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!
AMC
Posts: 482
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 5:53pm
Location: Y Ganolbarth (Mid Wales)

Post by AMC »

Ritchie - Worrying similarity there with the dodgy knee. Apart from more cycling to strengthen it I don't know what to do about it - I'd be very interested to hear what the osteopath has to say. If he says we're just too old I'll be gutted!

I'll definitely check the frame alignment PW - thanks for the tip with the string. I've never had SPD pedals - always been too scared due to the knee thing, even when the floating ones came out, so I've always cycled with straps 'n traps the old fashioned way. What do you think would be better - should I "ankle" more to get freer movement? Both knees are dodgy (too much badly managed sports training when young) so both legs might benefit from a change in cycling style. Any other thoughts welcome...
vangelis

Post by vangelis »

Try cycling with bent elbows (if you don't) instead of straight arms. I find the elbows act as a shock absober.

Mick
PW
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Post by PW »

Ankling's a waste of time - the power output of the legs already uses all the resources of the cardiovascular system so bringing in extra muscle groups gains nothing but aching calves. For dodgy knees I'd keep the gears low & pedal faster with less load on the joints. There's more float in a properly set up pair of Time ATACs than any toeclip - I've ridden both.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!
AMC
Posts: 482
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 5:53pm
Location: Y Ganolbarth (Mid Wales)

Post by AMC »

Since I posted the original query have been thinking about toeclips & can seee your point re the Time clips - makes complete sense, so I'll consider changing to those (my partner's given up with clips & spd's altogether for the same reason, but I can't face that). The low gears/higher cadence thing is so true - I think it's the thing that's saved my knees all these years.

The bent elbow thing also rings bells - I only noticed very recently how straight my arms are - I'll work on it as it does seem as though this could be a lot of the problem, although it's surprisingly difficult to break the habit .

I measured the frame - seems to be about 1mm out of true, but I wouldn't say I was measuring to a very high tolerance (2mm thick string!). Is 1mm a lot?
PW
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Joined: 23 Jan 2007, 10:50am
Location: N. Derbys.

Post by PW »

A mm is nothing if the wheels are in line - it can be compensated by the dish of the rear wheel. Take the bike through a puddle in a straight line & see if the tyre tracks overlay one another. I've known brand new bikes further out than that.
If at first you don't succeed - cheat!!
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georgew
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Post by georgew »

Ritchie<Like you after a few hours it's gone but within 60 mins riding it's back. I also have 26" wheels and a Ahead stem on a Thorn Raven Tour where the bars are flat but anotomical curved for a more natural hand position, and i have been adjusting bar hight and reach and angle of stem over a period of many months but still can't seem to get it right. >

I too had a Thorn Raven and it took me months to get the bars comfortable as I had been using drops for thirty plus years. In the end I did away with the raised bars and went for flats as they allowed me the room to move the brakes etc. along to get enough space to shorten the width of the bars and fit bar-ends. When I fitted bar-ends and padded them as below, the problem was solved and I could then have the "on the hoods position."

http://i22.photobucket.com/albums/b332/ ... CT0177.jpg
Star_Rover
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Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 3:24pm

Post by Star_Rover »

Too much weight on your hands?
Had a similar problem myself lately, on a new bike, but in both shoulders.
Concluded that the cockpit was too short causing me to tense/hunch my shoulders a bit, even though when riding on the hoods my elbows were bent nicely and it didn't feel like had too much weight on my hands. Changed the seatpost for one with more layback and moved the saddle back about an inch (it was already at its maximum before). Reckon it puts my lower back/pelvis in a better position which has a positive knock effect further up the spine, as well as stretching me out a bit more.
Star_Rover
Posts: 8
Joined: 28 Mar 2007, 3:24pm

Post by Star_Rover »

Too much weight on your hands?
Had a similar problem myself lately, on a new bike, but in both shoulders.
Concluded that the cockpit was too short causing me to tense/hunch my shoulders a bit, even though when riding on the hoods my elbows were bent nicely and it didn't feel like had too much weight on my hands. Changed the seatpost for one with more layback and moved the saddle back about an inch (it was already at its maximum before). Reckon it puts my lower back/pelvis in a better position which has a positive knock effect further up the spine, as well as stretching me out a bit more.
Ritchie

Post by Ritchie »

Following on from my first post i have been to see an oestopath who was great. Have tendonitis and have been told to rest shoulder and use cold/hot/cold compresses and light exercises she gave me to do.

Not to happy but at least i know what is causing the pain. It also gives me a chance to fit completely flat bars and just fiddle about with the reach/height of the bars and saddle adjustments.

At least i can now watch the pro's suffer in the Giro and smile as their pain will be far worse than mine. :D

Richard
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