One shoulder (trapezius muscle) very sore - why?

dubcat Posts: 737
edited September 2012 in Road general
My left shoulder muscle is becoming EXTREMELY sore when riding. The pain was there throughout the ride and is still there hours post ride. In fact I know that as soon as I head out on the bike tomorrow it will be sore again immediately.

If you look at this picture it is the trapezius muscle that I am talking about. It is only the left one that gets sore and this is happening consistently:

Does anyone have any idea why this is happening and what I can do to avoid it? It's really painful and I don't want to stop riding :(

FYI I noticed it kick in after just 30 mins of riding today. I have not ridden for two days and so it was ok at the beginning. We are not talking about this happening after epic distances or anything.

Really hope someone can help.
2010 Specialized Rockhopper
2012 Bianchi Infinito


  • Position changed recently?
  • rob21
    rob21 Posts: 284
    have you had a bike fitting done??
  • dubcat
    dubcat Posts: 737
    I am a relatively new rider - have only been on about 7 or 8 rides on my first road bike. I did spend quite a bit of time with the sales guy in the shop setting up the bike which he did with it mounted on a turbo trainer. He advised me to use a shorter stem which I did, adjusted the height of the bars using spacers, adjusted seat fore/aft position and seat height too.

    I was wondering if there was a specific setup or technique issue that would result in one trapezius muscle being sore. I figured it might not be fit as that would impact both sides equally wouldn't it? I'm new to this - sorry.
    2010 Specialized Rockhopper
    2012 Bianchi Infinito
  • How different from standard are the shims?
  • dubcat
    dubcat Posts: 737
    Shims? If you mean the spacers all he did was move the spacer that was above the stem to below it so the stem is at the top of the headset stack. Measuring me up he told me that my legs are long and arms relatively short for my height. I am some kind of anti-ape I guess. If you mean something else please let me know and I will answer. Appreciate you taking the time.
    2010 Specialized Rockhopper
    2012 Bianchi Infinito
  • colsoop
    colsoop Posts: 217
    You might be too far forward on your saddle meaning you are putting too much emphasis on your upperbody to keep you in position on the bike.
  • I suffer from the same, so can only offer my personal opinion. My left shoulder pain started before getting back into cycling, however I have found that doing some extra exercise to strengthen the shoulders/upper body as well as seeing a chiropractor has really sorted it out. The chiropractor has said that this area is very prone to problems due to the meeting of several major muscles in one area and does hold a lot of tension. It does help that she is also a cyclist and has offered help in how to position myself on the bike to prevent injury. As I said, it worked for me so it may not be the same for you but it may be worth having a sports massage to see if it helps initially?? As a footnote, my shoulder tends to flare up when I am under stress from work and at the busiest times of work, could this also apply in your case?
  • g00se
    g00se Posts: 2,221
    I have something similar on my right - the pain seems quite 'deep' - almost like it's under the shoulder blade. Saw a sport injury person about it and they thought it might be compounded by sleeping on my front. This can hyperextend the top of the neck and aggravate things like this. I've since shortened my stem and it helps but it's still not right. Just to add - the pain doesn't seem to get worse after cycling - which might help bear this out.
  • dw300
    dw300 Posts: 1,642
    I have the same problem from time to time .. from slouching on the couch at a funny angle, or in front of the computer with bad posture.

    You could have strained it a little from overuse on the bike since you've not been riding in that position long. However, once that muscle tightens up to protect itself, it's only gona ache and get tighter if you keep riding, until you get it released. You need some manipulation to loosen it up. You might be able to do it yourself with a tennis ball and your bodyweight on the floor or against a wall.

    I feel that even if you're in the right position, your body will need time to adjust to sitting on the bike, and you can hurt yourself from jumping straight into doing long stints in the saddle. If you get tired you can start to favour one side and then get an injury. Could this be a cause? Don't go changing things on your own if you had a bike shop guy fit you, it's bound to be close. Get it fixed, and exercise it. I like shrugs and rows for building upper back strength. Then build up your hours in the saddle more slowly, or by doing more shorter rides, rather than fewer long ones.
    All the above is just advice .. you can do whatever the f*ck you wana do!
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  • Ive been gettin this on my right shoulder.

    It happend when I changed from a 56cm to a 58cm earlier this year. Ive not had a bike fit yet but im considering it.

    I think im over stretching, for example the line of the handlebars are in front of the hub, and im told that looking down you shouldnt be able to see any of the hub.

    So i might try a shorter stem soon to see if that helps...
  • dubcat
    dubcat Posts: 737
    Yeah that's exactly why i bought a shorter stem - so that the hub is hidden. Will try the tennis ball to release it. I use a foam roller for legs already so am familiar with the concept. Maybe I am just doing too much too soon.
    2010 Specialized Rockhopper
    2012 Bianchi Infinito