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Back pain - between shoulder blades - hunched shoulders?

geebusgeebus Posts: 50
edited November 2012 in Commuting general
Since I've been cycling regularly, I've been getting some upperback/neck pain.
Mostly between my shoulder blades.

I had exactly the same pain a fair years ago, which eventually was traced to wearing a heavy motorbike helmet on a sports bike where I was more leant over - I was fine with the same commute and helmet on an upright dirt bike.

I have also recently been doing a fair bit of rock climbing and some running - however I was rock climbing and running without this pain at one point, suggesting it was the cycling that's really done it.
(For instance a couple of weeks ago I did a 10k off road running race as well as cycling 26 miles and climbing the days either side of that - as the pain would generally take a day to appear, it was hard to work out exactly which bit was the cause, though likely all together it didn't help either.)

I've noticed I'm hunching my shoulders up a bit when cycling and have been making an effort not too now, hopefully it's making a difference.

I'm riding (two!) hybrids. If anything, it's the more upright one that seems to do it worse (Specialised Globe Vienna 1) vs my new one (Charge Scourer). However that's likely because noting the riding position I thought about my shoulders on the Charge and have been making more effort not to hunch since getting it.

First off, is it likely just that I need to stop hunching or other things to be aware of?
Anything else that could cause it?

A friend who had had similar recommended doing some general resistance work, but specifically back extensions.
Can remember being told to try them when I had it before - though that didn't help and it was just stopping wearing the heavy helmet that sorted it.


  • Probably leaning on your shoulders a bit too much, arms bearing your weight rather than your bum.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • I went on my local half-hour route earlier and made an effort not to hunch my shoulders all the way round.
    Did notice a bit of pain towards the end of the ride.

    Presumably I should be more trying to use my 'core' to support myself?
    I know this is certainly the case for motorbikes - as otherwise you reduce control at the bars, but wasn't aware it was also the case for pedal power.
  • Did a bit more yesterday - two and three quarter hours in total maybe.
    Made an effort to both keep my shoulders down and to have a light grip on the bars, so I couldn't be putting too much weight through my wrists.

    I was still noticing little bits of ache as I went along, but don't seem to have any lasting ache so far, so hopefully that's done it ta :).
  • davisdavis Posts: 2,566
    Probably worth looking into some Pilates-type exercises. "The plank" is worth practising.
    Sometimes parts break. Sometimes you crash. Sometimes it’s your fault.
  • geebusgeebus Posts: 50
    After posting that I went climbing yesterday and definitely noticed a bit of pain driving home after.
    Wouldn't have got that without the cycle ride the day before, I reckon - certainly wasn't getting any when climbing but not cycling.
    However, it didn't last for nearly as long and has generally been much better than before.

    Have been meaning to sort out a general abs-routine anyway, so stuff like 'the plank' will probably come in to it.
    Also ditto for some general stretching/flexibility work.
  • geebusgeebus Posts: 50
    Been trying various things and for the cycling making sure my arms are bent, as well as the loose grip on the bars seems to have helped a fair bit - cycling doesn't make it any worse at least now I reckon.
  • geebusgeebus Posts: 50
    Thought I'd update this -
    First off, the over-the-counter co-codamol works surprisingly well.
    Ended up taking it for getting on for a month a so, on an off, but mostly on. Didn't get addicted at all, which is nice - previously I got addicted to Tramadol when prescribed without realising I had.

    Haven't done anything specific to stop the pain, bar being careful in all areas, but it does seem to have gone away now.

    I still do get an occasional tingly twinge in my left hand when off-road cycling etc which may be related and I suspect is from when I broke my shoulder in 2006.
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