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Neck issues / Disc bulge

Hi all,
Just wondered if anyone else has suffered with persistent neck issues from riding a Road Bike at all ?

I’ve just tuned 60, so no longer in the flush of youth, but have been a keen cyclist for the last 20 years, many first on MTB’s, before turning to the Dark side 7/8 years ago. Not had an issue for the first few years, but then in ‘20, developed huge pain in my cervical neck area, which stopped me doing anything for months.
Eventually cleared, and I got biking again, before it happened again last year, and then again this May, and I haven’t been able to cycle since.
Had an MRI finally, where a bulging disc was causing nerve pressure, and I’m finally realising that the position required on the road bike is most certainly the cause, it’s the only time my neck is extended back as required.

So, despite having treated my Pinarello Nytro to the new Rival AXS set last winter, it has to go 🙁

Once sold, Think I’m just gonna get a Specialized Vado, and be content with riding in comfort all round.


  • High rise or adjustable stem to raise the bars, so you have to tilt your head back less?
    2020 Voodoo Marasa
    2017 Cube Attain GTC Pro Disc 2016
    2016 Voodoo Wazoo
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 12,015
    The issue would seem to be positional - but we have no information on what your position actually is, or looks like.
  • photonic69photonic69 Posts: 2,043
    Hi. Have you had any medical diagnosis for this issue you are experiencing? You should consult a doctor before taking any advice from the likes of us.

    I had an issue with my C5/C6 disc bulging on the RHS. This lead to pressure on the nerves through the neck and caused me great pain behind my shoulder blade when riding my road bike. I mean real pain that almost made me cry it was so intense! It happened within 10 minutes of being on a bike. It was so demoralising as I love riding and I couldn't. Saw two physio's and they both concurred on the problem. The issue related to my general (bad) posture. Hunched forward working at a computer for long hours with my head dropped and my chin sticking forward. After correcting my posture by standing/sitting tall with my head up and the chin down, 90% of the pain went in a few days! I was given these exercises to do to strengthen my neck muscles and to mobilise my neck which helps to reduce the disc bulge and pressure. I do these regularly and always a reduced session before riding a bike and now instead of being in pain after 10 minutes I can ride over 100 miles without issue, and this is within the space of a year.

    Here are some links to exercise videos I followed. They are in no way invasive and can help almost anyone unless you have a serious medical issue that would advise you not to follow these.

    Hope this helps.
  • I agree with above — get yourself some proper medical advice — there are NHS-run specialist sports injury clinics that would give you specific advice — there’s one in Oxford ( and likely to be one at your local large (teaching) hospital.

    The advantage of such a clinic is that they won’t just say “stop doing the sport” - which is what you may get from your GP or the specialist looking after your neck.
  • Photonic - Thank you for posting the neck exercises. These look incredibly useful for both the OP and all of us generally ! I know there will be many of us who work on a computer too much.
    I shall be using these later up at the gym.
    On a similar note I took up Pilates recently on a Monday evening. This has been brilliant and also made use of a ‘ rest day’ and an evening where I would generally achieve nothing too. It’s been good to do something different and meet some new people too.
    I’ve labelled it a ‘ rest day’ , but I do know now on a Tuesday morning that I have done something !
  • zak3737zak3737 Posts: 370
    Photonic, many thanks for comments and videos, all very useful, especially for anyone going forward.
    As far as a Medical Diagnosis, then yes, as I mentioned, I had an MRI & Consultant visits recently. Due to current state of Nhs, I finally had to take matters into my own hand and self fund these, to finally find out the problem.

    As I mentioned, it shows I have a herniated Disc, or a ‘bulge’ at C6/7, which is pressing against the nerve, causing constant discomfort and pain down the left arm.

    As has been the case on each of the 3 ‘flare ups’ of this issue, it’s taken some 3/4months to ‘settle’ back down to a point where it’s not painful, although I am still aware of it in certain positions.
    The Consultant has said it’s unlikely to resolve entirely, which I wouldn’t expect, there is a weakness there now, and at 60, that isn’t going to heal, and I don’t want to even consider surgical options, disc removal/vertebrae fusion etc etc, - and the Consultant agreed. He said a specialist Spinal Physio will be able to assist in building up the area, and I had a visit to one on Friday, and now have exercises to do.

    The ones you posted above will undoubtably help too, although the extension backwards …..I’ll have to be careful with.

    I did ask the Consultant about recommencing cycling, to which he ok’d, but strongly suggested I avoid the more aggressive position of a Road bike, …..although I caveat with saying that at my age, I’m hardly already in an overly aggressive low position already.

    I’m absolutely certain that it’s my cycling that’s causing/aggravating the issue, and when I think carefully about the 3 occasions it’s reared it’s head, it’s always after a period of long rides and hours in the saddle, and results in a whole summer of inactivity and discomfort, ….I haven’t been able to ride or golf since early May this year, the time of year when you want to get on and do the things we love, bloody annoying.

    Anyway, - update, ……I mentioned changing bike…….my wife wanted to change from her Orbea Road electric bike, and we went to Demo the Specialized Vado yesterday, both took one for a ride, and it’s convinced me, it’s the way forward for me.
    Massively comfortable ride position, fabulously kitted out, and in all honesty, as my averages are conservative at best, - I just don’t ride fast,…..I’ll go as far and as fast on a Vado as I did on my Nytro, and just feel better and with more control on each ride.

    Life is a journey, you just have to turn each corner enthusiastically on the way 😎
  • rwooferrwoofer Posts: 211
    I had two ruptured discs in my neck that left me half paralysed. Support getting proper medical advice. Once I was diagnosed, given the right exercises and told what not to do (no picking apples from trees, breast-stroke swimming or tennis serving) I've only had one minor flare up in 14 years. Started riding bikes 5 years ago and at 54 riding reasonably agressive race bikes (SS Evo HM and Vitus Vitesse Evo) without problems.

    The most helpful exercise I found was to purposely give yourself a double chin!
  • davidofdavidof Posts: 2,995
    I had some neck issues which I fixed by sleeping much flatter, head only slightly raised off mattress.
    BASI Nordic Ski Instructor
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