A burning sensation in the shoulders, numbness of the arms and hands, and tightness in the neck are common sensations among both recreational and competitive cyclists. They might be easy to ignore at first, but if they come back again and again they can seriously interfere with both enjoyment and training progress. Upper and lower back problems are another common consequence of regular cycling. Can a chiropractor help with these problems?
Absolutely. In addition, chiropractors can help prevent injuries and even enhance speed, strength, and efficiency for healthy cyclists. Athletes of all kinds can find help with rehabilitation, maintenance, prevention, and treatment in the hands of a well-trained chiropractor.
Chiropractors have a unique set of skills to offer cyclists, in addition to their general musculoskeletal expertise. Both specific and general skills are critical to successful treatment of cyclists because everything in cycling is interconnected: the nerves, the muscles, and the joints. In fact, if your physician or chiropractor doesn’t address all three of these issues at once, you are likely to continue to have the symptoms, pain, or injury without relief. In particular, a chiropractor that specializes in sports medicine is will probably have the most to offer you as a cyclist. He or she will also work with adjunct professionals such as sports trainers or physical therapists as needed to address your particular needs.
Solutions to problems cyclists experience will likely be multi-dimensional. That is, a combination of adjustments, deep tissue massage, exercises, and stretches will likely be required. For example, if a cyclist is suffering from lower back pain, it’s possible the chiropractor will determine that it is due to hip rotation. An adjustment of the sacroiliac joints will be quite helpful, but appropriate stretching and strengthening exercises will also be needed to address the weakness and tightness in the muscles that affect the hip joints. Strengthening exercises will contribute stability to the joint, while stretching will help to lengthen the muscles in the region thus preventing them from contracting when stressed.
In fact, it is absolutely essential that patients do their part to contribute to their recovery from cycling injuries or pain. The chiropractor can do adjustment after adjustment, but if you do not complete the required stretching and strengthening exercises at home, you may not see the relief you expect.
Finally, a chiropractor who specializes in sports medicine will likely be able to help you professionally fit your bicycle so that it causes the least strain on your body. Seat placement, bicycle size, handlebar height, and cycling posture all have a significant impact on both performance and stress on the body. Many chiropractors offer in-house bicycle analyses and adjustments to help you get the most out of cycling with the least stress on your joints.