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Belle has cracking shoulders: could it be poor bike set up, poor posture – the Guru offers some advice

Nov 12th, 2014

Hello,

I’ve had really bad shoulders (and arms) for a while now. They crack so much
and whenever I move them upwards (or in any way really) I get so much tension
that the only way to relieve them is to move them in such a way that I crack
it out.

Recently, if I bow my head I also have a pain that extends down my neck into
my shoulder, which is really unpleasant.

I think what may have started the problem is cycling with a big backpack.
I’ve not cycled for a while now to try to counter this. I’m also consciously
having to not do any exercises that put pressure on my shoulders as it’s not
at all comfortable and am trying not to sleep with my arms above my head (my
preferred sleeping position) as I read somewhere that this may put
unnecessary strain on my joints.

Any recommendations to ease the pain or reduce the tension would be greatly
appreciated.

Many thanks,

Belle

The Guru Responded:

Aaaah!

 

Stop cracking your shoulders – might make ’em feel great, but I doubt it’s doing any good….and if I’m being reflective it’s likely doing some long term harm. Shoulders, if anything, have got huge amounts of movement and don’t need being given extra.

 

It sounds though you’ve got an issue with your neck, which is given you shoulder and arm pain. Cycling is the cause, but why.

 

Could be due to poor bike set up – saddle to low, handle bars too near or rucksack too heavy – whatever way it forces your to poke your chin out and this, over a period of time will cause symptoms.

 

So what should you do?

 

First up move better through the middle of your back – sitting twists with arms crossed in front of you are a good starting place. Lift your chest, don’t poke your chin out and get your thoracic spine moving.

 

Secondly have a look at all your sitting postures – from in front of the TV, reading the paper to sitting at work. Don’t slouch, get the screen, tablet, book etc in front of your face, don’t poke your chin out to meet the device get the device to meet you.

 

Thirdly get more control of your shoulders blades and the muscles that control them and your arm (rotator cuff). When you’ve got control, then get them stronger.

 

Finally change the cause – stuff mid back, poking chin out and respectfully ignore the symptoms in your shoulders. Don’t expect immediate symptom relief but you’ll feel better later, for longer if you change the why’s rather than the what’s.

 

Give it a concentrated week or so…

The Guru

Six Physio

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