Cycling and Numbness
Updated: Sep 30
Cycling and numbness typically go together when you find yourself back on your bike in the spring. As a chiropractor and avid cyclist, I too get tingling in my left hand at about mile 5. I have a history of neck pain and a history of neck injury. It crops up the most during cycling season and reminds me that the discs in my neck are not as healthy as I would like.
Here are several strategies you can use to help your numb hand wake up. First, ride a bike that allows you to have multiple grips. It took years for me to drum up the courage to drop a thousand dollars on a bike. I’ll tell you, it was the best $1000 I have spent. I feel so much more comfortable on it and moving my hands and arms and back to several different positions allows me to ride longer and more comfortably. One trick I have learned with my own hand is putting it behind my back for 30 seconds to stretch the front side of my shoulder. It relieves the numbness and brings the feeling back. I also ride with padded gloves and in all honesty, my bike could use new grip tape. For those with shoulder injuries, you can also buy accessory pads to provide more shock absorption through the handlebars.
When I get home, any friend of mine will tell you, I am immediately stretching. It doesn’t take me 20 minutes, I know my problem areas and do two or three stretches for each area as soon as I get off of my bike. I feel dramatically better when I am done and am not as stiff the next day. I also picked a tip up from a yoga instructor I know that helps open up my chest and stretch my arms. I get a broom stick and put it behind my shoulders and pull down on both ends and let everything stretch and open back up. It really helps my posture and I use it even when I am not cycling.
On top of this, I find the chiropractic care I receive weekly invaluable when I am at my peak activity level. I have been getting regular weekly chiropractic adjustments since I was 16. I can say with 100% certainty that without regular adjustments with my chiropractor I would be relegated to eating cheetos on my couch and watching endless amounts of Dancing with the Stars. I am incredibly grateful for the active healthy life that chiropractic care has allowed me to have. While I mention it at the end of this article, it is probably the first step in ending or at least managing the numbness and neck pain you have while cycling.