Most Common Cycling Injuries: Prevention

When it comes to a fun way getting in your exercise or even getting from point A to point B, cycling has been the number one way for many years. People of all ages enjoy riding their bikes out on trails, in their neighborhoods and even renting them at the beaches. One problem that comes with this mode of fun and exercise is cycling injuries. Learning how you can prevent these from happening to you will keep you happily cycling for years to come. Check out the common cycling injuries below and a few tips on how to prevent them from happening.

Pain in the Hands or Wrists

Some people experience pain in their hands or wrists after riding. Typically, that is because a lot of people ride with their elbows locked and arms straight out. To prevent that from happening to you, be sure to keep your elbows bent during riding time. This will help your elbows act as shock absorbers for the rest of your arm when you hit bumps or dips along the way.

Pain in the Neck or Back

You might experience neck pain or even back pain after you’ve been riding for a while. Most often times this is due to improper positioning on the bike itself. If you’re handlebars are set at too low of an angle, then you may find yourself rounding your back or bending over to reach them. If you seem to stay in one position for too long this can cause your neck pain to start as well. Be sure to change positions often and get off to stretch while you’re riding for a lengthy period of time.

Pain in the Knees

You may find the most common problem with cycling is the knee pain that can develop. This is mostly due to overuse of your knees. It can result in problems such as cyclists knee, quadriceps tendonitis, or other conditions that are from overuse of the joint. Make sure you give your knees plenty of rest before and after the cycling journey you take. Also shoe wedges can help to relieve the overuse of your knees and thus help prevent your knee pain from coming back.

Head Injuries

Always remember to wear a helmet whenever you are riding to prevent dangerous cycling injuries from happening. Keeping a helmet on at all times will drastically reduce the potential for you to suffer from a head injury during your bike ride.

Keep these tips in mind to help you enjoy cycling and prevent the most common cycling injuries.

Neck Sprain: Cause & Treatments

The cervical vertebrae of the spine consist of seven bones that are connected to each other by strong fibrous tissues such as the ligaments, tendons and muscles. A sprain occurs when one of these tissues are stretched beyond its limit. This can happen during a sudden movement such as a car accident, causing the neck to bend to the extreme.

The neck is an extremely smart structure that is designed to house and protect our backbone – the spinal cord. The spinal cord provides support to our head and consists of millions of nerves that acts as signals and transmitters to relay messages from our brain to the rest of our body. However, it is also one of the weakest component of our body and the extreme flexibility that allows you to bend and touch your toes also leaves it vulnerable to impact.

Causes

There are several possible causes for a neck sprain:

  • Spending too much time in an awkward position such as hunching when using a computer for long periods
  • Sleeping in an awkward position without adequate support from a proper pillow
  • Sudden forceful impact such as during a car accident, causing whiplash
  • Working for long periods in the same position such as painting a ceiling for hours

Treatment

Our ligaments, tendons and muscles are designed to heal itself in a short time if it is minor.

  • Applying a cold pack will help to reduce inflammation, allowing the body time to heal. Ice pack should be applied every hour for the first 24 hours as this is the acute stage
  • Applying a heat pack will enhance blood circulation, allowing efficient blood exchange. Old blood containing dead cells will be drained off while new blood carrying large amounts of nutrients and oxygen will help to speed up the healing process
  • Anti-inflammatory medication will help to bring down the swelling and provide pain relief
  • Massaging the neck area will help to dissipate any blood clots that are formed and promote blood circulation
  • Hydrotherapy is a novel treatment method that uses salt to release muscle sprains. Magnesium which is found in the salt will reduce the rate of calcium binding following a muscle contracting
  • Acupuncture is a TCM technique stimulates specific acupuncture points to manipulate the flow of energy and provide restoration of joint mobility to the neck

Neck sprains are usually causes by activities that requires long periods of prolonged movement of the neck.

Cervical Spondylosis: Symptoms and Treatments

Neck pain is a common complaint experienced by many and is often the result of ageing. This is due to our cervical spine degenerating due to age, resulting in arthritis in the body. When arthritis happens in the neck, it is called neck arthritis or medically known as cervical spondylosis. One important thing to note is that cervical spondylosis is often non-life threatening. In this article, we will discuss about the causes, symptoms and treatments available for cervical spondylosis.

Causes

As we age, degeneration occurs and the interverterbral discs located between our spinal disks will start to lose its moisture content, reducing the shock absorption abilities. When this occurs, it causes the collapse of disk spaces as well as the shortening of the disk space. With a poor shock absorption capability, wear and tear will cause the cartilage to wear off rapidly, resulting in a direct abrasion between bones. The body will not allow for this to happen and thus, it begins to grow new bones. Over a period of time, bone overgrowth or bone spurs will occur and this will cause stenosis.

Symptoms

Different people will experience different sets of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. It can get worse from simple actions such as lifting your head up. Some common symptoms include experiencing pain and stiffness in the neck which gets amplified through actions, numbness in the arms and hands which is an indication of nerve injury, muscle spasms and migraines. It can get better with rest or medication.

Treatments

Treatment is classified into 2 groups namely surgical and non-surgical with the latter being preferred. Non-surgical treatments include physiotherapy and medication. Physiotherapy aims to strengthen the already weak muscles and correct the body’s posture. It is often scheduled thrice a week for at least 8 weeks. Sometimes, medication will be prescribed to help combat inflammation and reduce pain to a tolerable level. Acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and muscle relaxants are the usual few to help to control pain.

Surgical treatments are often the last resort and are reserved for those who are suffering from extreme pain and no other non-surgical treatments are able to help at all. This is due to the high risk involved in the surgery and the high cost involved, which makes it almost impossible financially for many. Surgical procedures such as spinal fusion, foraminotomy and laminectomy are commonly performed to either reduce the pressure off the spine or remove the excess bone spurs.

Stiff Neck – An Underlying Spine Disorder?

Stiff neck causes pain and discomfort when attempting to move your neck. It is often due to injury to the soft tissues and ligaments at the neck region. It is usually accompanied by pain and soreness in the neck, shoulder and arm. Symptoms can last for quite a fair bit of time and it can be relieved using medication or a warm compress. For cases whereby the symptoms go away in a couple of days, there isn’t much of an underlying issue. Stiff neck can occur when you wake up after having slept in an awkward position for a long time. Sometimes, stiff neck can be an indication of an underlying spinal disorder.

We must first know the basic anatomy of our neck. Our neck is divided into 2 regions namely the anterior and posterior. There is a part of our spine that moves through our neck and that is the cervical spine which is effectively made up of 7 vertebrae. Any slight problems in our spine can ultimately lead to neck pain since they are interlinked. There are 2 common spinal disorders which are Cervical Herniated Disc and Neck Arthritis.

Cervical herniated disc is one of the leading causes for neck pain and indicates an injury to the cervical spine. Pain in the neck is caused by the disc pinching onto the cervical nerve, causing pain to flow down the nerve pathway down to the neck. Some patients may also experience numbness at the neck region.

Another common cause is due to cervical osteoarthritis which is a degenerative joint disease or otherwise known as neck arthritis. Cervical osteoarthritis are characterised by the presence of bone spurs which may impinge onto a nerve. When impingement happens, the pain will radiate down the nerve onto the neck region, creating in neck pain similar to the cervical herniated disc.

It can also be due to cervical spondylosis which is another degenerative disease that is increased by previous injuries. Cervical spondylosis can result in neck pain and stiffness and is due to the wear and tear of the cartilage and bones of the cervical vertebrae.

There are many causes for stiff neck and it could indicate an underlying spinal disorder due to the mechanism for both neck arthritis and cervical herniated disc. The best way would be to seek a doctor immediately if you frequently encounter a stiff neck.

Common Upper Back and Neck Injuries

Our neck is one of the part of our body that is used a lot throughout the day and neck. Our neck is extremely flexible but due to the lack of any form of muscle support, it has to bear the weight and stress of our head, placing it at a high risk of injury. Any forms of sudden impact can cause serious injuries and damages to the ligaments. Our spine runs from our back to the neck and it communicates with the entire body by sending nerve signals. One thing that many people fail to recognise is that pain in the arm could be a sign that something is wrong with the neck and not the arm itself since nerve signals are sent through the body. What are some of the common upper back and neck injuries experienced by many?

Muscle sprain

A muscle sprain occurs when there is an injury to the connective tissues called the ligaments either due to sudden twisting motions or injuries such as falls. Some common symptoms of a muscle sprain includes pain, swelling and a loss of flexibility in that region. Depending on the cause, it can be mild or severe.

Muscle strain

The main difference between a strain and a sprain is that strain is an injury to the muscle. Muscle strain can occur due to reasons such as improper posture while lifting a heavy object. Similar to a neck sprain, symptoms of muscle strain includes pain, swelling and loss of flexibility as well as muscle spasm, indicating an injury to the muscle.

Cricked neck

A cricked neck or stiff neck occurs due to prolonged non movement in a certain position such as sleeping or long hours of improper posture while using the computer. It is often due to muscle spasm and can usually be treated with a hot or cold pack.

Whiplash

Whiplash is a common neck injury to the tendons, muscles and ligaments of the neck due to a sudden force which causes the neck to be moved beyond its range of motion. Some common situations include a vehicle accident whereby a sudden braking motion or an impact after being hit by the car in front or behind, causing the neck to be extended beyond its intended range.

Muscle irritation

Our shoulder is attached by large muscles to the shoulder blade and they can be easily irritated when it is exposed to cyclic loading over a prolonged period of time, causing pain, swelling and strains.

Injuries are often due to sudden impact that causes a strain or sprain to the ligaments and tendons, causing injuries and pain to the patient. The chances of injuries can be reduced by taking proper precautions such as protective sportswear and safe driving techniques.

Stiff Neck – Cause And Relief!

Have you ever woke up to a stiff neck before? That uncomfortable and tight feeling that makes movement almost impossible and causing you a lot of discomfort throughout the entire day. Stiff neck are frequently experienced by many and it will usually go away by itself after a few days. You may rest assure that stiff neck is not an indication of any serious problems with your neck. So what are some of the causes of stiff neck and what measures can you take to relief it?

Causes:

Injury

Injuries are one of the most common reasons that one will experience stiff neck. A sudden jerking movement at the neck region can injure the muscles and ligaments, causing injury and subsequent pain and stiffness. Injuries can be caused by sports, accidental falls or even a car accident.

Stress

Our body response to stress is the natural tensing of our muscles. If you did not suffer any injuries recently and is experiencing stiff neck, it could be an indication that you are under tremendous stress. It’s time to take things easy and relax.

Muscle spasm

Muscle spasm are due to the signalling of certain messages from our nerves to the muscles which will result in them involuntary contracting, causing stiff neck.

Improper sleeping posture

Improper sleeping posture is probably the most common reason for stiff neck. Our body is in a relaxed state when we are asleep and an improper sleeping posture can cause the pulling of the neck muscles without us being aware of it. Only when we finally wake up do we realise it and it is often too late.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder that targets the joints, especially those in the neck. It will result in neck pain and stiffness.

Meningitis

Meningitis is a very serious inflection of the fluid that surrounds our brain and spinal cord and if you suffer from neck pain and stiffness and they are not caused by the factors listed above, you should consult a doctor immediately as a stiff neck is a common symptom of meningitis.

Treatment:

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and paracetamol can help to relief the pain associated with neck stiffness.

Ice or Heat pack

Using either an ice pack or a heat pack can help to relief the pain. Ice pack will help to bring down the swelling and reduce inflammation while a heat pack will help to expand the muscles, allowing them to relax and reduce the stiffness, bringing relief to you.

Proper neck support pillow

A proper neck support pillow is slightly more expensive compared to normal ones but they ensure that your neck is properly rested and aligned when you sleep, reducing the chances of you suffering from stiff neck due to improper posture.

Above are some of the common causes of neck pain and stiffness and some ways that can help to relief them. Neck pain and stiffness will cause us a lot of discomfort and make us look funny in front of others so take care of it.

Top 8 Whiplash Symptoms and Treatment

Whiplash is an injury to the neck which is often cause by an unexpected increase in acceleration or deceleration force. This injury does damages to both the soft tissues and the bone structures of the neck.

Some doctor will refer a much more severe injury of whiplash as “whiplash associated disorders”. Most commonly, this injury occurs when someone met with an accident.

In this article, let us look at what are the top ten symptoms of whiplash injury.

  1. 1)     Neck Pain and stiffness

Once you are experiencing prolong neck pain or stiffness, it is likely that you might have been a whiplash injury.

  1. 2)     Insomnia

This is a common symptom as when you are face with whiplash injury, there will be higher tendency of not being able to sleep.

  1. 3)     Giddiness

There will be a higher tendency to feel dizzy once you have injured your neck.

  • 4)     Shoulder Pain

Most of the time you will experience a tight shoulder in when you’re facing the pain.

  • 5)     Anger

As you struggle with the symptoms of whiplash injuries, small little things that are happening around will anger you easily.

  • 6)     Social Isolation

Most of time you will tend to isolate yourself from the people around you. However, try opening up to the people you’re close to. That will make you feel better.

  • 7)     Blurred Vision

When facing whiplash injury, this is one symptom that is very prominent and something that you have to take high regards of it. If this symptom gets worsened, you may need to seek an orthopedic doctor for consultation.

  • 8)     Spasms in your muscles

This is a symptom that will only occur once in awhile. When facing with this symptom, try to take a short break from whatever you are doing.

Treatment

The initial treatment of whiplash is to insert a soft cervical collar to help reduce the range of motion of the neck. This is so that the neck can be protected from any potential future injuries.

After the initial treatment, the patient can participate in physical therapy to increase neck muscles after the removal of the cervical collar. This will further decrease the pain.

However, if the patient happened to manifest psychological symptoms such as rage and nervousness after the injury, it would be advisable to seek medical attention of the emotional illness.

Nevertheless, the process of recovering should be looked into by an orthopedics. The patient should never proceed on any form of treatment without going through a proper consultation with a doctor.