Are you a cycling enthusiast? Living here in beautiful sunny SoCal, I don't blame you! Over the years, I have noticed that certain sports tend to attract die-hard aficionados more than others. Cycling and running are two of the biggest! It is almost as if people get addicted, and strive to go longer, faster, and farther, taking their bodies to the limit. Unfortunately, this is also how people tend to injure themselves.
While I believe higher amounts of cardiovascular activities can do the body a world of good, there comes a point when it may become counterproductive to health. When it comes to cycling, the repetitive motion of pedaling, the long periods of hunching over, sitting in one position, gripping hard on the handles, can certainly take its toll on the neck, upper back, lower back, shoulders, forearms, and hands.
My cycling friends always tell me that having the proper gear--equipment that is made to fit your body's needs, makes all the difference in the world. And certainly, anything from the right equipment for your bike to even your sporting wear, as long as it is able to increase the amount of comfort during the ride, can help to reduce pain and injury. But even with the best equipment, sometimes it is not enough.
So how can Acupuncture help with cycling injuries? Well let’s break down some of the most common injuries associated with cycling:
1. Carpal Tunnel/Tendonitis
Ever see your road companions do the "shake shake" of arms and hands? Numbness, tingling and pain in the forearms, wrists, and hands are one of the most common injuries I see with cyclists. But not to worry, Acupuncture is one of the most effective tools for this type of injury.
2. Neck and Shoulder Pain
All those hours hunching over the bike can certainly lead to tension in the muscles of the neck, upper trapezius, and deltoids. Taking time to correct your posture, in addition to doing regular acupuncture and stretching, will help this immensely.
3. Lower Back Pain
Not just a frequent cycling injury, lower back pain, once it is there, can be very difficult to get rid of. Part of the problem is an inherent weakness in the core muscles. Doing regular core exercises, getting Acupuncture and Chiropractic treatments, can make a huge difference no only in maintaining back pain, but also preventing it from further injury.
4. Overall Muscle Pain and Fatigue.
In general, Acupuncture is wonderful with speeding up the body's self-healing and recovery systems. The body starts to produce higher amounts of endorphins (your natural pain alleviating chemicals) as well as natural anti-inflammatory factors. Increased circulation after acupuncture can help with getting rid of lactic acid and other toxins that cause muscle tension, pain, and fatigue. Acupuncture loosens up tight muscles, allowing space to open up among irritated nerves.
The most beneficial way to use Acupuncture is actually not in the treatment of pain, but rather the prevention of it. Stay ahead of injuries and cycle smart! So if you are an avid cyclist and want to extend the shelf-life of your body's ability to continue cycling, don't hesitate to get some Acupuncture today!