INSIDIOUS CYCLING INJURIES, PART III: STEP AWAY FROM THE DESK WITH YOUR HANDS ABOVE YOUR HEAD.

Posted on Categories NewsTags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

This is Part III of a series on preventing long-term cycling injury. Not all, but mainly spinal and joint issues. I am very genuine about not wanting anyone to suffer as I do, and above all, not to have to stop cycling.

This is Part III of a series on preventing long-term cycling injury. Not all, but mainly spinal and joint issues. I am very genuine about not wanting anyone to suffer as I do, and above all, not to have to stop cycling.

I’m NOT an expert. I did a relevant degree and I’ve suffered spine-related nastiness most of my life. But I can claim to have accumulated a balanced wealth and breadth of experience that I’d like to share. I hope it proves useful. Form your own opinions about whether it is!

As the title dictates, back injuries are very often insidious. They creep up on you, waving little flags and spears, which you ignore. Until one day…BOOM. They storm the walls and all hell breaks loose. Those walls will never be strong again. (Ok, enough of the crap analogy).

People think that injuries happen when you fall, or get tackled, or run over, or crushed by errant donkeys. But back injuries most often happen when you get ‘locked in’ to a position that puts strain on your back, and there is no respite. Whether its driving, watching tv, sorting potatoes on a conveyor belt or sitting at a desk. These activities need on cause any problems. But the cumulative time ‘set’ in position can be devastating.

Desks are Satan’s work. And Satan designed a relatively new phenomenon, long office-based hours, to make use of this tool of torture. Desks lock you in to position and now, with your laptop and long stressful hours, you are locked in for longer.

All this talk of ‘locked in’ relates to the issue of a back not getting any balance, to help muscles and joints (including vertebrae) find new equilibriums and rest disks under duress. A relatively comfortable position held for long enough becomes a dangerous position, as the body morphs into a new shape.

In these extreme non-extreme positions, slowly but surely the disks of (commonly) your lumbar region are compressed. Over months/years they are squished until, as a physio said to me, ‘the jam is squeezed out the donut’. And once its out, you can’t get it back in…A herniated, or slipped disk. Now you’re stuck with it, and your life changes.

To prevent this semi-permanent change in posture, we have to do activities that balance it. So not sitting for hours at a desk. Getting up, moving around. Maybe stretching, but just avoiding that locked in thing. Always get up every half an hour…Step Away From The Desk With Your Hands in The Air (Like You Just Don’t Care).

I herniated two disks in my neck (cervical region) by sitting at a laptop in a hotel room, with a mobile phone pressed between ear and shoulder. It was the last straw for a spine abused and stressed constantly by bad habits for years. It took me 9 months to get back on the bike, and I could hardly walk or carry ANYTHING for months afterwards. I also gave up my job as an executive producer in a film company. You don’t mess with slipped disks.

Now there’s another activity that leaves you locked in, rather similarly to a desk. And that’s not want you want to hear….Riding a bike. Think about it.

Danger: This Image May Offend Your Spine

Danger: This Image May Offend Your Spine

Our legs spin away, whilst the rest is still (if you’re doing it properly!) Your arms and shoulders take the weight at the front and you sit in a rigid position, disturbed only by getting out the saddle.

I want to talk more about cycling posture in a following blog, so no detail here. But all this ‘rigidity’ boils up into a cauldron of potential bad back grimness. Sedentary office job, locked in position, locked in cycling position = recipe for disaster.

So MOVE AROUND. Get up, do something else. Again, I want to talk more about complimentary exercise in another blog, but the thing to take away and remember is:

Don’t get locked in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *