Cycling is a sport that requires not only a high number of pedal strokes, but also requires the cyclist to hold the upper body in a static position for a long period of time, often for several hours.
The continuous leg motion can lead to repetitive stress and therefore repetitive stress injury (RSI). With his process, low-level inflammation develops within the tissue, and the body responds by laying down scar tissue in an attempt to repair and stabilize the area. This scar tissue results in adhesions between the tissues. This does not cause pain initially but it does affect normal function of the tissues, resulting in restricted motion, reduced circulation, altered nerve function, muscle weakness, and loss of muscular endurance. All of these factors will interfere with optimal performance and predispose the cyclist to injury.
Holding the upper body in prolonged postures can also lead to pain and discomfort in the neck and shoulders as well. As the muscles of the neck and shoulder girdle are forced to maintain a contraction for prolonged periods, it will result in altered metabolism and reduced blood flow to the muscles. This will also lead to low-level tissue inflammation and promote scar tissue adhesions within the muscles.
Treatment for the cyclist is centered on the identification of movement restrictions and soft tissue-adhesions that are placing excessive strain on the body and impeding optimal performance. Several aspects of body function will be evaluated as they relate to cycling. Once identified treatment will work to remove any dysfunction that has been identified. Many athletes will use chiropractic care as part of their regular training program to stay injury free and help reach their performance goals.