I Want to Ride My Bicycle

June is the official Bike Month. So get out and ride your bike! Cycling is a great way to enjoy the sun and get exercise, and you can ride your bike to work, so you don’t have to set aside a ton of extra time to do it.

 

One of the main reasons cycling is great is because it targets some of the largest muscles in your body–quad muscles, hamstrings, and glutes, just to name a few. This cardio exercise also targets different muscles during each pedal stroke. Each portion of the pedal stroke engages a different muscle or set of muscles to complete.

 

With how much your legs are worked, it leaves you open to stiffness, soreness, and strains. Massage helps reduce the effects of all three by pushing lactic acid out of your muscles, allowing your tissues to function better. The position your body is in for extended periods of time for cycling can also cause neck and back pain. We’ve talked about neck pain and disc issues in your back before. Massage again reduces the effects of strained muscles in your neck and back from holding your body in that specific position. The American Orthopedic Society of Sports Medicine talks about how important it is to have your bicycle fit your body correctly to prevent neck, shoulder, back, and other pains that can easily be avoided.

 

Cycling, as with any sport, also comes with its own set of injuries. Some of the obvious ones are knee pain or foot and ankle numbness. However, one of the most common is head injury. This can vary from a small bruise on the cheek to a serious brain injury.  In that same article, the AOSSM talks about quite a few possible injuries and they talk about when to seek the help of a physician, which you should with any major injury. However serious or minor an ache, pain, or injury is, your Licensed Massage Therapist can help.

 

After a long bike ride, it’s important to get massaged. It helps to push that built up lactic acid out of your muscles and allows your tissues to be more hydrated and oxygenated. It allows those muscle fibers to recover quicker. It prevents tensions from building up, which can also prevent sprains, strains, and other injuries. CyclingTips.com even wrote an article about When to Get a Massage, and the first sentence is, “Massage is as integral to a professional cyclist’s daily routine as riding the bike is.” It goes on to say, “The massage is actually pushing out the muscle’s carbon dioxide rich blood to the lungs and heart which is then filtered to come out as oxygen rich blood that goes back into the muscles.  The body will do this naturally but massage drastically speeds up the process.  In addition to this, massage prevents injury with the help of stretching.” (emphasis added)

 

If you’ve been in an accident on your bicycle, whether it’s falling off your bike because you just switched to clipless pedals and forgot your feet were attached to your bike, or you were hit by a car and had to get surgery to fix broken bones, massage reduces recovery time. After a serious injury, please consult your physician before you come see your Licensed Massage Therapist–we DO NOT replace your general practitioner, and it’s important to know that you don’t have any complications that would be worsened by massage. However, once you’ve received the clear from your doctor, receiving massage to help your body recover is necessary to ensure your body is functioning and performing without compensating for your injury. If you just fell off and hurt your wrist, again, come see us. We can make sure your wrist and the muscles in your forearm are functioning better to ensure you can break properly. A Personal Injury Lawyer office in Oregon posted a whole article about the benefits of massage after any accident. If it’s important after a car accident, it’s even more important after a cycling accident.

Disc – O – Tech

It’s been a theme recently that I’ve been working with a lot of people with disc issues. Serious disc issues. When you have a disc issue, it can cause pain, stiffness, even numbness and tingling. If you’ve experienced disc dysfunction, you know how agonizing and painful and relentless it really is.

 

A disc is the spongy donut, essentially, found between each vertebra. This provides not only a cushion between each spinal bone, but also a larger opening for your spinal cord nerves to come out and provide that neurological stimulation for your body. These discs are important and necessary. They also receive almost no blood. Blood is what keeps everything new, fresh, and healthy. Your discs pump water with the movements you do with your spine, so movement is insanely important for disc health.

 

Picture found on wikipedia

The construction of the vertebra-disc-vertebra has almost no horizontal movement for fear of the disc slipping. Two of the most common types of disc slippage are a bulge and a herniation. Each one of these cause tremendous amounts of pain, but not all require surgery.

Randy A. Shelerud, MD stated on WebMD:

“A bulging disk extends outside the space it should normally occupy. The bulge typically affects a large portion of the disk, so it may look a little like a hamburger that’s too big for its bun. The part of the disk that’s bulging is typically the tough outer layer of cartilage. Bulging usually is considered part of the normal aging process of the disk.

 

“A herniated disk, on the other hand, results when a crack in the tough outer layer of cartilage allows some of the softer inner cartilage to protrude out of the disk. Herniated disks are also called ruptured disks or slipped disks.”

 

While surgery for a bulging disc is rare, surgery for a herniation still isn’t 100%. Each of these have the ability to heal with regularalternative therapies, such as massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, and physical therapy. So many discs have the power to heal without surgery if just given the right opportunity. It takes consistency and a team of well trained professionals who are all working for the same goal.

 

Surgery is not the only answer for many herniations, but there is a time and place for it. Oftentimes, after a back surgery for a disc issue, many patients have to do the same physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, and chiropractic care anyway to gain the healing it needs. So unless your doctor really advises you otherwise, try alternative therapies first. I am not saying that if your doctor has suggested surgery to ignore it. Please do not read this and disregard what your doctor has said. It is important to listen to your doctor. Most importantly, have patience. It takes time to heal.