Of all outdoor recreation enjoyed throughout summer, few activities top lists like a good bike ride. Whether in the city, on the beach, down the hills, or up to the mountains, biking is a great way to get both exercise and a breath of fresh air, all while saving your wallet a trip to the gas station. Before you hop on and get those pedals moving, however, it’s important to prepare yourself in order to prevent bodily harm. Here are a few common cycling injuries, and some tips on how to keep safe and happy during a ride.
Lower Back Pain
Riding can require you to maintain a hunching position, often for extended periods of time. If a cycle isn’t adjusted properly, or simply isn’t the right size for you, this can result in lower back pain. Moreover, if you already lack good flexibility, the combination is almost certain to produce an aching back. To help keep your back feeling good as new, make sure your bike’s frame is the proper length for you, and be sure to adjust both the seat and handlebars to a comfortable position. And, like when doing any exercise, be sure to warm up appropriately by stretching and loosening your muscles.
You don’t have to fall and scrape your knee to hurt it while riding a bike. In fact, of all potential cycling injuries, the most commonly reported ones are knee-related, and they usually happen without anyone taking a tumble. Instead, these injuries tend to occur from a combination of over-exertion and ill-fitting equipment. Something as simple as the angle of your seat can, in fact, have a large effect on the movement of your legs and how they are pedaling. Similar to preventing back pain, a well-sized bike and correctly adjusted components can dramatically help your knees from getting damaged.
While biking can certainly provide thrill-seekers a healthy dose of adrenaline, it’s vital to remember that many of your muscles are working the whole time, regardless of whether you’re gliding down the boardwalk or pedaling up a hill then winding down one. Strains, sprains, and pulls are ailments often courtesy of a bike ride that might have been too difficult or just too lengthy. Knowing your physical limitations can be helpful for preventing muscle fatigue. To better know your personal limits and receive helpful recommendations and suggestions on physical activity, you can visit us here at UrgentMED, seven days a week, for a physical with one of our friendly and professional staff members, no appointment necessary.
Get The Medical Attention You Need from UrgentMED
If you’ve had a cycling injury, or are suffering unrelated but uncomfortable body pain in your knees, back, neck, or anywhere else, our UrgentMED clinics are here to serve you. At each of our 18 walk-in friendly locations around Southern California, you can count on fast, affordable emergency care from highly-skilled and compassionate professionals. We offer hours throughout weekdays, weeknights, and weekends. Find an UrgentMED location near you by visiting us online.
What is Whiplash?
What is whiplash? It is a very common injury that can happen to the neck when you apply a sudden deceleration causing a quick backward/forward of the head. For example, you may experience whiplash if you are driving along in your car and suddenly have an accident. Although the vehicle may come to a sudden stop, your body still moves forward and does not stop until it is fully restricted by the seatbelt. At this point, your head still carries momentum and stretches forward before violently bouncing back. That stretching can cause damage to both the bones in your neck as well as the soft tissue. The term we use to describe this damage is whiplash.
Any impact that causes your head to jerk back and forth can result in neck strain, even a slow collision. Other whiplash causes can be traced back to contact sports such as football. Neck strains are not to be confused with neck sprains. Strains are caused by damage to the neck resulting from a sudden force, usually in the muscle or tendons. Sprains are tears of the ligaments that connect bones to one another. The symptoms tend to be similar.
Symptoms of Whiplash
Whiplash symptoms tend to include pain coupled with a limited range of motion as well as tightening in the neck. Other symptoms include pain when moving your head forward, backward or sideways, tenderness, and headaches at the base of the skull. Sometimes the pain is manifested immediately, but at times it can take days before you start to notice the pain. Shoulder pain, headaches, fatigue, back pain, and even arm weakness may also appear as signs of whiplash or neck strain. Keep in mind that everything is connected and what affects one area can have a domino effect.
If you have whiplash it is crucial to have a doctor take a look at you as the cause for the whiplash may have caused a concussion as well. Concussions can be severe, and you should seek out a doctor immediately if you have trouble talking, are confused, nauseous, dizzy or unusually sleepy.
What Can You Do If You Have Whiplash?
The first thing, of course, is to seek medical help. Aside from that you should:
- Ice your neck to help with the swelling and pain by applying cold for about 15 minutes every 4 hours or so.
- A massage might help but be sure to be gentle.
Like with most things, the quicker you receive a diagnosis, the earlier you can start treatment. If you think you may have strained your neck come visit us right away. With 17 locations all over Los Angeles, free parking at all of them, very affordable prices, and extended hours, the UrgentMED Network is the perfect choice to take care of your neck. Find the location closest to you.
It is important to find time for exercise. Trust us, your body will be grateful for it. This is especially true if you are experiencing any sort of pain.
You might be scared to work out body parts where you experience pain. However, in a lot of cases, exercise is the best way to relieve that discomfort. By building strength in the right muscles, you will be able to get rid of that pain and get your body back in top shape.
Causes of Lower Back Pain
There may be different reasons as to why a person experiences lower back pain. It may be due to weak muscles in your core or pelvic area. Lower back pain may be enough to hinder even the slightest of movements. This can really interfere with you as you do your daily activities. Some common causes of lower back pain include:
- Strains – This is when muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to excess activity.
- Disc Injury – A disc injury occurs when one or more of the cartilaginous joints that cushion the spine, known as a “disk”, is ruptured, torn, or abnormally compressed. Disc injury usually occurs suddenly after lifting something or twisting the back. Unlike a back strain, pain from a disc injury usually lasts for more than 72 hours.
- Other Conditions – Disorders such as osteoporosis, scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and past vertebral fractures can all contribute to lower back pain. Less common, lower back pain can be a sign of a serious medical condition, such as diabetes or a pinched nerve. In the case of a pinched nerve, the pain may be accompanied by symptoms like fever, chills, night sweats, or loss of bladder control.
Basic Exercises That Can Help Relieve Lower Back Pain
Try these four simple exercises to fight lower back pain:
There are two ways you can do this exercise: lying face down on the floor or using a machine to elevate yourself.
Using the machine, keep your feet hooked under the anchors, and your back arched. Put your arms behind your head or across your chest. Dip your torso down as far as you can while keeping your back straight. Squeeze your glutes as well while doing this. Then, slowly come back up and realign your body back to the starting position.
If you want to do this on the floor, start by lying face down. Arch your back and raise your torso off the ground as high as you can. You can do this either by using your arms to prop you up or by using only the strength from your back and core. Hold for a few seconds and come back down. Make sure not to bend your neck and to keep your hips down.
Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15.
Also called glute bridges, hip raises are designed to strengthen not just your lower back, but the muscles that support it. This is a great workout that will target your glutes, hamstrings, core, and hips.
Lay your back flat on the floor with your knees bent. Make sure that only the balls of your feet are touching the ground and that they are firmly planted. Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips up. Your back must be arched, creating a straight line from your shoulders all the way to your knees. Hold this position for a few seconds before bringing your torso back to the ground.
Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15.
Reverse Hip Raise
Take a bench and lie face down with just your upper body touching its surface. Your legs should be dangling off of it. Keep your legs together and lift them up until they are in line with your torso. Make sure to squeeze your glutes and to raise your hips. You may hold on to the sides of the bench to get leverage. Hold for a few seconds before lowering your legs.
Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15.
This lower back exercise also incorporates coordination between your arms and legs. First, get down on your hands and knees. While contracting your core and back muscles, alternate lifting your leg and arm off the ground. Make sure your hips are straight and that you are creating a straight line from your arms to your torso to your legs. Then, return to your original position and lift your other alternating arm and leg.
Do 3 to 4 sets of 10 to 15.
Need Lower Back Pain Relief? Let UrgentMED Help
In the event of lower back pain, keep in mind that exercise is key. But along with this, you must also keep track of your progress and be careful when doing strenuous activities. If your lower back pain persists, consult a doctor at UrgentMED. Come visit one of our 18 convenient locations throughout Southern California where we offer fast, professional service without long wait times. Visit the location closest to you today.