Relief for Sore Neck Muscles
Sore neck muscles can really put a cramp (pun intended) on your cycling rides!
The muscles that pull your head back that enable you to lean forward in the aerodynamic position, but still see where you are going, can cause a whole list of painful problems.
Allen Larsen won RAAM 2003 with this contraption holding his head up because his posterior neck muscles gave out!
Don’t let this happen to you!
The muscles (splenius capitis and trapezius) contract the entire time you ride, so they need to be flushed out to release the toxins which then enables the muscles to draw in blood to heal the fibers.
I suggest you do this simple treatment every time you get off your bike – whether you are racing, training or just riding for enjoyment.
Your trapezius and splenius capitis muscles originate along your spine and insert into the base of your skull. When they contract they pull your head back. If you’re standing up, you’ll be looking at the ceiling, but if your cycling, and you’re in the aerodynamic position, they are pulling your head so you can see in front of you.
The problem is, as the muscles are contracted for extended periods of time, they get repetitively strained. In simple terms, they get “tired” and either shorten to this contracted length (called muscle memory), or they give out and can’t contract at all.
This is what happened to Allen during 2003 RAAM. The muscles lost the ability to pull his head up, so his head fell forward and he couldn’t see where he was going. He would have been out of the race until his crew came up with the broom-handle solution, taping it to his helmet and holding his head up. Uncomfortable for sure, but as I mentioned, Allen won the race!
If you are a cyclist, or if you paint ceilings and hold your head back for extended periods of time, I suggest you do this treatment frequently during the day.
Place your finger tips on the muscles on either side of your cervical vertebrae (back of your neck) as shown in the picture and press deeply. You are directly on both the trapezius and splenius capitis muscles.
Hold the pressure for 30-60 seconds and then without sliding on your skin, continue to press deeply while bringing your chin down towards your chest. The intention here is to lengthen the muscle fibers.
Continue to press into the entire muscle from where it inserts into the base of your skull all the way down your neck as far as you can reach.
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