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Understanding & Treating Pain From Bike Accidents & Injuries

September 8, 2016

Treating Bike Injuries

Nearly 10% of people in Portland commute by bicycle. That’s tens of thousands of commuters biking to their offices every single day! That’s the highest percentage of bike commuters in any major city! Plus, thousands more people ride their bikes for fun, either on the road or on nearby trails.

 

It’s amazing to see so many people being active and enjoying the outdoors on their bicycles. Bicycling is a great form of exercise that strengthens your muscles, joints, tendons, bones and cardiovascular system. Not only is bicycling a great way to get around, it’s great for your body, too!

 

Unfortunately, bicycling injuries and accidents do happen and can be serious. In today’s post, we’ll talk about the keys to understanding and successfully treating the aches and pain that result from bicycling accidents and injuries.

Common Bicycling Aches & Pains

Active Bicycle Rider 

Even if you’re a very careful rider, you may feel a few aches and pains as a result of riding.

Knee Pain

Even though bicycling is a very low impact form of exercise, you might still experience knee pain as the result of riding your bike.

 

The most common form of knee pain is known as Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS), more commonly called Runner’s Knee. Runner’s Knee is an inflammation of the area under and near the kneecap. It’s cause isn’t fully understood, but it’s usually the result of too much exercise in too short a time.

 

If you suffer from osteoarthritis, you’ll likely notice some pain in all of your joints, not just your knees, as you get older as cartilage wears away over time. You’ll feel stiffness in your joints, pain in your knee, a bit of swelling, and a limited range of motion.

 

Iliotibial (IT) Band pain is another common injury among runners and joggers but can affect bicyclists, too. The IT Band sits on the outside of your knee and can rub painfully against the bones beneath. The more frequently the IT Band rubs against the bone, the more pain you’ll experience. Stretching and rest are the most commonly suggested treatments.

Hip Pain

Do you have pain in your hip, in about the place where your wallet would fit in your back pocket? If so, you’re very likely suffering from Piriformis Syndrome, a sharp pain in a muscle deep in your leg and buttocks. The muscle shrinks and actually compresses the sciatic nerve beneath it causing the pain. It’s common in bike riders who don’t stretch or exercise muscle groups other than those used in cycling, resulting in atrophy and weakening of the piriformis muscle

Hand, Arm & Shoulder Pain

The more you ride, the more likely you are to experience tingling, numbness, or pain in your hands, arms, and shoulders. This is called ulnar neuropathy and is caused by riding for long distances and increased pressure on the nerves in your hands, arms, and shoulders. It’s most commonly caused by riding in the same position and can be prevented by wearing cycling gloves or changing hand positions often-- just one of the reasons why drop bars are recommended for long road rides.

Treating Bicycling Aches & Pains

The good news is that many aches and pains are temporary and can be relieved by taking a few days to rest and recover. Ice and over-the-counter pain relievers can also help reduce inflammation and pain in the hips, arms, hands, and knees.

 

Unfortunately, if the pain persists for longer than a few days or is especially intense, you should consider seeing a holistic primary care physician like those at Urban Wellness Group for further treatment. Natural treatments, including acupuncture, massage therapy, and chiropractic care can help, too.

 

The key to overcoming these aches and pains from recurring is understanding the root cause of your pain and taking the steps necessary to prevent it. That’s where a naturopathic doctor can help!

Bicycle Accidents & Crashes

The more you ride, the more likely you are to take a tumble, either as the result of a crash with a car, another bicyclist, or an accidental fall. If you’re involved in a serious accident of any kind, the first thing you should do is seek emergency medical attention even if you feel fine-- especially if you experienced any loss of consciousness (however brief) during the accident.

 

While broken bones, serious sprains, road rash, and some other injuries may be immediately visible and painful immediately following a serious bike accident or crash, other injuries to your muscles, ligaments, and soft tissue may become more intense in the days following the accident.

 

Once you’ve received treatment for your most serious injuries, you need to focus on reducing pain and inflammation so that you can feel your best again (and get back on your bike).

Treating Pain from Bike Accidents & Crashes

A natural physician can help. At Urban Wellness Group in Portland, we specialize in treating all kinds of pain and injuries that result from bicycle and auto accidents. When you meet with a natural health practitioner, we can help you understand your pain and recommend a course of treatment that may include:

 

  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Chiropractic care
  • Natural medicine treatments

 

Our #1 goal is to care for you and help you feel your best.

Did You Know? Auto Insurance May Pay For Your Care!

If you’re an insured driver in the state of Oregon, your policy includes Personal Injury Protection (PIP), a form of coverage that pays up to $15,000 to treat injuries that occur as a result of auto accidents, even if you’re at fault and even if you’re on your bicycle. So if you’re in an accident when you’re riding a bike, your care may be covered by your auto insurance!

 

If you have questions about PIP or other insurance issues, just call Urban Wellness Group at (503) 445-9771 to schedule an appointment and learn about your treatment and payment options.

Staying Safe & Healthy On Your Bicycle

Bicycle Accident 

While accidents do happen, there are a few steps you can take to help stay safe while riding your bicycle.

Be Aware of Your Surroundings

 Safe Bicycling in Portland

Here in Portland, nearly every bicyclist has a story about an accident or scary situation they were involved in. Maybe their tires slipped on the granite stones on the Esplanade, their tire slipped into the streetcar tracks, or a speed hump on Clinton caught them by surprise.

 

You can minimize your chances of taking a spill by being aware of your surroundings and riding defensively. Remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re nervous, ride slower, and don’t take any chances!

Wear Your Helmet & Don’t Overdo It!

Bike Safely 

Bike helmets save lives! If you’re involved in an accident, a properly worn helmet can reduce your chances of receiving a serious head injury. Even low speed accidents and falls can cause serious head injuries, so always wear your helmet! You never know when it might make the difference between a serious injury and a minor accident.

 

Remember that bicycling should be fun! If you’re sore, take it easy. Don’t over exert yourself and don’t push through pain that just won’t go away. You should also make sure to ride a bike that fits you properly. For example, a bike that’s too small can lead to knee pain and other painful injuries. You can ask one of Portland’s great local bike shops about how to tell if your bicycle fits properly.

Have Fun!

 Have Fun Riding Your Bike!

Above all, just enjoy yourself. There’s nothing more fun than exploring Portland by bicycle. You’ll see things you miss when you’re riding in a car and you’ll get great exercise while you’re doing it!


Just remember if you suffer an injury while on your bike and you have questions about what to do, just call Urban Wellness Group at (503) 445-9771. We’re here to help!

 

Photo Credits: Ian Sane, Calvin Hodgson, Mobilus In Mobili, Parker Knight, Сергей Романчук, Richard Eriksson

 



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