To say that this winter has been long in Kelowna is a gross understatement. As the mounds of snow and ice are gradually melting and most of us have hung up our skis we are officially in shoulder season.
It is too soon to get on the bikes, paddle on the reservoir or golf, so what are we to do?
Every Spring at the clinic I get to see a new set of annoyances and injuries as folks transition to new activities. One of these complaints is hand tingling and numbness that comes from cycling. This can happen with road cyclists, mountain bikers, commuters and weekend warriors.
It is no secret that symptoms involving tingling, numbness and deep aching are a sign of nerve involvement. Consulting “Doctor Google” will tell you that pressure directly on the hand and wrist can affect the carpal tunnel and median nerve. While there is some truth in this it is unlikely the whole picture. Without getting too technical, the nerves that supply the arms and hands come from the spinal cord via the neck vertebra, weave under our collar bone, in front of the shoulder and branch off throughout the arm.
After this long winter of shovelling, cold weather and stationary hibernation activities we are stiff through our thoracic spine, neck and shoulder muscles.
As we as we hop on our bikes in a rounded, head forward posture those nerves are loaded by stiff joints, tight muscles and poor posture.
So here is where we need to do some work. Start with the basics of just being aware of your posture. Some strategies to deal with the stiffness are to stretch your neck and shoulder muscles and/or get back to the gym or enrol in a yoga class. If you have a foam roll- the long one- Lie on it tailbone to head and do snow angels without the snow!
Go see your physiotherapist if you can’t get a handle on those stiff joints and muscles or need some more concrete guidance. Definitely don’t leave it to progressively worsen. Our summers are too short not to fully enjoy them.