I love that Portland is a cycling city. Portland has bike routes and lanes throughout the metro area, and come rain or shine (or just more rain), these lanes are crowded at peak commute times. Recently a bike traffic signal was added to the intersection of NE Broadway and N Williams (very close to my NE Portland acupuncture clinic), which will hopefully improve the safety of that intersection for cyclists. The Worst Day of the Year Ride goes right by my house, and after watching so many bent-backed cyclists last week, I felt it was time for a post on acupuncture for cyclists.
Having so many cyclists in Portland means that Portland is home to a lot of folks with bike-related injuries. I’ve worked with many cyclists, both as an acupuncturist and as a yoga teacher, and I see some common patterns that arise from the position and muscles required for cycling. Many cyclists have tense necks and rounded, tight shoulder muscles from hunching forward. Low back pain (which may extend down the back of leg with sciatica) also commonly occurs for the same reason. I regularly see tight IT bands, which run along the lateral or outside area of the thigh, leading to knee or hip pain or other structural issues. Occasionally areas like the elbows or wrists will flare up with pain, too.
Some cyclists unfortunately suffer physical trauma from a bike accident. It took me years to heal from knee injury that occurred when my front tire slid on a MAX track and sent my body weight down onto my patella. Depending on the severity of the accident, the cyclist may experience road rash abrasions, bruises, swelling, broken bones, torn ligaments, injured muscles, and other acute or chronic musculoskeletal pain. Not to mention that it can be mentally difficult to return to cycling after a bad incident.
Acupuncture helps cyclists in a number of ways. Acupuncture and other Chinese medicine techniques can reduce pain and increase blood flow to injured or tight areas. Muscles, tendons, and bones can be nourished and strengthened with both acupuncture and Chinese herbs. Acupuncture can accelerate healing and prevent injuries from becoming a chronic condition. And acupuncture is a wonderful treatment for old injuries that have resulted in chronic pain.
As a yoga instructor, I can provide stretches and strengthening exercises to support the acupuncture treatments. The cyclist can incorporate these stretches long term to prevent future aches and pains, especially in the back and legs. My goal is to help each cyclist understand how biking impacts his or her body, and to provide tools to resolve bike related injuries so that cyclists can keep riding.
If you are are looking for acupuncture in Portland, please feel free to contact me at 503.281.6909 to schedule a free consultation on how acupuncture may help you.