Handlebar Palsy From Cycling Eased By Chiropractic
By Chris Brown
Cycling on the open road is a freeing experience that lets you travel as far as your legs and willpower will take you. If, however, you get carried away and ride too far, injuries can quickly start to emerge. Many long-distance cycling injuries result from the repetitive stress of chronic body pressure against the bike. And one of the main points of weighted contact is upon the handlebar's grips. While necessary for steering the bike, the constant grip and impacts from bumps can injure the nerves in the hands. When this occurs, it is vitally important to visit your local chiropractor to regain functionality before the numb hand-weakness sets permanently.
The Handlebar Palsy Phenomenon of Long-Distance Cyclers
A common condition that appears following long-distance cycling called ulnar nerve palsy, or the appropriately nicknamed handlebar (or cyclist's) palsy, occurs from the handlebar's direct pressure upon the ulnar nerve of the hands and wrists. The constant pressure and force impacts stretch the ulnar nerve, resulting in tingling and numbness in the fingers and, eventually, a loss of hand strength or frozen claw position. Some form of the condition is common for long distance cyclists. A study found that 23 of 25 cyclists had some form of nerve palsy following a 600 km bike ride, regardless of experience level. The scariest part of handlebar palsy is its potential for permanent disfunction, as was the case with a 23-year-old biker whose loss of hand functionality and numbness persisted at least seven years following a 14-day bike ride. The study notes that the biker only received minimal care from her primary care doctor and was simply told to rest her hand. Her injury's longevity illustrates the importance of treating ulnar nerve palsy and compression immediately after symptoms occur, rather than waiting and hoping for them to dissipate.
Chiropractic Eases the Cyclist's Wrist Palsy
If you do start feeling persistent numbness following a long cycle, there is hope for recovery in chiropractic. While cycling specific studies are limited, multiple case studies have found symptomatic relief of ulnar nerve compression following chiropractic manipulation. In the cases of a 45-year-old female and a 41-year-old woman with ulnar compression injuries, chiropractic eliminated hand numbness and weakness after four and 11 sessions respectively. Chiropractic's ability to stimulate the ulnar nerve is so successful that spinal manipulation alone can partially relieve pain and restore functional ability. Spinal manipulation was found to alter the central nervous system's response to motor training tasks in a 2010 New Zealand College of Chiropractic study. Chiropractic's philosophy of joint optimization and holistic care seems to help the ulnar repair after traumatic pressure injuries.
If cycling, or any repetitive exercise, has made your wrist numb and weak, the doctors at The Joint Chiropractic may be able to help. The Joint offers affordable, walk-in treatments, so there is no reason not to pop by your local clinic the moment you feel pain. The Joint's doctors are trained to alleviate your hand pain and improve wrist mobility. And with over 600 clinics nationwide, The Joint Chiropractic is never far from wherever you end your bike ride.
To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Baltimore, Md.