Clifton Hill Physiotherapy’s remedial massage therapist, Lisa Jackson, has a special interest in cycling having competed as both a track and road cyclist. She has also competed as a triathlete at both national and international levels.
Lisa knows that cycling is a particularly physically demanding sport that often involves the athlete spending many hours in the saddle followed by very short recovery periods. It is also an extremely repetitive sport and may require the athlete to adopt an aerodynamic position which in itself can place significant demands on the body. Consequently many cyclists suffer overuse injuries that can range from muscle fatigue to damaged muscle tissue.
Overuse injuries in cyclists can commonly be contributed to one or more of the following:
1/Poor posture on the bike (often due to poor posture off the bike, incorrect bike set up and/or lack of core strength): When in the saddle cyclists tend to be in a forward flexed position, a position that can place constant strain on the lower back. A flexed lumbar spine may also mean that the cyclist is unable to utilise everything in the hip complex the way it is meant to be utilised and this too can lead to various imbalances and injuries. The neck and upper back may be bent over causing tightness in these muscles along with tightness in the chest muscles. The repetitive nature of cycling may also place stresses on the wrists, shoulders, hips and knees.
2/Lack of core strength: training tends to be just riding which is great for strengthening the legs but does little to strengthen the core muscles (abdominals, obliques, lats and muscles around the spine). It is these muscles that help a cyclist maintain a strong posture throughout their ride, provide a stable platform for the hips, thighs and knees to work from and help minimise discomfort and injury in the back.
3/Incorrect bike set up: this can mean poor cycling technique and the inability to activate key muscles groups. This can lead to both acute and chronic pain and injuries as well as decreased cycling performance.
Regular remedial massage can play a significant role in managing and preventing overuse injuries in cyclists as well as improving cycling performance.
Postural observations and the correction of poor posture are both significant parts of a remedial massage treatment plan particularly where pain and/or injury is involved. Lisa can identify any musculoskeletal imbalances that may exist and can identify any noticeable strengths and weaknesses (including core strength). They can also make observations regarding possible neuromuscular holding patterns caused by poor posture on the bike and use techniques such as PNF stretching to change/correct these patterns. Through hands on treatment Lisa can also bring an awareness to the areas of the body that are not functioning or responding as efficiently as possible.
Combining the above information with a sound understanding of the nature of the injury or dysfunction, Lisa can devise a treatment and/or management plan for the cyclist accordingly, or make the appropriate referral to another healthcare professional if deemed necessary.
Dip Rem Massage
B Eng (Hons)
Lisa is a qualified Sports and Remedial Massage Therapist with many years of experience and is a member of the Australian Association of Massage Therapists (AAMT).
Lisa has competed as an athlete at both a national and international level and understands the stresses the body is put under while training for and competing in elite sport.
As a mother of two active young boys Lisa also understands the demands and pressures placed on the body in performing everyday tasks, and understands that massage isn’t just for elite athletes.