Toronto Mike

The Untold True Story of My Pinched Nerve From Cycling

The Untold True Story of My Pinched Nerve From Cycling

On June 7th of this year, I biked 123.95 km to Hamilton as part of the Ride to Conquer Cancer.  My previously longest ride was a little over 60 km. That means I doubled my longest distance ever and I felt great.

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My legs weren't sore, I wasn't overly tired and I was rather pleased with myself. I had a training plan, I stuck to it, and I reaping the reward. I was ready for day two and the final 103.38 km of my journey.

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I was probably about 50 km away from the finish line at Ontario Place when I noticed my fingers were numb. I chalked it up to the constant vibrations from so much biking in two days. Then, with about 30 km to go, I started feeling a sharp pain in my upper back under my shoulder blade. But with 30 km to go in a 230 km quest, I wasn't about to slow down.

I finished my ride with no pain in my lower body, but this sharp pain in my upper back and completely number fingertips.  But I finished, and I was happy.  Off to brunch I went with my family.


I took the next day off, but went for a couple of 20+ km rides on the Tuesday. The sharp pain in the upper back returned, morphing into numbness mere minutes after completing my ride. My fingertips remained numb. I decided to take two more days off, finishing off the week with a couple of 23 km rides.

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I was able to bike about 20 km painfree before the sharp pain and numbness struck. Because I'm an idiot, I banged my head against this wall 8 more times until I realized I needed to take a break. When severe pain strikes, biking ceases to be pleasurable, as you can imagine. In hindsight, I don't know why I rode in pain for so long.

Following my ride on June 25, I promised myself I wouldn't touch my bike for an entire week.  When I resumed biking on July 3, I capped my rides at 15 km for a couple of weeks.  The back pain never returned, and my fingertips eventually got their feeling back.

I've Googled the mess out of this, and as far as I can tell I had a pinched nerve.  I don't know if it was due to poor posture or simply a result of biking 230 km over two days. I do know it was extremely painful and to this day I won't bike over 30 km at a time for fear of it returning.

Has anyone else experienced a pinched nerve from cycling?

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