Neck Pain and the Working Triathlete, by Dr. Paul Salinas

The average amateur triathlete trains approximately 10-20 hours per week. Cycling usually occupies fifty percent of the athletes training time, and may result in a number of overuse injuries. One of the most common non-traumatic injuries sustained by cyclists is neck pain. Neck pain may be caused by a number of factors including:
  • Overtraining
  • Poor Bike Fitting
  • Improper Technique or Form
  • Lack of Spinal or Soft-Tissue Mobility or Stability
  • Poor Stretching Habits
  • Poor Posture
  • Prior Injury

The athletes habits off the bike may also contribute to neck pain. The average non-professional athlete likely works 40-60 hours per week at a computer. Computer use ranks as one of the most common causes of non-traumatic neck pain. Proper sitting ergonomics and daily soft-tissue management are must for any desk worker, including the working triathlete. Here are some tips to help prevent neck pain:

  • Assess your workstation ergonomics, visit:
  • Avoid sitting for periods greater than 30 minutes. Get up and move around
  • Drink plenty of water; it will help hydrate your tissues, and keep you from sitting at your desk for prolonged periods of time
  • Stretch your neck and back periodically throughout the day
  • Foam roll your mid-back in the morning and evening. Maintaining mobility at your thoracic spine can help prevent neck pain.

Always remember that pain is part of the bodies innate warning system; do not ignore it. If you are experiencing neck pain on the bike or in general, visit your local chiropractor, physical therapist or orthopedic doctor. Being proactive and pain-free can help you stay in the sport for the long-term.


Dr. Paul Salinas Certified Chiropractic Sports PhysicianDr. Paul Salinas is a Certified Chiropractic Sports Physician. He has worked with athletes for over ten years, as has participated as a treating doctor for numerous races, including Ironman New York City. For more information, please visit his website at