Cycling Shoulder Pain One Side: 11 Treatments [DIY Natural]


Sudden left shoulder pain could indicate a heart attack. It is often caused by inflamed or trapped rotator cuff tendons. Should the pain spread to your left jaw, arm, or neck and you feel short of breath, dizzy, or sweating, call 911 or your local emergency number.

Cycling shoulder pain can be caused by many factors, including bad posture, overuse, improper bike fit, and traumatic injuries. The shoulder joint, rotator cuff muscles, or surrounding tendons and ligaments.

We’ll explore the causes of cycling one-sided shoulder pain and provide practical tips and treatments to help alleviate it.

Cycling Shoulder Pain One Side: 4 Causes & Preventions

Causes and preventions of cycling shoulder pain on one side

Cycling is an excellent exercise and transportation, but it can also lead to shoulder pain on one side. This type of pain can be a result of various reasons, such as improper bike fit, overuse, or traumatic injuries. We will explore these causes in greater detail and provide tips for avoiding or managing one-sided shoulder pain while cycling.

Bad Posture

Bad posture is one of the most common causes of shoulder pain when cycling. Incorrect posture can cause shoulder imbalances and even affect other body parts, such as the neck and back.

Causes and Effects:

Tips for Improving Posture while cycling:

  • Maintain an upright position with a straight back, shoulders relaxed, and head up.
  • Keep your elbows slightly bent and your hands positioned on the handlebars.
  • Maintain a good posture by engaging your core muscles.
  • Take breaks and stretch periodically.


Overuse can result from cycling too often or insufficient resting and recovery. RSIs can result from this, such as rotator cuff tendinitis or bursitis, which causes shoulder pain from cycling.

  • Inflammation around the shoulder joint.
  • Weakness and stiffness in the shoulder.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Difficulty lifting or reaching overhead.

Overuse to Avoid Cycling Shoulder Pain:

  • Include rest days in your cycling routine and vary your training intensity and duration.
  • Warm up before cycling and stretch after to improve flexibility and prevent strain.
  • Use proper cycling techniques and avoid sudden movements or excessive force.
  • Seek medical attention if symptoms persist.

Improper Bike Fit

Improper bike fit causes cycling shoulder pain

Improper bike fit can cause asymmetry in your posture and impact your body’s alignment while cycling. Poor bike fit can lead to shoulder pain when cycling, mainly if the handlebars, saddle, or pedals are in the wrong position.

Causes and Effects:

  • Awkward or uncomfortable riding posture.
  • Pain or discomfort in the shoulders, back, or hips.
  • Uneven pedaling.
  • Reduced power output and speed.

Prevents Shoulder Pain:

  • Check your bike measurements and adjust the saddle height, handlebar reach, and pedal position accordingly.
  • Use ergonomic components such as padded gloves and handlebar grips to reduce shoulder pressure.
  • Consider getting a professional bike fitting from a bike shop or a bike fitter.
  • Monitor your posture and adjust your bike fit as necessary.

Traumatic Injuries

Traumatic injuries such as falls, collisions, or accidents can result in shoulder pain when cycling. These injuries range from minor bruises or sprains to more severe dislocations or fractures.

Causes and Effects:

  • Sharp or intense pain around the shoulder joint.
  • Swelling and bruising.
  • Limited range of motion.
  • Instability or bone abnormalities.

Medical Attention and Recovery Protocols:

  • Get medical attention for severe or persistent pain, loss of function, or any signs of serious injury.
  • If necessary, follow your doctor’s recommendations for pain management, physical therapy, or surgery.
  • Take time off from cycling and gradually resume your activity after recovery.
  • Use protective equipment such as helmets, gloves, and body armor to prevent or minimize injuries.

One-Sided Cycling Shoulder Pain: 11 Treatment Methods

Shoulder pain after cycling is quite joint and can have various causes, such as overuse, incorrect posture, or an underlying condition. Several effective treatments are available to alleviate the discomfort and help cyclists get back on track. Here are a few treatment options for cycling shoulder pain.

General Treatment Options

To begin with, some general treatment options can help you manage your shoulder pain. These include:

  • Rest: Take a break from cycling to give your shoulder time to heal.
  • Ice: Apply ice to your shoulder for 15-20 minutes every few hours to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, can reduce pain.
  • Physiotherapy: A physical therapist can guide you through exercises and stretches to increase your shoulder strength and flexibility.

Exercises and Stretches

Exercises and stretches to treat one-sided cycling shoulder pain

In addition to general treatment options, some specific exercises and stretches can help relieve shoulder pain when cycling. Some of these include:

  • Shoulder Rotations: Holding your arms at your sides, slowly rotate your shoulders forward and backward.
  • Shrugs: Lift your shoulders toward your ears, then release them.
  • Scapular Squeezes: Engage your shoulder blades while maintaining a slight squeeze.
  • Neck Tilts: Gently tilt your head to one side, holding for a few seconds before switching to the other.

Alternative Therapies

If you prefer alternative therapies, some options may help with shoulder pain when cycling. These include:

  • Massage: A deep tissue massage can help release tension in the muscles around your shoulder.
  • Acupuncture: This ancient Chinese therapy involves placing tiny needles on your body to promote energy flow and reduce pain.
  • Yoga: Stretching and strengthening the muscles around your shoulder, reducing pain and increasing range of motion.


Shoulder pain when cycling can be frustrating and uncomfortable for cyclists. With the proper knowledge and guidance, overcoming this challenge and enjoying a pain-free cycling experience is possible. We discussed the common causes of one-sided cycling shoulder pain, such as incorrect bike fit, overuse, and bad posture.

We also provided helpful tips and guidance on minimizing and treating this condition, including general treatment options such as rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, physiotherapy, specific exercises and stretches targeting the affected area, and alternative therapies like massage, acupuncture, and yoga.

We hope this article has been informative and helpful, and we urge all cyclists to share their feedback and recommend ways to stay fit while cycling. Remember, cycling is a great way to stay active and healthy, and with the proper precautions and care, you can enjoy it without any pain or discomfort.


An excessive shoulder load can cause pain due to insufficient endurance or strength. If you stop the ride when you feel a lot of shoulder pain when riding your bike, the burden will be relieved, and your shoulders will be able to rest. The consequences of persisting may also be significant.

Yes, cycling can cause shoulder blade pain, especially if the bike fit at the front end is poor. This pain often results from being too stretched out or having the handlebars set too low. Lowering the stem excessively, influenced by peers or professional cyclists, can contribute to shoulder blade discomfort.

Shoulder pain on one side can result from muscle, tendon, or ligament damage, or peripheral nerve issues. In some cases, it might indicate a heart attack. It is the third most common muscle and bone complaint in the United States.

Yes, upper arm pain after cycling is common among cyclists. The main causes are muscle fatigue, nerve compression, and poor bike fit. Addressing these factors can help alleviate the discomfort.

Yes, many cyclists experience side shoulder pain while cycling. Often, clients may not mention it during fittings unless prompted, assuming it’s a common discomfort. Addressing this issue proactively can help improve comfort and prevent potential injuries.

Yes, cycling can cause back pain on one side if there is an imbalance or leg length discrepancy. Excessive reach or a too upright position can also lead to lower back discomfort. Maintaining proper bike fit and posture is crucial to prevent one-sided back pain while cycling.

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