Neck pain after riding

I’ve suffered neck pain after unicycling on quite a number of occasions and I’m wondering if others have had a similar problem and what they did about it.
It’s definitely more noticeable when I’ve been riding somewhere more challenging and have UPD’ed a lot so I assume it’s related to the sort of physical impact of dismounting. It’s a little like whiplash and most uncomfortable (suffering this evening following a fairly straightforward 3km ride).
Maybe I’ve just got wimpy neck muscles and need to find some basic exercises to strengthen them up but I’d be interested if others have had the same experience.


If I recall, I had this issue when I was first starting to ride muni. It was because I was so nervous about crashing that I was hyper focusing on the ground directly in front of my wheel (which of course made it worse) but it also made it such that I really started to cramp up my neck from having it at that angle. Try to relax the muscles on the back of your neck when riding.

I sometimes get a bit of back/spine pain when I do not so great dismounts and I don’t use enough of my legs to absorb the impact of the land. The only neck issue I have maybe is lately with the t bar and I’m more crunched over as oppose to sitting upright as usual. Any higher t bar and it’s a pain to free mount.

But yeah it’s either you have to work on your landing (I usually can be seen practicing my graceful landing) or maybe one of those things that get a bit better with time. Just watch out if the problem stays the same or gets worse I would think.

If you are referring to recent winter riding, then one major cause could be the cold. Muscles are much more likely to suffer damage when cold.

I use a neck tube for all outdoor sport in winter.
Something like this -

Also, it needs to be a good quality windproof ‘technical’ tube.
The cheap ones don’t do it for me.


Do you know, I never thought of that. The problem has occurred over the Winter but that might just be a reflection of when I’ve reached the ability to do more challenging off road riding. Ironically I’ve not noticed the cold when riding until today. Even in the coldest weather I can’t ride in more than a T Shirt and shorts (I have elbow pads that act as long sleeves and knee/shin pads). I’m normally baking at the end of a ride but today, after my longest ride yet (7.2km) I actually realised how cold my arms and torso were.
I have loads of Buffs, from the lightest to super thermal so next time Im out I’ll try wearing one. Cheers joggerdude…and cheers to everyone else for their ideas too.


Went for a ride yesterday. Started with 3km on my recent purchase - a 29" I have yet to master to feel confortable with. Then switched to the 24" and went in the muddy paths in the forest for another 5km. It wasn’t my best session, I was a bit tense and nervous about falling - which I’m more ok with usually.

Today I have a sore neck. I guess being more tense than usual is what caused it. In my case I would rule out temperature because yesterday was in the 10°C.

I have had a sore neck for years.
It’s not related to cold (I don’t fear cold -as long as it is dry-) but never thought about a relation to unicycling.
This is a muscle problem and it happens only on the left hand side… I am now wondering if it may be related to two things: I am not a relaxed person and I use my left hand to grab my saddle … I will investigate … thanks for the idea.

Check your posture the next time you are playing the sousaphone. An incorrect posture might cause neck strain.

:):slight_smile: btw my Sousa is for a right handed person … wait a minute: I am right-handed :stuck_out_tongue: (in fact I am more undecided-handed)

After easing off a bit I’ve had two big rides and the pain is much worse. I don’t think face planting helped much yesterday though :roll_eyes:
I rode into town at lunch time and when I came to leave, in a nice crowded street I hopped on the Uni, overshot with my forward foot, caught my heal on it and was unceremoniously domped on my face!
Pads meant I only bruised my dignity but I did strain my forarms which ache today.

Anyway, temperature doesn’t seem to be a factor and, although I’m a bit tense, I don’t believe that’s enough to cause the pain. Alhtough my dismounts/UPDs don’t feel particularly impacting I still feel like I have whiplash so it’s the most likely. I’m trying to improve my posture at work (sit/hunch at PC/Laptop all day so that’s likely contributing.

Wobbiling bear, it’s my left side of hte kneck that is most in pain too (I’m right handed).


I hope you figure this out Mr. Lateral. I had neck problems due to bad desk-posture so I know how awful that can be. It can also be pretty serious if it’s nerve-related so don’t be shy about seeing a Dr. if needed. Also…

  • Do you hang your head a bit while riding… like looking at the ground right in front? That 8 lbs of bobbling boffin-head could be straining the muscles.

  • Could backpack straps be a factor? I have a new backpack and the straps press on the neck muscles (they come together too closely behind the neck, plus they are stiff). I fight the urge to incinerate the backpack at the end of every ride, but it’s day is coming.

That’s all I’ve got. Hope it improves!