Neck pain and Uni 'isms

First, I need to warn you I’m medicated. This message may turn into babble. Sorry.

I was an avid mountain biker until I got bulging discs in my neck. I have not been able to return to the world of two-wheeled uprights since Feb. 04 without causing varying levels of relapse. Last week I took my kiddo’s around the subdivision on a short easy road ride and starting the next morning I was a hurting unit.

So I have been reviewing recumbent bikes as an alternative. and finding that the good ones are expensive as all hell. Then the thought crossed my mind that perhaps a muni may be possible.

Does anyone here have any experience with mixing muni-cycling with c5/c6 neck pain? If the upright position reduces stress on the neck when compared to a standard two wheeled bike I may still be able to play on the trails… but not until after I get my neck back under control from this last episode.

(Yes, I see you KrashingKenny, and I feel as old as you look)

Re: Neck pain and Uni 'isms

Trapper! I wondered why I hadn’t seen you on the trails for a while! Sorry to hear you are still having problems.

Maybe I never told you my story, or maybe you don’t remember it, but my neck is what got me into muni.

I have a slightly rotated and bulging disk in my neck caused by repeated whiplash while learning to barefoot waterski backwards about 20 years ago. For many years the pain would go away for a while, then something would set it off and I would be in pain for the next 3 months. My arm would go numb and ache and of course I couldn’t move my neck much. Mountainbiking was my main activity at the time, and it got to the point where I had to stop riding because the position aggravated my neck too much. I tried physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture and massage therapy. They all provided temporary relief only. After not riding for almost two years, one day I saw the trailer of Kris Holm and Nathan Hoover’s Unizaba video and decided I had to experience muni on some level. I had learned to ride a unicycle a few years earlier, but did not own one.

As it turns out, muni not only does not aggravate my neck, it is the perfect therapy for it. The upright position, upper body twisting, and the constant balance movements of the arms keep my muscles loose and everything stays in it’s proper place. As a result, I have not had a serious flare-up from my neck since I started riding muni three and a half years ago. Really. And if I don’t ride at the very least once a week, my neck will start stiffening up and getting slightly uncomfortable.
It may be that if I stood somewhere and flailed my arms around while twisting and bending my body for three hours at a time that I would get the same effect, but I doubt I would be as inclined to do that as to go out and have a blast riding trails.

I feel very fortunate to have found an activity that I enjoy so much and also happens to be my ticket out of cronic pain.

It would be great if it would work out the same for you, and I know Kenny will be as happy as I will be to help you get started.


Hey Trapper,
Glad to see ya’ over here. When you’re ready to enter the one-wheeled world, let me know and I’ll lend you a uni and teach ya’ the basics. Check your p.m. for my phone #s. Feel free to give me a call :slight_smile:

My $.02. Since starting to ride a muni and the rougher trails involved, my lower back in killing me! It might not be related, I have a 10 month old and a 3 year old, my pain could be associated with the lifting, carrying, diving, running, squatting, etc. necessary. Just thought I would let you know.

Re: Re: Neck pain and Uni 'isms

Man, I can’t shake you and Kenny at all :smiley: No, I hadn’t heard that story. You told me then one about your crash and burn on a two wheeler that broke your collarbone.

Sound’s like I may be on to something. I know it won’t be as simple as getting onto one and pedaling away down the trails. I do know that I have to let my shoulder relax for a week or two before i try it too.

I have to do something though. I’m gaining all my weight back. If this works out for my neck you know I’ll be putting in some mileage in the long run. I’ll take you and Kenny up on your offers as soon as I feel comfortable enough to start.

Thanks guys.

I have the same story as Scott except my neck injury was from a car wreck and I also couldn’t mountain bike and my neck hurt more or less all the time. Since I have been riding muni my neck never hurts, it’s almost compleatly healed.

Re: Re: Re: Neck pain and Uni 'isms

No, you can’t get rid of us. And when I said I would help you I meant I would loan you one of Kenny’s unicycles. :smiley: If you go at it like you do biking you will progress rapidly and enjoy the challenge.

When I broke my collarbone my neck problems got worse, and that was really the end of my mountainbiking. I will say that I rode my MTB last week for the first time in a year or so, and it didn’t cause any problems and felt pretty comfortable. A while back I put a taller stem and rise bars on it and that helped, but I think mainly my neck is just in better shape than it used to be, from all the muni riding.
I have been talking about muni only, because I think it is the only form of unicycling that involves enough upper body movement to actually be theraputic for me. I have been doing road rides on the 36" for the last couple of months and that does not aggrevate my neck, but I don’t think it actually helps it like muni does.

Dan, I am glad it worked out for you also.