Practices & Products for Painful Pedaling

I’ve been grousing about a body part that’s been plaguing me for a while. It was an issue in the past, but cropped up recently again toward the end of bicycling 500 days in a row (which I’ve pushed past — for now). Also, I’m no spring chicken anymore, although I often think I am. Most of the points I wanted to mention were already included in my post After the Fall: What to Do When You Come Off Your Bicycle, But that was November of 2019, so some updates are worth noting. Let’s dive right in. There’s water in the pool, so it’ll be painless, I promise!

Acupuncture. Sticking needles, even tiny thin ones, into a painful area seems contraindicated. Depending on the skill and sadism level of your practitioner, you shouldn’t have too much actual pain. But the ancient Chinese technology has been proven to work on numerous conditions. I’ve not accessed it recently due to, you know, but I’ve been a regular at a community clinic. The effects can range from subtle to strong, but once the needles are in and the endorphins kick in, the needles help chi (energy) get to the places it needs to heal.

Analgesic, Topical. I think it has a weird name, but don’t let it fool you, it doesn’t go up your butt. There are a number of varieties of this, from Ben-Gay, Tiger Balm, Icy Hot, and so on. The one I swear by is called Lasting Touch. With menthol, camphor, capsaicin (red pepper), MSM, chondroitin, glucosamine, arnica and more, it works well for me. Even if it’s the placebo effect, I don’t care. It beats prescription drugs with side effects. Be sure to wash your hands after applying.

Doctor. Go see one. Do what they say. I know somebody who refuses to go, for years, even though THEIR OWN PARENT IS A RETIRED DOCTOR! Well, this person believes they’re in excellent health, but they’re not. They’re always complaining about how something hurts, or if a spot is skin cancer, or that they’re overweight. Well, Western medical science isn’t perfect, but it’s come a long way and is especially good at diagnostic testing. So, this person is going to have a wake up call one day when they have something they’ve neglected show up years later. If you truly can’t afford to go, ask yourself, can you afford not to go? See if you can qualify for a community clinic or discount payment plan. Sometimes nurses or physician assistants are available for cheap. But go see one. Do what they say. They spent years in medical school so you didn’t have to. It’s a win-win.

Magnesium. There are three forms I have used: Epsom salts, Magnesium lotion and Magnesium supplements. They work to relax your muscles in different ways. With a bath, it’s absorbed through your skin and with the warm water can really help you unwind taut and injured areas. The lotion is topical and while I haven’t looked for studies proving it works, I have felt a difference and that’s good enough for me. Supplements are important because the molecules in Calcium and Magnesium are too large to fit very much into multivitamins. There are food sources, too, like legumes, nuts, seeds, and my favorite: dark chocolate.

Physical Therapy. There’s no substitute for a knowledgeable practitioner. They can address what imbalances or other issues you may have. Usually it’s through strengthening exercises you do at home with resistance bands, stretches or both. Sometimes there’s a little hands-on manual therapy. The type I like costs a bit and usually isn’t totally covered by insurance, but they get you out within three to four visits. It’s called Airrosti, which is an acronym for Applied Integration for the Rapid Recovery of Soft Tissue Injuries. It can be quite painful, but it worked for my issue before. It’s only available in five states, but as long as you get results, any good PT will do. Sticking with the home exercise plan is key.

Turmeric. The active ingredient of this pungent Indian root is curcumin. This smelly stuff has some serious firepower in terms of reducing inflammation in the body. Being the all-around bugaboo of disease causes, inflammation gets a bad rap, but it’s also the natural response of your body to an unwanted foreign invader. However, when your body’s response can’t handle it, the injury becomes an insult and that can become long-lasting. I got Maximum Strength Turmeric for Joints & Mobility from Garden of Life / MyKind Organics. I’m also trying a powdered version of turmeric from Gaia Herbs that is mixed with other herbs and spices to put into a warm milk. For a good article on its many benefits, check out this one from

That’s my list for now. What have you used to help you recover from painful pedaling or other activity?

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8 thoughts on “Practices & Products for Painful Pedaling

  1. Thank you for your list. Tiger balm or the equivalent helped me through many a ride. I would put it on my legs at night and wake up like new ready for the next 50 or 60 miles. Epsom salt soaks help more than one would think. I hope more people give the soaks a try. I’ve used acupuncture for many things and am always happy with it. I would like to add stretching. Stretching in the evenings is very important and helps in the long term. We often don’t do that enough. It can help stave off an injury.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks I’m glad you liked it. Of course it wasn’t comprehensive. I have a daily yoga practice and write about it often so kind of take it for granted. Of course you’re right that stretching is very helpful. If done mindfully with specific postures, even better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After I had open heart surgery many years ago, a friend asked me what it was like. He needed the procedure and was terrified of the pain and suffering. I told him that I kind of enjoyed the recovery. I told this story to my heart surgeon and he said, “of course you enjoyed it. You were taking 12 percocets a day.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. No side effects that I have seen. One develops tolerance to lidocaine rapidly, so it is recommended to use 12 hours on/12 hours off. Lidocaine roll on is handy for places where a patch may not stick well…and lidocaine is a nice option for body parts that might not appreciate the heating effect of Tiger Balm and similar products.

        Liked by 1 person

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