Biking With Lower Back Pain
I have regular lower back pain . I just started biking to work – it’s just a couple of miles and pretty flat, but having my back arched still doesn’t feel very good.
What biking position should I try for? Any particular adjustments to my bike I should consider?
- Since you just started biking, I would give it a month before making any big decisions, the back pain may go away with regular bike exercise. Bike frame seat post geometry can play a big part in back pain also.
I am familiar with this problem and the efforts people go to in order to reduce back pain on the bike.
Far too frequently people go for expensive stems and bars that climb skywards. Next thing they come back wanting to try something else. The problem being that their hands are no longer taking any of their upper body weight, every bump agitates their spine.
It is possible to get an upright position where the weight balance is good, ‘Dutch bikes’ seem to manage it, retro-fitting a road bike or MTB is very tricky to get right. Have a look at other cyclists on the road and their posture, get your own idea of how to sit. Bars at seat height and close, i.e. short top tube and relaxed geometry, might be worth a try. This will not be optimum on big hills as you cannot do a lot out of the saddle, but for most roads this should be nice and comfy. Consider getting some old steel bike second hand that has this geometry style. Then you can adapt your proper bike if you like the ‘old fashioned’ setup.
How To Choose An Indoor Bike With Arthritis
Upright stationary bicycles are similar to traditional outdoor bikes. They have handles, pedals and a small bicycle seat, all set on a stationary platform. On an upright bike, you work the same muscles as you would in an outdoor ride, which is more of a whole-body exercise. Some stationary bicycles may have lower handles, which require the rider to lean forward. This may be uncomfortable for people with neck, back, or upper extremity arthritis, says Shroyer. A stationary bike with higher handles allows you to sit more upright.
Recumbent stationary bikes have a larger, chair-like seat. These bikes are easier on your lower back and hips because you sit back into the frame, in a more comfortable, reclined position. Recumbent bikes are often easier to get on and off because theyre lower to the ground, explains Shroyer, but may require far more range of motion at the hip than upright bikes.
The best way to find the right bike for you: Spend time on each bike at your gym to see which feels best for you, says Shroyer. Ask a personal trainer for help setting the seat in the proper position.
Use Proper Body Position
What is your posture like when cycling? Are you leaning too far forward, placing more strain on your lower back? If so, using proper form can help alleviate pain issues.
The best riding position involves relaxing your shoulders and bending your elbows, but not bending your wrists. Your low back should also be relaxed but straight. When pedaling, your knees should be pointing forward, not out to the sides.
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Lower Back Pain Cycling One Side What Are The Causes
Often you hear about cyclists experiencing lower back pain on one side. This is the second most common injury behind knee pain while cycling. So, it is not uncommon to see a lot of cyclists dealing with pain on one side.
So what causes this?
Pain on one side of the back while riding is often caused by incorrect saddle height. If the saddle forces the rider to over-extend their leg during the downstroke, the hip connected to the shorter leg will drop. While this may only be a few centimeters, it will be happening thousands of times during a ride, forcing the opposite side of the back to work harder to stabilize the pelvis.
Other cases that might put excess pressure on one side are incorrect saddle width and too much handlebar drop.
Either way, it is important to talk with a qualified bike fitter in your area that can help diagnose the cause of your back issues.
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Bike Riding Is A Great Form Of Exercise For People With Arthritis Heres Why And How To Cycle Safely
Nope, exercise is not going to make your joints feel worse. And yes, you can still ride a bike with arthritis.
In fact, you should: Cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise, says Lauren Shroyer, MS, senior director of product development at the American Council on Exercise. Cycling can strengthen your heart and lungs, as well as improve muscle function.
And studies show cycling may help reduce arthritis symptoms: A study published in the Journal of Rheumatology found both cycling exercise training and swimming significantly reduced joint pain, stiffness, and physical limitations, and enhanced quality of life in middle-aged and older adults with osteoarthritis . Another small study found patients with rheumatoid arthritis who exercised on stationary bikes regularly improved their aerobic fitness and blood pressure and reported fewer tender joints.
Another bonus for people with arthritis: Regular aerobic exercise can boost your mood and help you sleep better.
Choosing The Right Bike
Obviously, the wrong size bike can lead to backaches and other health problems, but many people choose their bike based on the recommended price and neglect the importance of ergonomics and size of the bike.
- Ideally, a bike should be tailored to your body size, but this service will cost you a penny. It is more advantageous to buy a bicycle in a specialized store and ask a seller to find you a bicycle of a suitable size.
Choosing a bike that is too large can cause back pain, as you will have to lean heavily to reach the handlebar.
- When you have chosen a bike class and frame size, ask for a long test drive to see how your back will respond to this ride.
People with lumbar problems should think about buying a recumbent bike.
- Make sure the saddle is at an appropriate height. Although it is important to choose the right frame height so that you can descend safely. The height of a saddle is determined by the length of your legs, and the saddle itself should be positioned in such a way that when you move the pedal downwards , your knee is slightly bent.
Ideally, your knees should be bent at an angle of 15-20 degrees.
Beginners and those who don’t ride a bike often should keep a handlebar at the same height as a saddle.
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Work On Your Core Strength
If your core muscles arent strong, you may have impaired motor control or poor cycling movement patterns, which can place excess strain on your back. To help prevent lumbar pain, make sure your workouts include exercises that promote stability and core strength ask a sports medicine specialist for recommendations.
Padded Seat And Backrest
After getting an exercise bike with a wide seat and backrest, ensure that they are also adequately padded. This will ensure that your butts and back region do not hurt during a workout session. Foam padding is a good one to consider while checking for the best stationary exercise bike for a bad back.
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Semi Recumbent And Upright Models
If the recumbent bike is not for you, then there are other new bike models nowadays that sit you higher but still decreases the pressure to your back. Some of them are semirecumbent while some are upright. Theyre not as comfortable as recumbent bikes, but theyre much more back-friendly than other normal, upright sitting bicycles.
These new bikes have features like seat shock absorption, lower seats, and higher handlebars. Check out the Diamond Wildwood, the Fito Marina 3-Speed Beach Cruiser, and the Schwinn Suburban.
How To Reduce Lower Back Pain From Cycling
Back pain can ruin your enjoyment of cycling, but it doesnt have to be that way. Here are some things to know about your body, and how to set up your bike properly to prevent back issues.
Back pain can be one of those things that just ruin your enjoyment of anything. It seems that once a person has experienced back pain, it can frequently recur and a number of responses can be adopted such as:
- Withdrawal from activity
- Putting up with additional suffering
- Doing something about it
A paper published in 2004 reported that over 70% of the population are likely to experience back pain at some time in their life. Although exercise is recommended as a preventative measure, I do find as a coach that some people experience back pain while cycling.
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Lower Back Pain Cycling Stretches
In order to prevent lower back pain when cycling, its important to have a flexible spine and hips. The glute and core muscles supporting your back must also be strong enough to do their job well.
Its best to regularly perform some supplementary stretches and strengthening exercises that will keep your body limber and strong to prevent lower back pain when cycling.
Here are a few stretches to start a routine with:
Improves Balance Posture And Coordination
As you stabilize your body and keep your bike upright, youll improve your overall balance, coordination, and posture. Balance tends to decline with age and inactivity, so its vital to keep on top of it.
Improved balance is beneficial in the prevention of falls and fractures, which can leave you on the sidelines while you take time off from exercise to recover.
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Pain Point: Lower Back
The lumbar spine, or lower back, is another frequent source of exercise-bike-related pain. The problem can also be caused by the positioning of your seattypically too high.
One way to know if this is the case is if your hips drop to either side as you pedal. “When you push down with your right leg and your right hip goes with it, and the same thing happens on the left, that can mean that you have to overreach and your knees aren’t bending enough,” says Karp. “That shifting of the pelvis is then also happening in the lumbar spine, which creates stress there.”
If your seat is at the right height, the culprit could be a lack of core strength, especially if you do a lot of sprinting. “Most people don’t have the strength or core stability to go above 120 RPMs,” says Karp. “You’ll get the sensation that you’re bouncing on the saddle, which means your lumbar spine isn’t supported. I recommend staying below that number.”
It’s important to maintain a neutral spine, even later in the workout, as you get tired.
Is Riding A Bike Good For Your Back Pain
In Blog by RafaelJuly 23, 2018
Cycling offers a lot of benefits for your health and for your body. Among those benefits, we can mention that it promotes weight loss, it improves mental health, it helps build muscle, it improves lung and heart health, among many others. But theres a question in the minds of people who suffer from back pain often: Is Riding A Bike Good For Your Back Pain?
Is riding a bike good for a back pain and can help relieve a pain? The answer is: yes, it can, but you have to make sure that youre riding correctly and safely because it can also cause pain.
It might sound contradictory, but it isnt. Keep reading as we explore the benefits of cycling to relieve back pain and we learn how to avoid lower bike pain while riding!
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A Perfect Balance: Touring Bikes
Touring bikes offer a slightly slanted riding position. These bikes are built to keep you comfortable over long distances and that includes the riding position. If youre looking to prevent back pain, a touring bike is an ideal choice. This is also true if you are not exactly a performance athlete.
However, it is important to get your saddle and handlebars positioned just right. Well show you how to find the perfect position on your Canyon bike!
Assess Your Bike And Frame Fit
Are you riding the right bicycle?
Unless youre into road racing, consider getting a mountain bike for shock absorption and a more upright posture when cycling. In addition, if your bike frame isnt a good fit, riding can stress and create pain in your lower back muscles.
Visit a local bicycle shop for professional advice on choosing a bike. Ask the shop to make sure that your seat tube, top tube and head tube lengths suit your body dimensions.
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Can Cycling Help With Lower Back Pain
Unlike other strenuous exercises like running or jumping, cycling is less jarring to the spinal column. This low-impact sport is perfect for people who are recovering from injury, prone to injury or for the elderly.
As long as you maintain proper posture and have a good fitting bike, then cycling can only strengthen your muscles.
Exercises That Help Back Pain
Pettit suggests, Work on the muscles that cycling creates an imbalance with. You get strong quadriceps muscles so you are pulling forwards against the spine, and if you strengthen up the hamstrings and back muscles, the compression should become less.
Also, with cycling everything is in a straight line forwards, so the muscles that operate your side-to-side function are getting dominated by the muscles that go forward and back, so you need to be doing exercises to work the lateral structures things like side planks, glute bridges and clams.
Rabin confirms that I should base my regime around planks and bridges, as well as squats and single-sided exercises to help iron out muscular imbalances. I like exercises that are closed-chain, by which I mean that your foot is on the floor, he says. Thats how your brain moves weight around and how your nervous system is set up. You want to be able to move your own bodyweight or hold it in a certain position.
Burt warns me not to over-complicate matters by taking on more than I can reasonably manage as part of a busy day: When Bradley Wiggins went to T-Mobile he was given a DVD with 27 exercises for him to do.
He said, I did them all yesterday, but I had no time to ride my bike. What I would do is give you three exercises, then three more if youve got the time, and three more if youve still got time. If youve got all day, do all nine, but make sure you do the main three every single day.
Cyclist’s quick back workout:
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Can I Cycle With Lower Back Pain What Should You Know
Depending on the severity of the pain and the injury, you will have to decide whether you can cycle with lower back pain or not.
If you are experiencing pain in the lower spine, it is recommended to stay away from cycling and speak with your doctor first. Alternatively, if you are experiencing muscular pain in the lower back, cycling can usually be performed with minimal discomfort.
Of course, before asking yourself if you should cycle with lower back pain, make a trip to see your physician. They will then conduct a physical examination to accurately diagnose the cause of the pain.
Sometimes x-rays, MRI Scans, and other methods are needed to distinguish the underlying cause of pain.
Watch Low Back Pain Exercise Videos On Spineuniverse
With the help of a physical therapist, SpineUniverse created a video series of exercises and stretches you can do every day to help keep a healthy back .
- Watch our back pain exercise videosbut please remember that before starting any exercise program, you should check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe and right for you.
With the help of your doctor, physical therapist, and health club staff, you can achieve proper physical fitness and reduce or prevent lower back pain.
SpineUniverse Editorial Board CommentaryIn this article, Dr. Kolettis nicely summaries the important issues involved in the question: Can Exercises Control Back Pain? This question has been studied in various scientific articles, often with mixed results. It can sometimes be quite difficult to scientifically “prove” that one form of exercise will fully treat a variety of low back problems. The scientific evidence, biomechanical principles, and sometimes common sense can be helpful to both the clinician and the patient.
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How Biking Can Cause Back Pain Or Neck Pain
- Little conditioning is provided to the back muscles by bicycling
- Back posture on the bicycle can strain the lower back, a result of the lumbar spine flexing or pulling up)
- Position on the bicycle, with the neck arching back, can strain the neck and upper back, especially when the bicycle is equipped with aerodynamic bars
- Rough terrain increases jarring and compression to the spine, which can lead to back pain