lower back pain stopping me ride



adrian knight

New Member
Jul 3, 2007
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Folks

Any one got the same problem as me ?

Had a lower back injury yrs ago that over time now stops me riding a bike. The odd thing is, I can actually ride without pain but a few hrs later (and lasting for days) I cannot sit down for very long with out immense discomfort. I have slight scoliosis due to yrs of injury distorting my skeleton and am slightly twisted. Could this be the problem ? I have been told by consultant that the lower back pain is osteoarthritis and was sent on my way. Need to fix this. Have tried all sorts, any one got a similar problem they managed to fix ?

Anyone tried an ISM saddle, did this help ?
 

limerickman

Well-Known Member
Jan 5, 2004
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So you experience no pain when you're riding?
And you only experience pain afterward?

If your bike setup was incorrect, I would think that you'd experience back pain while riding.

The fact that your back pain only starts after you have ceased riding sounds more like a posture problem.
 

danfoz

Well-Known Member
Apr 12, 2011
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Is your pain chronic (and achy), as opposed to acute (with the associated lower back "spasms")? It sounds ongoing.

Cycling is a very glute and hamstring focused activity (especially if you sit well behind the bottom bracket), along with the other associated muscles of course. Excessive tightening of the muscles in these groups can contribute to issues in both of the above categories. As far as the lower back, tight quadratus lumborum can contribute to chronic pain. Massage and/or stretching may help - proper massage from a licensed pro, prefferably with some background in medical and sports massage. The spinal erectors and piriformis are often associated with acute spasms. The back is a complex beast and many folks can experience different probs of all sorts, related to all different sorts of issues. The scoliosis may be a contributing factor.

If I haven't been riding steadily and go out and do a tough ride (not recommended), after the ride if I'm not good about stretching or reducing inflamation with some ice afterward, the likelyhood of experiencing a debilitating back spasm is increased - even if it felt fine during the ride. As far as my own musculature, the hams and piriformis are the culprits. Some of this is exacerbated by my aggressive positioning. Simply adding a 5mm spacer under the headset stack until I get into better shape helps some. The more bent over, the greater the engagement of many muscles in the gluteal area (especially maximus).

Once I got good about regular stretching, keeping my core reasonably strong w'planks and crunches, easing into workout blocks, and less concerned about "looking pro" with a slammed stem, my incidence of back spasm decreased greatly.

It's hard to tell from your post exactly what the issue is. Professionals can help and you should probably consult one, but I'd recommend one with an athletic background, or a specialist if possible. Some medical "professionals" can offer limited help when it comes to looking at a perfect storm of problems, especially related to athletic issues. Very often a wide approach is needed to continue in ones athletic hobby of choice. In my own experience I have come across some well meaning doctors who were not able to help. A few could offer no more advice than Advil. Many years ago one even suggested I give up riding.

Good luck.
 

jpwkeeper

Member
Jul 25, 2004
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Originally Posted by adrian knight .

Folks

Any one got the same problem as me ?

Had a lower back injury yrs ago that over time now stops me riding a bike. The odd thing is, I can actually ride without pain but a few hrs later (and lasting for days) I cannot sit down for very long with out immense discomfort. I have slight scoliosis due to yrs of injury distorting my skeleton and am slightly twisted. Could this be the problem ? I have been told by consultant that the lower back pain is osteoarthritis and was sent on my way. Need to fix this. Have tried all sorts, any one got a similar problem they managed to fix ?

Anyone tried an ISM saddle, did this help ?
I'm a chronic lower-back fellow myself, and your symptoms are nearly identical to mine. My spine isn't twisted, it's straight at the bottom (called a Military Spine, it doesn't curve inwards towards my belly button like it should). When I started riding last August, I very quickly had a major issue with my lower back that took 3 weeks to work through.

Since the spine doesn't have feedback nerves, you're likely irritating a disk, which then presses on a nerve until the swelling goes down. It requires you to move in order to get circulation to the area and help it heal, when all you want to do is find a comfortable place to lay down.

Basically the way I overcame it was as follows:

1. I forced myself to up my cadence. When I rode at 70-80, I ended up legging it up hills too much. Grinding the pedals started engaging my lower back muscles and irritating my spine. Now I ride at 90-95, and if I can't easily keep that up I down-shift, speed be damned. Generally my policy is, if my legs hurt I'm doing it wrong. This was not easy; I'm a big tall dude and grinding those pedals comes naturally.

2. After my back issue I rode for a while with a no-pain/no open mouth (i.e. no panting) policy in order to slowly build support muscles. I still try to shy away from leg pain, but I don't have to be as ardent now unless I've had a flare-up and am recovering (like I am now).

3. Regular trips to the Chiropractor are a must. It's pretty predictable; when I go every 6 weeks or so I'm OK, when I skip a visit or two things go south. Regular adjustments keeps the pressure off the disk and prevents it from bulging, which keeps it from pinching the nerves and causing the chain reaction that leads to the pain (and in my case, left leg pain). I don't know if you get cracked or not, but if you don't, don't be afraid of it. When my back is so torqued I can't take 3 steps without the muscles locking up and sending lightning bolts of pain through me, my Chiro still never hurts me when he gives me and adjustment. It may be the only type of medical care that doesn't hurt you to help you.

4. If you do have to leg it up a hill, tighten your abs while doing so. Stay in the saddle; for some reason getting out of the saddle is a guarantee for lower back pain later that day for me.

5. Double-check your bike fit. For me, if my quads hurt, my seat has slipped too low and this seems to irritate my back. If my seat is high enough I feel it more in my hamstrings.

6. Shortly after your ride, but before you expect to experience the pain, take a short, brisk walk to get circulation to your lower back. Remember, spines don't have their own built-in circulation, they circulate fluids when you move, and that's essential to healing.

7. Try not to ride with your shoulders in your ears. Maybe that's just me, but I catch myself with my shoulders way up and have to force myself to relax them back down.

That's all I can think of right now. I have found that biking very easily (So if 15Mph for 10 miles is all out, easy would be 8 miles at 12-12.5Mph) actually improves my back over time when I'm having trouble, but only once it's started healing on it's own.
 

adrian knight

New Member
Jul 3, 2007
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thanks for all the advice. I think I will try the slow and steady appraoch and see how this helps. Because I can only do short rides (to minimise the flare up) I tend to thrash it a bit. I don't expect 40 mins easy will be any better than 40 mins hard and I find the less in the saddle I am the less of a problem I will have later...but will give it a go. I am thinking dehydrated intervetebral disc (which has been diagnosed in the past) is part of the problem.
 

HatTrickhero11

New Member
Jul 22, 2012
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I know this is a week old, but I may have some advice. While my back wasn't hurting from cycling, it was hurting a day after I helped my dad. It was my lower back. I asked my physical therapist about what is going on, and he mentioned that it is "Delayed onset muscle soreness" You might want to check that out, and see if it fits what your describing. Best of luck