Lower Back Pain

Discussion in 'Health Nutrition and Supplements' started by toseley, Aug 26, 2003.

  1. toseley

    toseley New Member

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    I've been getting really bad lower-back pain after a about 4 hours of riding. It seemed to get worse after I recently raised my seat but didn't also raise the headset. I've been riding for a number of years but have only recently gone on longer rides with significant amounts of climbing this year. Is the back pain just something that will eventually go away? Any recommendations about bike setup or other ways of dealing with it?

    Thanks.
     
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  2. justcook

    justcook New Member

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    Sounds like a combination of factors. If you're just starting to go for longer rides, then yes, eventually you should get used to the back strain and presumably your back muscles will get stronger. You might try doing some exercises specifically to work your lower back and build some strength. I used to have a lot more issues with back pain on the bike before I started hitting the gym and strengthening my "core," aka torso. Now I don't have much problem.

    But raising your seat height and not the handle bars sounds like a mistake as well. What prompted you to do that? It sounds like one of those jokes, "Doctor, it hurts when I do this... then don't do that" jokes. Why not just move your seatpost back down and make sure you get rest between rides so your back has time to recuperate? You're probably bent down too much to reach the bars. And that's not a good idea for long-distance riding. Rushing into any new regimen can be a mistake if you don't give your body time to adapt, so don't forget to rest or take some easy days in between those long rides.

    I'd say it also depends on your age. If you're 21, then you'll get over it soon. If you're over 30, you might want to take my advice and hit the gym to strengthen your lower back. Strengthening your shoulders and triceps wouldn't hurt either, so your back doesn't have to do so much work to you up.
     
  3. Benny bum drops

    Benny bum drops New Member

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    one of the most common problems causing lower back pain in cyclists is inadquate hamstring flexibility. The pelvis is caused to either remain overly upright, increasing back curvature, or the pelvis is forced to rock knackering the lumbar muscles etc.

    Personnally I've had an overly stiff lower back for years, and struggle to get a properly low position (I'm a track teampursuiter, 20k racer and kilo rider). My lumber always goes on the right side, i think we've now traced the cause to my left instep having dropped, making everything rock sideways under load. It actually hurt most after 4 hours of riding, or major gym sessions.

    Gym and core stability work help massively almost whatever the cause, I'm starting a pilates class next week to see if it helps me do more core stability.

    Regards,
    ben
     
  4. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Some good advice here. I'm working through some lower back pain now, after straining it about 2 weeks ago. Not sure if I did it strictly on the bike, but riding certainly doesn't help a sore back. Several times in the past, I've hurt my back just by pushing the big ring too early in the season. This time, believe it was just riding every day, plus working on house/car that caused overload.

    Rest and stretching seem to work best (at least for this 55 yr old). I'm still going on pain free daily rides, but short 12 miles, and easy pace stuff...no big ring. I raised my stem to make things a bit more comfortable. Now have a seat-to-stem drop of about 3.5", instead of 4.5".

    Agree with the strengthening of core muscles...that and stretching should help in the long run.

    Dan
     
  5. THE RECTOR

    THE RECTOR New Member

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    Get those Hamstrings moving freely......it is the cause of my back pain.
    I have had a bad back for 12 years now.
    Having free moving hamstrings will let vthe Pelvis be more flexible.
    Also look at your position on the bike....it may be wise to change so that there is less strain on your back....you can then go back to the proper position slowly over the off season.
     
  6. DanBB

    DanBB New Member

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    hey you people are so knowledgable. I have quite a bad back, its actually hurting quite badly today after a 4 hour ride yesterday but i didnt realise until reading the above posts that hamstring flexibility made such a difference. You see my hamstrings are really really tight and at 21 i can't touch my toes at all. What i need to know is could i just have super tight hamstrings resulting naturally from bad posture and not stretching in my teens and could this be a permanent thing, or can they always be made loose no matter how tight they are to begin with? When im on the bike my pelvis hardly rotates at all making my lower back hunch a lot. This really affects my cycling and hinders my performance, maybe even to the stage that i no longer want to continue it as a hobby. Plz help me!! im a keen cyclist on the brink of quitting.
     
  7. Donna T

    Donna T New Member

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    Stretch, stretch stretch. You can always increase flexibility with repeated sustained stretching. There are many techniques out there, but a 30 second hold of the stretch is commonly recommended. Don't bounce. Don't push it. Be patient and persistent, the flexibility will come.
     
  8. Benny bum drops

    Benny bum drops New Member

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    different bodies have different natural levels of suppleness in the muscles and ligaments, some of us have to work much harder to be supple and some it comes naturally. Most of us were supple as tiny tots, but 'use it or lose it' and most of us lost it. I went long distance time trialing in my late teens and, combined with the cold british winters, that's hampered my suppleness ever since.

    doing short (e.g. <10 mile) very easy spinning (42x17 or less) recovery rides on 'rest' days, can help, as can stretching. Hard stretching before or after hard training is inadvisable as it adds to the muscle damage from the training (more soreness), it's better as a separate session on a 'rest day' but you still need to warm the muscles properly first. Cold weather makes acheiving or maintaining suppleness much harder; I envy you jammie sods living in warmer climes (it's raining now, even)
     
  9. Sidi

    Sidi New Member

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    How about doing some stretches?
     
  10. toseley

    toseley New Member

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    Hey I can't gotta thank you all for all your helpful advice (I'm the guy who originall posted this thread) After adjusting my headset height and doing the stretches that people recommended I'm back up to 4-5 hours on the bike, including plenty of climbing, with minimal back pain. Amen!

    If anyone else has similar difficulties I highly recommend the stretches on this site:

    http://www.1backpain.com/back_exercises.htm
     
  11. Benny bum drops

    Benny bum drops New Member

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    i mentionned above i was started pilates classes to try and free things up, in only 7 weeks so far the change has been massive. Basically the bottom 3 joints of my back have unlocked and the lumber muscles has started to work normally (instead of being conctricted). I'd recommend it to anyone, subscribing to a class helped because you dedicate a proper hour to it once a week, its too easy to train well on the legs but forget about the core stability and stretching, and its winter anyway so its something new. Started working with my gym ball now too.
     
  12. Benny bum drops

    Benny bum drops New Member

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    PS Good link above: the back exercises on the link are typical pilates movements. It's really just back rehab exercises with a little care taken about the breathing too
     
  13. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    I've been stretching the hamstrings daily for years, and can easily touch the floor. But as a result of the pain I had last month, have added two more stretches which are working well to the daily regimend. First, early morning, I sitdown and place my shoulders on my knees, or between my knees. Was surprised how tight I was last month after skipping this easy one for years. Also do the old knee-to-chest, plus adding a twist (ie, pull knee across to opposite shoulder). That seems to really hit a muscle on the outside of the hips which was very tight for me. Don't know the name, but it's the same one that comes into play when I'm down in the drops and mashing in the big ring.

    I'm getting to the point where I can hammer painfree in the drops a bit, and it feels good ("hammer" being a relative term).

    Dan
     
  14. toseley

    toseley New Member

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    Dan-

    Thanks for the tip - sounds like some good stretches. Is the "old knee-to-chest" done also from a sitting position or is it done lying on your back?


    I've been stretching the hamstrings daily for years, and can easily touch the floor. But as a result of the pain I had last month, have added two more stretches which are working well to the daily regimend. First, early morning, I sitdown and place my shoulders on my knees, or between my knees. Was surprised how tight I was last month after skipping this easy one for years. Also do the old knee-to-chest, plus adding a twist (ie, pull knee across to opposite shoulder). That seems to really hit a muscle on the outside of the hips which was very tight for me. Don't know the name, but it's the same one that comes into play when I'm down in the drops and mashing in the big ring.

    I'm getting to the point where I can hammer painfree in the drops a bit, and it feels good ("hammer" being a relative term).

    Dan
     
  15. dhk

    dhk New Member

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    Sorry I haven't replied sooner. Either way works fine, but I like doing them seated. I keep the other foot on the floor, lift a knee, cradle it in my opposite arm, and just pull in and hold the knee to my chest for a full minute. As I said, this one seems very effective in stretching tight muscles on the outside of the hips. To ride pain-free is definately worth a few minutes a day stretching.

    Dan
     
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