Please tell me if lower back pain is normal for a new rider...

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by babybunny, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. babybunny

    babybunny New Member

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    As most of you probably know, I'm new at this road biking thing. I went out on a nice 5 mile ride a few days ago and since then my lower back/waist has been killing me. Every time I bend down to pick up something I go "ahhhhhhh...." and literally have to put my hand on my back like an old man to brace it.

    Is this normal? Will my back eventually get used to the riding position? My riding position isn't that forward at all. My seat is as low as it can go because I have short legs.
     
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  2. Bob500

    Bob500 New Member

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    I started riding in my 40s. I was a long distance runned, but decided to take up biking as an alternate sport. I figured I was in pettery good shape @ 175 lbs. and 8-10% body fat. However, the first long rides my back also acted up. Just backbone muscle strain. Went away after a week or so and never returned. Also had problems at first with knees and pinched a nerve between sholder blades. That one really hurt for 6 weeks. But, eventrally everythins went away and began to love biking more than running.


    As a side note. Had to take six years off running and biking due to surgeries. I'm now able to ride again as everything is corrected. At 61 I decided to buy a Tour Easy recumbent long wheel base. Been riding it since July this year. Had some back problem first week but now gone.

    I usually try to determine what causes the problems, but mostly find that easing up on effort for awhile usually corrects the problems.

    BOB500
     
  3. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    To an extent, all kinds of minor pain are normal when starting cycling. Elbow, back, knee, bum, you name it. By increasing mileage gradually, and backing off when things start hurting, these eventually get better.

    That said, lower back issues are also often related to too low a stem, or an off fit (too long TT/stem), where your back muscles are trying to do too much work to support your torso. Babybunny, did you get professionaly fit to your bike?
     
  4. babybunny

    babybunny New Member

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    No, I didn't get professionally fit, but I went through the whole online fit calculator thing and went from there. My stem is already as low as it goes, but so is no saddle. I do have the saddle a bit far back though. I may try to move it forward a bit more but the odd thing is that once I get back on my bike the pain dissappears :)
     
  5. cuervo

    cuervo New Member

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    You must review your bike fitting, you can find several articles on the net, here is one:
    http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm
    If you'r at the bike limits, i.e. "My seat is as low as it can go ..." maybee the size of the bike it's not correct for your body geometry.
     
  6. cuervo

    cuervo New Member

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    Well, it seems you already done what I sugest. Well, keep trying!
     
  7. topcat

    topcat New Member

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    I remeber having the same problem when i switched from MTB to road bikes, afta a week or 2 it should go away hopefully.....
     
  8. donhix1

    donhix1 New Member

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    If your seat is as low as it can go, maybe your frame is too small. It would also depend on what kind of bike it is: mt bike, road bike,ect.
    Probably it is just your body adjusting to cycling and you will get used to it.
     
  9. RubberSideDown

    RubberSideDown New Member

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    I have to say that do not take that lightly. I was just laid up for a week and a half with back spasms and two herniated discs in my back. I don't think it had as much to do with biking than it did with 4 days of moving everything I own from to a new house. Although, I do recall having back pains when I rode.
    Now, when I saw an orthipedic back specialist, he recommended that I don't ride a bike because of the way the riding position is, hunched over. Of course I laughed in his face and said "No way are you keeping me from riding". Then my chiropractor sided with me. If there is a will there is a way. What he said was, to help with back pains, you must strenthen your back muscles and your "core" muscle group. And make sure you stretch well before and after you ride. As for now, I'm sidelined for the next three months (but hoping to sneak on a trainer next month) until I can get all better.

    Good luck and happy riding.
     
  10. RC2

    RC2 New Member

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    If you have a very good LBS with a FIT kit, or just a very very good LBS tech, it's worth the $50 they typcially charge. Moving your seat around may help a bit, but may throw other things awry (generally you want to keep your position over your BB/pedals optimal, and then mess with stem/etc to dial in your torso). Have you tried raising your stem so you are in a more upright position?

    Happy hoppin.
     
  11. ace sierra

    ace sierra New Member

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    It's perfectly normal to have "some" slight back pain, as the position on a road bike is more aggressive. I had pain in my lower back for the first few months I started riding road (I went from MTB to road), but slowly it went away as my body got used to the position and my lower back muscles strengthened. Climbing works the lower back quite a bit, so you may feel it more while doing that.

    But the degree of pain I felt was not as severe as you describe, nor was it after 5 miles. I'd be more stiff than sore, and that was only after a long climb or a long distance. Perhaps you need to go to your LBS and get fit properly. From what you describe, this sounds more like the problem you have. I'd start there, and see if it improves. But if you have a lot of pain, go see a doctor. None of us here are doctors, so you should see someone who is trained and can evaluate you in person.
     
  12. kayakado

    kayakado New Member

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    I bought a new bike and had severe lower back pain. I ditched their "comfort gel seat" and got one with more support and the back pain is gone. No more gel seats for me!
     
  13. donhix1

    donhix1 New Member

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    I never found gel to be comfortable. I agree that a hard seat is better.
     
  14. Bikerbill98

    Bikerbill98 New Member

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    There are two things to consider, you and the bike. The bike has to fit you and you have to be fit. Assuming the bike fits you, you're not fit enough to tolerate the stress of a five mile ride. Those of us that have had similar problems are currently riding becasue we solved the causes. If you don't have any physical problems, except for short legs ;) , I suggest you stretch and strenghten. Weight resistance training for starters. Free weights or your weight, it matters not. You son't have to stretch before a ride. Warm up by riding. Stretching before a strenght related activity is now thought to reduce power output, but that is another topic. If you have lower back pain when you're riding, take frequent breaks and stretch your lower back. I recommend keeping your feet flat on the ground while squatting (try to get your tail down as far as possibly) and bending forward at the waist with your arms in front of you (hold on to something). Try this and the pain will subside almost immediately. Also, don't push high gears, spin. This will reduce the stress on your back too.
     
  15. oldseed

    oldseed New Member

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    raise your stem so that it's at the same height as your saddle. if it already is, raise it some more.

    seed
     
  16. Bikerbill98

    Bikerbill98 New Member

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    With respect to the stem and saddle, there has been some discussion to raise the stem to beyond the saddle level. What are you riding?
     
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