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how do i alleviate back pain on long rides?(9 posts)

how do i alleviate back pain on long rides?md2b
Jul 25, 2001 3:36 PM
I ride on mostly flat roads, but almost invariably at around 10 miles, my low back starts aching. it's not a sharp pain--it just feels sore--like lactate build up. anyway, i'm a heavier rider (not fat rider) with a pretty big upper body (i can bench 275lbs). my geometry is good, and i do back excercises. i can ride through the pain if i stretch it out periodically during the ride. any suggestions on what to do? thanks,

same hereGTrider215
Jul 25, 2001 4:34 PM
man thats what happens to me and its annoying! ill be riding and all of a sudden my lower back like cramps and i get like really bad pain, like i dont even worried about how tired or how much my legs hurt im thinking about how much pain my lower back is in, when i stretch throughout the ride it goes away for a few minuets but will come back. Have u tried like massive stretching before the ride? I thought that would work for me but it really didnt. How long have u been riding for? I've only been riding for about 7 motnsh and im thinking maybe i dont have the lower back muscles or im still getting used to it. Im only 15 and im really small but I dunno but it can be a pain.
re: how do i alleviate back pain on long rides?Lone Gunman
Jul 25, 2001 4:54 PM
Several suggestions. Prior to riding, rub a sport creme that has 3.5% or better menthol (active ingrediant) into the lower back region. The problem may also be that your hams and gluts are tight. If mine are tight, my lower back stiffens up as soon as I begin climbing and that in turn effects my breathing. Also might try raising the stem a bit to take some of the pressure off. By all means, experiment, the problem isn't getting any better by itself.
Raise your barsHighgear
Jul 25, 2001 5:45 PM
I used to ride with my bars 2 1/2" below my saddle. My bars are now almost 4" below for a more aero position. Each time I lowerded them my back would have to adjust and I would get a stiff tired feeling in the lower part. I bet if you raise the bars 1" you will notice a change. You might need to swap out your old stem for one thats angled up more if you go past the max line when you raise it. Let us know how you make out.
thanks for the replies...md2b
Jul 25, 2001 7:09 PM
i think i'll first try raising my stem. i doubt it's conditioning 'cuz i've been riding with the same setup for over a year now. i did however get some new brakes that required some tweaking of the height of my threadless stem. i'll let ya'll know what happens. thanks,

re: how do i alleviate back pain on long rides?DrD
Jul 26, 2001 3:00 AM
Make sure you are bending at the hips/waist, and aren't arching your lower back too much - I find that as I get tired, I start to arch my back a bit, and then can get some lower back pain (a dull, annoying pain - not a sharp one) - once I realize what's going on and I correct my form, the pain subsides.
re: how do i alleviate back pain on long rides?nc
Jul 26, 2001 5:07 AM
All cycling related lower back pain is caused by the continuous
unavoidable strain which the normal pedaling style puts on the
lower back. If one has any imperfection in the back, the strain
can aggravate it and cumulative pain will soon begin. Just as
there is a correct way to lift an object off the ground without
straining the lower back, there is also a correct way to pedal
and this transfers all necessary strain to the hips where it can
be safely absorbed, leaving the same imperfect lower back feeling
relaxed and completely pain free. That pedaling technique is the
same as that used by the world's greatest ever time triallist
Jacques Anquetil and its free, unlike a lot of other treatment
and risky surgery.
here's how, and don't laughET
Jul 26, 2001 6:40 AM
Power yoga.

Power as opposed to the more meditational and wimpy version (although you need good mediation and breathing to hold the poses for any extended period of time). I was skeptical at first too, but felt I had nothing to lose to give it a shot. I started doing this (at first with an instructor, which I'd view as almost mandatory initially for the fine nuances as to how to ease into various poses) about 4 months ago for a bulging L4-L5 disc causing sciatica (note: to be fair, this was not cycling-induced as with some here, and riding does not cause me pain and in fact the stretched back probably helps; I believe I got it from having severe walking problems post-foot surgery). I had severe butt and hamstring discomfort sitting for any period of time in a cushioned chair.

I do various yoga poses at least once a day. Many, if not most of them, strengthen the back so very much that you just won't believe it. It will make you feel loose everywhere and improve your posture and flexibility. After three months it brought my sciatica down to much more tolerable levels (not sure if it can cure--neurosurgeon says no, but we'll see), and my back is stronger. I recommend you buy the classic book "Light on Yoga" by Iyengar, which has just about all the poses in there. Warning: most are way too hard, you just won't believe them. This is a lifetime progression type of thing, yet another thing to strive constantly to improve on. You'll be kicking yourself for not having started years ago. In addition to numerous poses for the back and some for the feet, I am almost at the point where I can do a freestanding headstand (I recently managed to do it against a wall; I even do that at work and get loads of humorous comments from the co-workers); you can just feel it stengthening your lower back. Although still nowhere close, I work on doing a (ballet) split every day, even if it will take years or never (it is supposed to be great for sciatica). (BTW, when someone says they are 2 inches away from doing a split, are they measuring from their inseam the Colorado Cyclist way? :-))

This stuff really does do something. And it is relaxing and peaceful in its way. I'd bet anything that after a few months of power yoga, that 10-mile back pain will be gone for good. So give it a try.
Jul 26, 2001 11:27 AM
Before hoisting your bars to old ladyville, double check your seat height. A seat that is slightly too high will cause you to rock your pelvis as you reach the bottom of the pedal stroke on each side. This will create first fatigue, then tightness, and finally pain, in your lower back.

In fact, if you haven't coughed up the dough for a professional fit, do it!

PS -- work on hamstring flexibility, too.