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Lower Back Pain..what can I do to help it?(7 posts)

Lower Back Pain..what can I do to help it?rayclark
May 18, 2003 6:38 PM
After riding about 17 miles I start getting alot of discomfort in my lower back. By the end of my ride my neck also has some discomfort.

Could this be caused by my stem angle or length? If so, would I need to go longer or shorter? Maybe seat height or position? Any suggestion would be greatly appreciated.

re: Lower Back Pain..what can I do to help it?DINOSAUR
May 18, 2003 9:49 PM
It could be a bunch of stuff or just one little thing. I recently had a bout of lower back pain. I do a fair amount of climbing and sometimes scoot back in my saddle when I am climbing long hills. By scooting back I am actually raising my saddle, combined with using my hams while climbing, which (I think) did havoc on my lower back. I just pushed my saddle forward a tad (maybe 3mm) and in effect lowered it. My back pain went away immediately. I also must admit that I am always messing with the set-up of my bike and trying something different, which is not good.

I also started doing lower back and ab exercises (I use one of those little wheel things you use my getting down on your knees and extending your arms) and that helped also.

Cycling is not a complete body exercise and after a period of time it will lead to muscle imbalance. You need to stretch or do some upper body strength exercises (such as free weights or good old fashioned push ups).

I also leveled out my saddle, I like to ride with it tilted back just a tad, but that bothered my lower back also.

Of course, it could be something else, such as bad fit (went through that also).
What Dino said-filtersweep
May 19, 2003 3:54 AM
I had some back pain early this year that drove me nuts... it turned out I forgot I had removed my seat and seatpost last fall cleaning my bike, and didn't have it dialed back in exactly AND I switched pedal/cleats to a type that didn't require adaptor plates: in essense I had raised my seat slightly and was doing some hip rocking- not enough to cause pain on the flats, but climbing while seated caused the pain...

As for the neck? I'd recommend being relaxed enough that you can ride without locking elbows... seems if you can keep your elbows bent, you can keep everything else relaxed enough for comfort.
re: Lower Back Pain..what can I do to help it?rayclark
May 19, 2003 4:43 AM
Thank you for all the replies. I will play around with the seat adjustment. It very well may be that, because I did just get some new shoes and went to the Speedplay pedals so my adjustment could be off a little. It does seem that the discomfort got a little worse after getting the new shoes and pedals. Also the suggestion for the addtional exercise seems like a very good thing to do. Will start stretching and doing some crunches. Hopefully that'll eliminate the discomfort. Thanks.

re: Lower Back Pain..what can I do to help it?steve-z
May 19, 2003 6:47 AM
A note on switching to speedplay pedals. I just switched from Looks to X3's and the stack height is considerably shorter with the Speedplays. This resulted in some lower back pain for me. Lowering my saddle by a cm did the trick. I don't know what pedal system you are switching from, but you will most likely need to make a similar adjustment.
One more thingLLSmith
May 19, 2003 2:58 AM
In adition to everything Dino said you might try some hamstring flexibility exercises.The longer you stay on the bike the more your hamstrings will pull against your lower back muscles.I have been stretching my hamstrings every morning for 6 - 8 months.When I started I could not even touch my toes. It's taken some time, but I can do it pretty easy now. When being fit for my new bike the first thing they checked was my flexibility.I used to get off the bike for a couple minutes at around 20-25 miles. As soon as I got off the pain went away. Within 10 miles I would have to get off again.
re: Lower Back Pain..what can I do to help it?orange_julius
May 20, 2003 1:04 PM
When I come back to riding after some idle period, I get
back pains going into the 20 mile mark. Getting off the
bike helps, but somehow the pain goes away after the 30
mile mark. It's kind of funny if you're riding with other
people -- you ride painfully for some time, and then
suddenly you can ride faster than before because the pain
has gone away.

I attribute this to two things:
- Uncomfortable posture from not being used on to riding.
- Insufficient stretching before the start of the ride.
Cycling is strange because it seems to make certain muscles
do most of the work while the others have to hold their
position. Stretching prior (and during) the ride helps
significantly in my case. The pain goes away after some
time since the muscles are finally more relaxed and you get
used to the riding position again.

Additionally, I've found that a less than ideal setup is
ok for me as long as I've gotten used to it. So continually
adjusting your equipment might not be the best solution.