Despite cycling being a good physical workout, it often leads to excruciating back pain. This pain occurs due to what some scientists refer to as overuse injuries. As the cyclist moves the hips, ankles and knees, the quadriceps, gluteals and calves (parts of the upper body) are also engaged. This pulling and pushing motion tends to pile pressure on the spine which eventually leads to painful symptoms on the lower back.
Cycling enthusiasts, especially those above 40 years, are likely to start experiencing some pain in their lower back. Note that the lower back is a complex system and it’s therefore difficult to pinpoint the true cause of low back pain among cyclists.
Some reasons why this pain may occur include:
- Using the wrong bicycle
- Using a bike that isn’t properly adjusted to fit your body
- Adopting a straining posture when cycling
- Wrong pedaling techniques
- Not using shock absorbing bike accessories such as gloves, handlebar covers and seat covers
How Can Bikers Reduce This Pain?
Workout your core muscles, there are different types of muscles that bear the brunt of a typical biking escapade. These include: quadriceps, gluteals, calves, piriformis and psoas muscles. Core exercises target these muscles and help you prevent that painful experience that comes soon after riding a bike. Some ideal exercises to give a try include: ball crunches, Power Bridge, hip extension and The Plank. Stretch exercises also come in handy in relieving tension from your back. So, always remember to stretch before, during and after cycling. You could stand up from the saddle for a while to stretch some of your back muscles.
Avoid Carrying Heavy Backpacks
A heavy backpack tends to create some stress and pressure on your spine and that may eventually lead to painful symptoms on the lower back. So, if you’re fond of carrying your stuff in a bag while cycling, it’s high time you get a bicycle bag attached to the sides of your bicycle. If you use your backpack to carry grocery and other shopping, you may want to consider using a basket which will be put at the front of the back instead.
Always cycle on the right posture
Most cases of back pain emerge due to tension building up on a small section of muscles due to wrong posture. This tension builds up gradually and it is almost impossible to tell when danger is approaching. Unfortunately, it reaches a point when your back cannot take it anymore and this marks the beginning of low back pain. It is therefore important that you adopt the right posture every time you’re cycling. Different people find different postures to be ideal for their comfort. Find yours too and start using it. Ask your gym trainer about these. Additionally, special posture exercises, Yoga and Pilates can help keep you in the right form and keep your back safe from pain.
Ensure your back is adjusted properly
If you’re still looking for a new bicycle to buy, your choice is important for the good health of your back. Pick a bicycle that suits your height and body type to ensure proper posture and to prevent unnecessary tension. It may be good to ask for assistance if you’re exactly sure how to go about this. What if I have a bike already? You might want to ask. Well, get it adjusted soon. Only you don’t lower the handlebars too much. Lower them a position that allows you to bend your body by 50 degrees. Ensure that the saddle is properly fitted so it does not tilt backwards. You want to have it fitted at the right height too. Use shock absorbing accessories to reduce the impact of cycling pressure.
When to consult a doctor
Most instances of normal back pain due to biking can easily be dealt with by applying the above-mentioned tips. However, not every back pain has a simple root cause. If you’re experiencing sudden pain, numbness or an excruciating sensation of pins-and-needles, it is advisable to visit a physician. That way, you can tell for sure what the cause of the pain is and adopt the right treatment regimen.
Biking does not have to be a horribly painful process always. You can continuously enjoy this activity well into your 70s without experiencing back pain provided you follow the tips shared in this article to the letter.Author Profile:
Colin Murray is a blogger and writes on Auto Accident Chiropractor Reno. He loves to blog on various topics of life style and health related issues which also includes backache and more.