How to Reduce Lower Back Pain from Cycling

POSTED BY Andrew Kass||

Sadly, lower back pain cycling brings can ruin a ride! Whether your pain strikes as soon as you begin cycling or doesn’t hit until later on in your ride, lower back pain can deter from your cycling experience. Poor spinal health and bad posture can lead to ongoing discomfort. If it’s bad enough, it might even be enough to sideline you completely. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to avoid back pain from cycling and to remedy it if it does strike.


A study performed by researchers in Norway found that approximately 45 percent of overuse bike-related injuries are to the lower back. Lower back pain from cycling can be due to poor bike fit, bad posture, lack of flexibility and lack of core strength. Another cause can be cycling to the point of overexertion, which can cause excessive stress on the back muscles (as fatigue forces you to lean forward at an unnatural angle).

Tips for Preventing Lower Back Pain from Cycling

If you suffer from lower back pain from cycling, first check your posture and the fit of your bike. Incorrect posture, both on and off your bike, can contribute to lower back pain. If you regularly slump over your computer at work, for example, that can result in lower back pain that may strike when you ride. Check the positioning of your bike. The saddle should be positioned so that your knee has a slight bend when you extend to the bottom of your stroke. Your hips shouldn’t shift, and you shouldn’t have to reach in any way as you pedal. Position the saddle horizontal to the ground. The handlebars should be positioned so that you can comfortably reach them with your elbows bent slightly.

Another cause of lower back pain is overexertion or a too-rapid increase in your training regime. Increase your mileage slowly and never work your body to the point of over-exertion. When you stress your muscles past the point of exhaustion, they tend to tighten, and this can make you more prone to pain and injury. If, as you are riding, you feel your muscles begin to tighten or your body begins to go stiff, it may be time to take a break.

One way to try to combat lower back pain from cycling is to try a higher cadence. If you are riding at too low of a cadence, you may be pushing your muscles too hard. Too much strain on your muscles can lead to back pain and other injuries. Increase your cadence temporarily and see if you notice a change. Then, if you want to move towards a lower cadence again, gradually shift back over time, allowing your body to become accustomed to the greater impact.

To fight back pain from cycling as well as increase your overall fitness levels, focus on working your core muscles. Exercises that help build your core muscles include crunches, abdominal presses, and planks. These exercises increase both flexibility and strength in the core and should help reduce pain when you ride.

If you are currently suffering from lower back pain from riding, you need to treat your discomfort. Anti-inflammatory medication offers some relief for lower back pain. Try taking a dose shortly before you ride. It’s always better to tackle the pain before it strikes rather than wait until it is intense. Heating pads and massage treatments are both helpful to calm and relax the muscles of the back. If you experience severe pain or the pain does not let up with home treatment, be sure to see a physician for treatment. Generally, lower back pain from cycling does not signal a serious problem and can be treated at home safely, but remember that any serious pain requires medical assistance.

Cyclists know that any pain that keeps them from riding can be life-altering. Muscle pain is bad enough, but the pain brought on by injuries sustained in a bicycle crash can be devastating. Some injured cyclists require months or even years of ongoing medical care and therapy. These means huge medical bills, time away from work, and the inability to enjoy cycling. We believe that injured cyclists should be compensated for their suffering. We fight tirelessly to get our clients the maximum settlements under the law. We’ll fight for you! If you or a loved one has been in a bicycle accident, contact Kass & Moses today!