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Don’t Let Back Pain When Cycling Pain You
Back pain when cycling is a problem that plagues many bikers. It can strike at the onset of a ride or can flare in the midst of your ride. Back pain is one of the most common problems that bikers experience, yet few know how to avoid it.
When considering back pain when cycling, you must first understand if it is you or your bike. Common causes of back pain include a lack of flexibility, improper posture on your bike, a bad bike fit, poor spinal health, or a lack of core strength.
Tips for Managing Back Pain When Cycling
If you experience chronic pain when riding your bike but do not experience it during other activities, chances are your problem is your bike fit. If you cannot achieve proper body position due to an improper fit, your body will be out of alignment when you bike. Fortunately, this problem can usually be fixed easily. For an inexpensive fit, check out this page on proper bike fitting techniques. If you continue to experience back pain when cycling, visit your local bike shop for a fitting. This more in-depth approach will ensure a proper fit that does not exert any undue pressure on your back.
Another issue can be improper posture on your bike. Check your form during your ride. Your stomach should be pulled in toward your lower back, your torso should be elongated, your shoulder blades should be slid down and relaxed, and your chest should be lifted slightly. You may find that you tighten your back as your ride becomes more intense. When you feel this tightening, lower your speed and relax the muscles of your lower back gently. One trick is to focus on lengthening and elongating your back. This will naturally align your spine and reduce tightening.
If back pain plagues you regularly during day to day activities or when you are engaged in other sports, you need to consider other factors that may be causing you pain. One of the biggest and most common problems is that you place more weight and force on one side of your body than the other. An easy way to determine this is by heading to your local (high-quality) shoe store. Most top-quality shoe stores have a computerized machine that you can use, usually for free, to determine if you stand with proper balance. I had to admit, I was shocked the first time I tried one of these machines. I found that I put far more weight on the right side of my body, and also that I lean back on my heels. After several adjustments at the chiropractor I was tested again and found my balance was much improved. Not surprisingly, my overall back pain was alleviated as well.
Back pain when cycling can also be caused by a lack of flexibility and core strength. Many bikers suffer from a surprising lack of flexibility. This is due, in part, to the fact that we maintain a relatively limited range of motion when we are on the bike. Although we may sit up, stand up, and lean as we bike, overall we generally maintain a steady form, and it is this lack of motion that can contribute to limited flexibility. If you experience back pain when cycling, it is important to stretch your back both before and after each ride. Just a few minutes of gentle stretching will increase your flexibility and contribute to your core strength. Remember to stretch gently, as the vertebra and nerves in the lower back are sensitive.
At Kass & Moses, we are avid bikers and bike accident attorneys. We believe in the merits of biking and do all that we can to promote the sport. Don’t let back pain when cycling prevent you from enjoying all that biking has to offer!