Do You Experience Lower Back Pain While Cycling?
My first bike was a Huge HDT 10. Whenever I rode this bike, I used to get lower back pain. Furthermore, the pain started after 20 to 25 km of riding. Cycling pain is common yet can be avoided with a proper bike fit.
Now I ride a Merida big 7 & a Polygon road bike and with no back pain. Yes, I took few basic and simple steps to curb this lower back pain of mine. The results are good and now I ride pain-free.
With that note in mind, let me tell you the effective steps I took to curb the back pain I had. This article has the contributions of Dr. Ajay Jain (Renowned physiotherapist ) and Trilok (National Cyclist).
This is what they have to say!
“In my experience, many cyclists are riding bikes that are too big for them and many cyclists lack proper flexibility and/or their core strength is lacking. Take the time and have your bike fitted to your body. Back pain can also arise from anatomical causes like leg length discrepancy or misalignment of your spine”
The Three Factors Leading To Lower Back Pain While Cycling!
There are only 3 factors contributing to the pain, which I ignored the first time I rode my bike. Let’s take a look at these factors one by one.
The most important factor contributing to back pain is the bike fit. A not a lot of bike shop owners do this, as they are more concerned about selling bike than safety. This is something that you should always do before purchasing a bike.
Let’s understand more as to why a proper bike fit is so important?
A proper fit can:
- Improve overall rider comfort
- Help prevent cycling-induced repetitive stress injuries
- Reduce or eliminate back, knee, neck and wrist pain
- Reduce or eliminate “hot foot”
- Bike fit reduce or eliminate saddle discomfort and genital numbness
- Reduce or eliminate numbness in the hands and fingers
- Reduce rider fatigue
A good fit can also improve riding performance because it allows the rider to use multiple muscle groups in the most effective and efficient manner.
“Take help from a professional, do a proper bike fit and you have taken half of the factor which induces the back pain”
Core Muscle Stability
Another factor and a big one after the bike fit. I am literally struggling at this and trying different exercises. However, if I take a look at my cycling journey, I have improved a lot and hence brought down my lower back pain substantially. However, as per my discussion with Trilok, who happens to be a professional cyclist and has represented in different national level competitions advise to have a daily routine of core exercises. Here is an exercise chart for your reference.
“We recently had International Yoga Day and stressing the benefits of Yoga, It does help us in strengthing our core”
Click on the image for an enlarged view.
Lastly, it depends on the way you ride. A lot of people will try to educate you about correct riding styles, however, listen only to professionals. Over the years, I have met a lot of cyclists, and everyone has different riding styles.
I would say there is no set riding style to follow. A 100% ride guide is not available. However, you need to find your self a riding style that suits your body and does not land you up in any trouble.
Ride with professionals, join a good group in your town. In case you are in Jaipur please check out my article on cycling groups in Jaipur.
Furthermore, while talking with Dr. Ajay Jain and my fellow cyclist Trilok, they also stressed other factors. Factors that will help you in curbing this lower back pain. They suggested that the cyclist should have a good night sleep, have a proper diet. They also suggested that warm up and cool down exercises are a must. A cyclist should also take breaks and rest in the middle of the ride to avoid any chance of over stressing the body.
“So, in the end, I would say that the three contributing factors to your lower back pain are no bike fit being done, poor riding style and a weak core. If you take care of these three things, the chances of pain happening while cycling would be less considerably”
Professionals cyclists and medical professionals: Please feel free to add anything that I may have missed, in the comments below.
This article is based on the contribution of my personal experience and with the help of my cyclist friends. Please consult a professional medical personnel if you are experiencing lower back pain. Please take help from a professional cyclist, while doing a bike fit and choosing right riding style.
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