Are you a cyclist trying to prevent lower back pain? It’s incredibly common among those who get around on two wheels. Mostly because of the classic bent over riding position. But also because of the repetitive motion of pedaling. We’ve gathered five tips to curb this pain, so you don’t have to suffer after your favorite activity.
1. Check your bike fit.
A comfortable ride comes from the right saddle height, saddle fore and aft, and crank arm length. If your seat is too high, your hips will rock back and forth when you pedal. If your saddle is too far forward or back, you’ll have an unnaturally long or short effective top tube length. Your handlebar might be too high or low, or your bike is just too big or small for you. All of these issues can lead to lower back pain. Get a professional fit from a bike shop, then you’ll know exactly what’s right for you.
2. Stretch before and after you ride.
Tight hamstrings pull the pelvis down and cause the low back to curve more than it otherwise would. Tight hip flexors, quadriceps, and other muscles can also lead to lower back pain. The more limber you, the less likely you are to deal with this pain. You can try the downward dog, legs straight up in the air, and crossing one foot over the other knee while leaning forward. Yoga and pilates can also help your body, and in turn help your cycling performance.
3. Build your core strength.
If your core is weak, your lower back muscles might try to compensate. This could lead to overworking, stress on the joints and ligaments in your spine, and overall stiffness and pain. You can try basic core exercises at home or in the gym. Like the plank, reverse crunch, glute bridge, and deadbug.
4. Adjust your anterior pelvic tilt.
Think of your pelvis as a bowl. If it’s filled with water, it shouldn’t pour any out when you’re standing up straight. With an anterior pelvic tilt, the bowl is tipped forward and water spills out. Tight quads and hip flexors can draw the pelvis forward, resulting in this problem, which crunches the spine. You can fix this with exercises, like a bridge, squats, pelvic tilt, half-kneeling hip flexors, and kneeling leg lift with back stretch.
5. Use a foam roller.
Mobility in your spine and lower limbs lessens stress on your lower back. Lie on your back with the foam roller horizontally below your lower back. Bend your knees and press your feet into the floor. Raise the left side of your lower back off the foam roller, moving your weight to the right side. Hold the position for a few seconds and switch sides. Continue this for up to one minute, and repeat a few times.
6. Use a back massager.
It can reduce or eliminate pain, relaxes tight muscles, and improve blood circulation in your back. Regular use can speed up your return to normal activities. You can also ease your pain with ice or heating pads, or anti-inflammatory pain relievers. Consult with a doctor before taking medicine regularly, even if it’s over the counter.
7. Try an inversion table.
It works by decompressing your vertebrae and stretching the muscles and tendons around them. Even just five minutes a day can make a big difference in your back. You should consult your doctor first to make sure this method is safe for you.
8. See a doctor.
If you’ve tried these methods don’t help with your back pain, it’s time to seek medical help. Your doctor can diagnose problems you might not realize you have. You might even need an x-ray or MRI to see if it’s something serious that requires professional treatment.
Get a Professional Bike Fit at Airpark Bike Co
Get a professional bike fit here at Airpark Bike Co, the best bike shop in Scottsdale, AZ. Our team will set you up with the ideal model for your body size and riding style. We have plenty of options from Yeti Cycles, Santa Cruz, Niner, and more top brands. Don’t wait, visit us today!