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Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Low Back Pain While Riding

by Ben Hallam

There is an interesting article in the latest issue of Manual Therapy relating to cyclists with lower back pain (http://www.manualtherapyjournal.com/article/S1356-689X(12)00042-2/abstract).

The results from this study mirror what I see regularly during bike fits; the people that complain of lower back pain tend to be the ones that sag back onto their saddles and flex from the lower back. This lumbar flexion puts additional strain on the back muscles and tissues and makes it very hard for the core muscles to stabilise the spine. As they found in the study, simply changing the bike position (in this case tilting the saddle which has been shown to sometimes relieve low back pain) often doesn’t change someone’s learnt motor program (their learnt posture on the bike).


The take home messages from this study would be that a) positioning the bars too low can encourage lower lumbar flexion and potentially increase the likelihood of lower back pain and b) position changes need to be combined with both on and off the bike posture correction to help strengthen the core and maintain a neutral pelvic posture while riding.   


2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Take a look at Postureright, it’s a product from lutaevono and helps quite well with keeping a good back posture :)

Virginia said...

There was a time in my youth when I felt immortal.

I was strong. Healthy. Full of life.

Maybe like you, I felt like I could conquer the world.

Every day I'd wake up, bursting with energy. Feeling unstoppable.

I'd go out and exercise full out. Or put in a long day at work. Or go on a weekend adventure with friends to the mountains.

And at the end of the day? I'd still feel REALLY good.

Tired, but in a good, relaxing, "hit the sack" kinda way.

Until one day, it happened.

I was getting out of the car and for some reason, I twisted my back.

It immediately seized up. Hunched over with hand on my hip, my muscles spasmed as if to protect it.

The pain was sharp. Deep. Crippling.

That was a day I'll never forget. That was the day I realized... I was human.

Getting out of the car was something I'd done a thousand times before. Why did it happen THAT day, I wondered?

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Over the years, more unexpected bouts of pain. Days and even weeks off work.

Make-you-feel-like-a-zombie pain pills.

Physical therapy. Alternative therapy. Chiropractic.

Days of "bed rest" watching Jerry Springer.

Oh, I hated that term "bed rest." It's so not me.

Ever since that fateful day, every so often out of the blue, I'll tweak my back again and relive that fateful day as well as the weeks afterward, nursing it back to health.

Until recently.

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To your health,