lower back pain when cycling - help!

vertigoscene Posts: 56
edited May 2008 in Road beginners
Hello All

When cycling lately I've been suffering from lower back pain, particularly when I cycle for 2-3 days in a row. :cry:

I feel my lower back strain when I try to pedal hard, especially uphill.

I've got a feeling that the saddle might be too low, although the LBS from which I bought the bike said it was OK, not sure I trust them. Could this be the problem, or could it be something else - e.g. saddle too far forward, or back?

I'd like to get some tips, to help give me an idea of what I should start adjusting.

FYI, I am currently riding a Marin Lucas Valley, which is a flat bar road bike style hybrid.

Any thoughts much appreciated.


  • biondino
    biondino Posts: 5,990
    I get this too - and it's always after I have put more effort in, usually when sitting down. It doesn't come immediately, but once it's come, it's hard to get rid of.

    I suspect it's because we're putting a lot of force into areas of the back that aren't aligned in such a way that the force is well distributed - a comparison would be picking up a heavy object without bending your knees. I'm very interested to hear what people have to say. My bike *feels* exactly the right proportions for me but obviously if I can prevent this from happening it's be great.
  • Jez mon
    Jez mon Posts: 3,809
    I got lower back pain when I started racing. I'd never got it before, but using bigger gears and pulling hard on the the handlebars was though on my back, I also got it a few months ago, when I came back after a few weeks off the bike.

    The first time i simply raised my handlebars, and this solved the solution. However, i was not happy having to raise my position again (higher position, more wind resistance!) So i started doing a bit of hamstring stretching, long story short, due to training my hamstrings had tightened and i was about 10 inches away from being able to touch my toes.

    A few weeks of stretching, and problem gone.

    So to summarize, first raise your handlebars, then look at your own flexibility. Of course, If you think your saddle is too low then raise it, however, I'd be surprised if a low saddle was causing you back trouble, usually it only manifests itself in a loss of power.

    Apologies for the long post, hopefully some of it was useful!
    You live and learn. At any rate, you live
  • Monty Dog
    Monty Dog Posts: 20,614
    Sore lower back is quite common for cyclists due to muscular imbalance, relatively weak core body muscles and tight hamstrings. Your hamstrings are anchored in your lower back area and weak abdominal muscles mean that the crouched position from cycling puts high stress on these areas. Suggest a regime of stretching and abdominal excercise would sort you out. Raising your handlebars / shortening your stem may also alleviate your problem. Your LBS is correct - problems below the waist are generally to do with saddle and pedal position whereas above the waist is to do with reach and handlebars.
    Make mine an Italian, with Campagnolo on the side..
  • celbianchi
    celbianchi Posts: 854
    Hello All

    When cycling lately I've been suffering from lower back pain, particularly when I cycle for 2-3 days in a row. :cry:

    Not surprised you have back pain with 48 - 72 hours continuously in the saddle.

  • chill123
    chill123 Posts: 210
    Might be worth re-assessing your setup. Have a look at this bike fitting article. It is worth noting that even the smallest adjustments (even a couple of millimeters) can make a huge difference.

    Keep tweaking till you get the fit right then make a not of all the adjustments incase you need to reset up the bike again in the future.
  • il_principe
    il_principe Posts: 9,155
    One word - Pilates. It's done wonders for me, back problems have not gone but got a lot better as I have become more flexible and increased my core stability.