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Lower back pain.

OnanOnan Posts: 321
edited November 2008 in Road beginners
I ride around a hilly path regularly on my hybrid. Not long distances. I'm just trying to improve my fitness before my road bike arrives. I usually do around 20 kilometers.

Unfortunately, I'm getting some serious pain in my lower back. I think it's muscular rather than spinal, since it's usually focused on my left side.

Any idea what I might be doing wrong? Saddle too low or high? Seat too far forward? Poor technique? Any advice would be greatly appreciated, as I don't want to have to stop cycling.
Drink poison. Wrestle snakes.

Posts

  • BUICKBUICK Posts: 362
    In my experience, saddle height and exact angle can make an enormous difference - and to a lesser degree the stem length to your handlebars. I was suffering with back problems and through gradual experimentation had reduced it to mild discomfort, then with a couple of minute adjustments to the saddle tilt (I mean half turns front and back) have got rid of it altogether. I had to really think about what I was doing and make small adjustments and ride to see what the effect was. Not an easy answer, and it might not be the same for you! Have you any history of back trouble that could make a doctors visit beneficial? Or bypass the GP and see a physio?
    '07 Langster (dropped one tooth from standard gearing)
    '07 Tricross Sport with rack and guards
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  • OnanOnan Posts: 321
    BUICK wrote:
    In my experience, saddle height and exact angle can make an enormous difference - and to a lesser degree the stem length to your handlebars. I was suffering with back problems and through gradual experimentation had reduced it to mild discomfort, then with a couple of minute adjustments to the saddle tilt (I mean half turns front and back) have got rid of it altogether. I had to really think about what I was doing and make small adjustments and ride to see what the effect was. Not an easy answer, and it might not be the same for you! Have you any history of back trouble that could make a doctors visit beneficial? Or bypass the GP and see a physio?

    I suppose I do have a history of mild back problems. Never thrown a disk, or had it go entirely, but always plagued by twinges, and chronic aching. Sleeping on my front doesn't help. I have to prop a pillow under my torso, and rest my head directly on the mattress.

    I used to lift weights, but the course of heavy deadlifts I did made no difference either way. My back got stronger, but still ached after every session.
    Drink poison. Wrestle snakes.
  • Nick6891Nick6891 Posts: 274
    i did get this problem but i have been trying to strengthen my back and adjusted sear hight a little, it doesnt bother me much now, and if it does still start to bother you just stop for a min or 2 to give you back a stretch
  • OnanOnan Posts: 321
    I think I'm going to try moving my seat up and back a touch. But inevitably, any tinkering will have to be done anew in a week or two anyway, when i will be rididng an entirely different type of bike.
    Drink poison. Wrestle snakes.
  • doog442doog442 Posts: 370
    prolapsed disc sufferer here...just got back on the bike in the last week or so...found flipping the bars,lowering saddle slightly and moving saddle forward has meant i can cycle without pain for at least 10 miles before it returns...when im sorted i will slowly move it all back

    Having read a bit on back pain ,quite a few cyclists who suffer back pain do the same.
  • OnanOnan Posts: 321
    doog442 wrote:
    prolapsed disc sufferer here...just got back on the bike in the last week or so...found flipping the bars,lowering saddle slightly and moving saddle forward has meant i can cycle without pain for at least 10 miles before it returns...when im sorted i will slowly move it all back

    Having read a bit on back pain ,quite a few cyclists who suffer back pain do the same.

    I don't think lowering sadlle height on my hybrid will be an option. It's probably technically already too low for me.
    Drink poison. Wrestle snakes.
  • Err this is all treating the symptoms! Get bike correctly set up - yes but also srtetch hamstrings, glutes, aductors and peraformis muscles PLUS spinal mobilisation exercises. Plus look at core stability and breathing exercises and keep a grip of back pain for life. There is no reason back issues should hold you back. (i have fractured my neck and lower back have a number of prolapses and a genetically narrowed spinal column plus suffer from sciatic pain. These steps assist in management. I am a sufferer but still have done 7,000 miles in the last 10.5 months.) If you dont know the exercises invest ina couple of sessions with a physio or chiropractor and take asdvice from a pro. Good luck
  • feelfeel Posts: 800
    Very important to stretch hamstrings before riding as cycling tends to shorten them and cause uneven pulling on the pelvis leading to lower back pain. Can you touch your toes easily ? If not this could be a major cause factor for you. In addition to physio's and chiropractors as brownbosh recommends can i also suggest that an osteopath could well be very useful.
    We are born with the dead:
    See, they return, and bring us with them.
  • Onan - I've just taken delivery of a new bike recently and suffered quite severe muscular lower back pain during a 25 mile ride. I had never experienced this effect on my old tourer. After researching the cause and checking measurements between the two bikes, I discovered that this problem was due, as you might expect, to bad posture, the saddle on the new bike being too far back and also too high. The result was that my back was insufficiently supported, it was stretched too far forward. The aim should be to have the back arched, like a bridge, not drooping forward between the hips and the shoulders. The two articles which I found useful were by Sheldon "Ouch!" Brown :) at: http://www.sheldonbrown.com/pain.html and also Peter White's very detailed treatise on bike fitting at: http://www.peterwhitecycles.com/fitting.htm These cerainly worked for me.
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