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Lower back problems

DB17DB17 Posts: 3
edited December 2014 in Road beginners
Morning all,

So i bought my first bike around 5 weeks ago- a Moda Rubato (From Rutland cycles who's service was brilliant!). However i ordered the bike online and like the rookie i am popped it out the box, tightened it all up and got to it. Despite having general back issues i didn't anticipate having pain whilst riding as i 'have grown up riding bikes'- mountain and moto! The pain comes in the lower back/upper glute, with the pain being an intense burning sensation placed centrally above each glute... My physio told me to get the bike fitted and so i did. Though the pain is reduced and i can ride further before it occurs (By further i mean i can reach 10k), I am wondering if anyone has experienced the same thing? I'm one with a competative nature so turning on strava everytime i go out means i'm unable to take things steady. I am however told that STEADY time on the bike as well as consistent stretching should do the trick. Any other advice from anyone that took the time to read that?

Cheers

Posts

  • dj58dj58 Posts: 2,163
    Hi,

    You've done the right thing following your physio's advice having the bike fit, I'm assuming the bike is the correct size for you? If you have been used to riding MTB/Moto with their more upright riding position, you may experience some slight discomfort while your body adjusts to road bike geometry.

    I noticed this when I started riding a road bike a year ago, though now I have no problems with it. So it may be you just need to persevere with it, the stretching is also good advice. If the problem persists then you may need to look at your position on the bike again and take advice from your physio.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    Stretching definitely.
    Bike fit definitely.

    Also look at how you grip the bars.... Basically DON'T. By gripping you end up pulling and this transfers forces to your lower back. on climbs for example I open up my fingers completely to ensure I'm not pulling... I get sore lower back if I pull too much.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • keezxkeezx Posts: 1,311
    DB17 wrote:
    Morning all,

    Any other advice from anyone that took the time to read that?

    Cheers

    Lower back pain is often caused by using the back muscles to put power on the pedals.
    To avoid that a stretched position and forward rotated pelvis is better , so the contrary to the common opinion.
    Try a longer stem and deeper position.

    When I was in my late 30's I quit racing and one of the reasons was lower back pain.
    I'm 61 now and ride more then ever and painfree with the stretched position, all the power comes from the legs.
  • Bo DukeBo Duke Posts: 1,058
    Many times if you don't frequently stretch out your hamstrings they contract causing them to pull/rotate your pelvis which in turn triggers lower back muscle ache. All muscle groups are ultimately connected so I'd recommend daily stretching on an ongoing basis.
    'Performance analysis and Froome not being clean was a media driven story. I haven’t heard one guy in the peloton say a negative thing about Froome, and I haven’t heard a single person in the peloton suggest Froome isn’t clean.' TSP
  • BobbinogsBobbinogs Posts: 4,841
    Some good advice here. The points about not using your back to aid performance and overgripping the bars are really pertinent IMO, particularly if you treat every ride as a Strava smashfest. I would also look at they way you are riding to see if you are spending too long on the drops. Even the pros spend a lot of time on the hoods or adjusting their position (hoods, bartops, drops) and this can help to even out the pressure on your lower back muscle groups.

    As an aside, try and vary your rides or you could soon burn out. Try a few rides without Strava so that you can concentrate on technique or, heavens above, the countryside without fear of ruining you avg speeds. Improving cycling performance is not all about thrashing yourself, recovery is an important phase and I love an easy ride out, twiddling the pedals with my head up looking over the hedge; it is good for the spirit and good for the legs :)
  • Bo DukeBo Duke Posts: 1,058
    Bear in mind cross training is also important and that yoga for example is also a great way to understand your body and improve posture etc.. I start yoga soon after hearing of 2 friends amazement of how it helped them.
    'Performance analysis and Froome not being clean was a media driven story. I haven’t heard one guy in the peloton say a negative thing about Froome, and I haven’t heard a single person in the peloton suggest Froome isn’t clean.' TSP
  • secretsamsecretsam Posts: 4,631
    This is really pertinent to me as I have a long standing back problem. When I am climbing I feel the muscles either side of the spine tingling. Is this normal? Since cycling my back feels much stronger, and I have had a bike fit, but don't want to be doing something wrong.

    It's just a hill. Get over it.
  • DB17DB17 Posts: 3
    Thank you for the replies- Some really sound logical advice!
  • PhilbyPhilby Posts: 328
    +1 for yoga or pilates
    also stretch after your ride - get your physio to give you some stretches for your glutes...
    ...and turn your bloody Strava off!!!! :roll:
  • Chris87Chris87 Posts: 224
    You need to do some core strength training. Once a week is enough, google cycling core exercises and you will find lots of info.

    Also if you have an iPhone download the Full Fitness app

    https://itunes.apple.com/au/app/full-fitness-exercise-workout/id536049508?mt=8

    theres a really good bike specific training programme on there, it has videos and instructions for each exercise so yo know your doing it right. I've been using it the last year and never get back pain anymore and it has increased my stability and power on the bike loads!

    yoga/pilates is also a good shout
  • I don't know if that is your case, but when my tailbone hurt, it helped a lot adjusting the saddle inclination to no inclination at all. I made it just level flat and it was a great improvement.
  • vorsprungvorsprung Posts: 1,953
    I think this article explains why a beginner might be getting lower back pain

    http://www.cyclingweekly.co.uk/fitness/ ... bike-32094

    I agree that core work might help a bit but basically - just ride your bike and get stronger
  • +1 for yoga/pilates.

    I used to get a similar problem to the OP after about 45 mins riding. I had a bike fit which helped but didn't resolve it and at the bike fit they said I really needed to improve my flexibility. Pilates has really helped and I also found some on-bike stretches to do whilst riding. Over a period of approx 6 months, I got to the stage where I could happily do 100km without a problem.

    The key pilates exercises that have helped me are the hamstring stretches and lower back strengthening.
  • BiomechBiomech Posts: 158
    I actually suffered from lower back pain before I bought my bike (2 slipped discs and a tear all this past year) and came here as I was worried being bent over on a bike would be problematic (the impact from running caused problems).

    Bought a bike in August (you can see the thread here: viewtopic.php?f=40042&t=12977761) and I think its actually helped A LOT. I've gone from, paralysed (with pain) to cycling and weight training now.

    Obviously our problems are different. But having the correct size bike and having it custom fitted has made a world of difference and really really helped me. The fitting was about an hour, we replaced the seat, the bars and the stem and had it all set using a motion tracking video device thingamy.

    So from my experience and my (new to road biking) advice would be to make sure that it is properly fitted.

    One thing I found at the very start was my shoulders absolutely killed, really painful. I think that was before the bar and stem was changed (shortened), dropping my shoulders has meant that never happened again. So fitting and position really are crucial to avoid problems.

    Incidentally, I bought mine from Rutland as my LBS couldn't get the model. I got my LBS to fit it though.
    Second to your injury is going to be your wallet, Ive spent at the very least, 3x what my bike cost on "bits". Wiggle.co.uk is the best thing you can find second to this forum :)

    HTH and good luck!
  • pastiepastie Posts: 33
    I had same problem, unable to do more than 5-10 miles slowly for years. Spent last winter stretching out glutes, hamstrings and quads. Could eventually touch toes for the 1st time ever!! Gradually I got into longer & longer distances, but stretching every night. Now it's great, able to do well over 100 miles a week & back is fine. Be careful about bike position, most advice focuses on upright v aggressive geometry, but I find avoiding a slouched back and locked arms position more important.
    Stick at it, you'll get there!
  • johnny25johnny25 Posts: 344
    Someone recommended this book recently on the forum - http://tinyurl.com/mb85hlz

    Assuming you're set up on your bike properly, I've found the core routines in this book excellent.
  • one word:-
    Pilates
  • seanoconnseanoconn Posts: 6,811
    Stretch daily, before and after rides. Quads, glutes and calf particularly. Tight leg muscles can pull on your lower back.
    Pinno, מלך אידיוט וחרא מכונאי
  • This is an interesting thread for me because I've been experiencing exactly the same issue for the past few months.

    I can get up to 10 miles or so then my back starts to hurt, how bad usually depends on how much effort I've been putting in or how much climbing I've been doing.

    Exactly the same as the OP the pain is not central but either side of the lower back.
    keezx wrote:
    Lower back pain is often caused by using the back muscles to put power on the pedals.
    To avoid that a stretched position and forward rotated pelvis is better , so the contrary to the common opinion.
    Try a longer stem and deeper position.

    When I was in my late 30's I quit racing and one of the reasons was lower back pain.
    I'm 61 now and ride more then ever and painfree with the stretched position, all the power comes from the legs.

    Very interesting. I find that especially when I'm climbing on the tops it does feel like I'm generating the power through my legs by pulling on my back.
  • Bo Duke wrote:
    Many times if you don't frequently stretch out your hamstrings they contract causing them to pull/rotate your pelvis which in turn triggers lower back muscle ache. All muscle groups are ultimately connected so I'd recommend daily stretching on an ongoing basis.

    I stretch my hamstrings 2-3 times a day and its made a huge difference with my lower back problems, deffo something to try!

    I also give them a good stretch while im out on a ride if i feel my back starting to hurt, only takes a few mins to raise my leg on something and i can feel the difference straight away
  • Speckled wrote:
    I stretch my hamstrings 2-3 times a day and its made a huge difference with my lower back problems, deffo something to try!

    What exercises specifically are you doing?
  • Plus 1 on the bike fit, I used to suffer terribly from lower back pain - apparently from climbing in the wrong position. My local shop; the Bike Shed have fitters that are in the top 10 most qualified in the country so I thought they must be able to help me! And help they did! Now I ride 10 miles to work and back every day and have much less trouble - I have only had the problem come back once, but a week off the bike and I was ok again.

    Their prices are at the link below - it's not loose change but I'm saving that money monthly now in diesel costs!

    http://www.bikesheduk.com/cycle-fit
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    +1 for proper stretching too. I think its as important as a correctly set up bike. The more you get in to cycling the more problems you will have if you don't do a post ride stretch.

    It can take just 3 minutes to do a quick stretch and a full body stretch just 15 mins. Personally I do the 3 minute one as soon as I finish a ride and the 15 minute one after I have showered and put the bike away.

    If you don't know what to do - may I shamelessly plug my mate Karen's stretching videos:
    Cycle Stretches - Post-Ride Cool down Stretch for Cyclists: 3 Minutes
    Body Stretch - Full Body Stretch 15 Minute Workout
  • +1 for Yoga and Pilates

    This is my take on back problems taken from personal experience. As a fellow back pain sufferer I may be teaching you to suck eggs, but this is the advice I would give to anyone with a bad back, assuming they haven't tried what I have. So......

    4 years ago I started doing both Yoga and Pilates. Due to the Pilates I now tense my transverse abdominal muscles automatically without thinking when making most movements. This forms a girdle around your spine and takes stress away from your back muscles, which in most back problems strain themselves compensating for any number of issues with the spine.

    Of course this is management, not cure, so no matter how good your osteo/physio is (or you think they are) get referred by your GP to a specialist, who should hopefully arrange an MRI scan (all can be done on the NHS, you might just have to wait) to diagnose your back problem and figure out your options.

    Too many people get mis-diagnosed/under-diagnosed for back problems and the only way to see the issue is to 'see' it. I had been to a very highly recommended physio for a long time and he didn't help me because effectively because he didn't realise I had a degenerative disc. I eventually saw a specialist who saw it as clear as day on the scan and booked me in for a hot-wire op to numb the pain (to a certain degree) for a number of years. It was either that or disc replacement (very risky).

    My chosen solution since then has been management by Pilates. I still have a back problem but I am able to bend right down (bent knees or straight knees) to pick something up and can lift heavy items safely for short durations - because I tense the right muscles whilst doing it.

    Of course everyone's back problem is different and I can only say that what I have done works for me and my type (and degree) of problem. However I do believe the following are universally true:

    - Bike fitting is the most important aspect of bike purchase (as everyone else has mentioned)
    - If you've only seen an osteo/physio and that has not cured or dramatically improved your back problem, see a specialist and try to get a n MRI
    - Yoga and Pilates will help to a degree. In SOME cases Pilates can almost cure the problem. In most cases it can make it manageable, which can a difference between doing the things you want and not. In some cases it may not help at all, but it is worth trying. It can take up to 3-6 months to notice the benefits mind.

    That's it. Hope this helps
  • Speckled wrote:
    I stretch my hamstrings 2-3 times a day and its made a huge difference with my lower back problems, deffo something to try!

    What exercises specifically are you doing?

    The main one for me is the standing hamstring stretch, i do this 2-3 times a day at work. While in out on a ride i just find a wall or fence or something and put my legs up on those. Just lean into the leg untill you feel it slightly pulling and hold for 30 secs. Start off on something low and raise it higher once you get used to it.

    I also stand on my tip toes and hold for a while too if my calf muscles get a bit tight

    hamstring-chair-stretch.jpg
  • diydiy Posts: 6,680
    That looks really friggin painful on the back of the chair, barefoot but actually its a good stretch. Key thing is to keep the supporting foot parallel to the other foot (as per the pic - almost) otherwise it works the hip-flexors & abductors instead.

    You need to keep both legs straight and if you can - hold your foot.
    this one also works well for the hamstring:
    standing_hamstring_stretch.jpg
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