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Advice on best pain-relief...

rokkalarokkala Posts: 648
Any ride that I do which lasts over about an hour I always suffer from quite a bit of lower back pain.

Done lots of stretches, exercises etc during last year to toughen it up but it persists. So it's probably a mixture of my position on the bike and possibly chronic back pain. I have a bike fit scheduled for February so hopefully that will sort it out, but in the meantime:

Which of Aspirin, Paracetamol and Ibuprofen is the best to take before/during cycling? Reason I ask is that I was sure I had read somewhere previously that one or more of these could inhibit cycling performance in some way. Might have been to do with not allowing food taken on during the ride to digest properly, affecting the kidney/liver function.

So i'm hoping some of you are more clued up on this than I am? Normally i'd just opt for the Ibuprofen as it is the best anti-inflammatory, but don't want to take that if it will inhibit my energy on long rides etc.


  • Be aware that NSAID's inhibit the body's normal production of prostaglandins, which do cause inflamation but also assist in healing. So taking those will make the symptoms abate but will delay the healing of the underlying cause of the pain. I suggest that you seek out a good physio-therapist -- look at pelvis tilt, orientation of your hips, and balance between abdominals-erector spinae (lower back muscles) and hip-flexors.

    Bill Black
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    what stretches are you doing? How tight are your hamstrings?

    At a guess (not a medical professional, but experienced sports coach, no liability accepted :P ) you've probably got pretty tight hip flexors, and so have diminished glute strength hence increased load in hamstrings and back. Get someone to do the thomas test on you to check out those, as well as a glute activation test. Then if i'm right stretch the three flexors out, and work on your glutes and you'll feel fine.

    Continuing to ride with pain just isn't sensible, it'll exacerbate any issues, and cause further problems. Not really any issues with taking ibuprofen before exercise, i read a paper about it and nothing stands out as a reported issue other than general issues from regular ibuprofen, so i wouldn't make a habit of it. Something like salbutamol (sp) gel (ibuprofen gel) would probably be best as you can apply directly to the effected area.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    and a sports physio, ideally with experience of cycling. Whereabouts are you, if near me i can recommend some.
  • SplottboySplottboy Posts: 4,208
    Best thing I've tried, on prescription only, Tramadol.
    Doesn't suit everyone, as it makes the Mrs feel sick.
    But for me, they are great for sleeping if in pain, but it slows the respiration etc.
    Try to get your GP to consider them for you, if suitable.
  • rokkalarokkala Posts: 648
    Thanks for the replies so far.

    Haven't been able to have somebody do the Thomas test on me, but from what i can see from google, neither of my legs appear to be raised when holding the other knee up.

    Hamstrings I don't think are tight, can touch my toes easy enough, whats best way to test for that?

    Glute activation tests, both seemed ok, but can't be certain i'm doing everything correctly.

    Regarding stretches, I do the second one from this page: ... tches.html

    Then a few such as standing, bending leg behind and holding it at ankle. Standing and holding knee up against chest, and then couple of the lunge sort for inside of thigh and calves.

    I live up near Glasgow

    Forgot I had some of the Ibuprofen gel so will start using that.
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    Raise your bars and get physio help to get your back sorted while you wait for a bike fit!
  • Bill DBill D Posts: 62
    I had this problem, which I think is age related (I'm 62). I had had a bike fitting, which was excellent but the position was giving me lower back pain after an hour or so of riding. (The bike 'fitter' was a younger guy so may not have anticipated the full extent of my decrepitude.)
    The answer to the problem has been to refit my stem upside down, giving me a 5% rise instead of a fall, rotate my bars so that the lever hoods are a bit higher, and always carry a tube of ibruprofen gel with me to apply during rides.
    The downside is that the bike looks wrong, but it is actually spot on for me now (I've done 8 hour rides like this).
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