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Cycling Lower Back Pain – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Cycling is often recommended as one of the best exercises to build strong body. It strengthens all the important organs, hands, arms, shoulders, chest, back, hips, thighs, knees, legs and feet. Strangely enough, cycling also causes lower back pain and several other health problems. It nullifies all the benefits that it provides to the cyclists. In some cases cycling is the only cause of lower back pain.


Causes


There is nothing wrong with cycling as an exercise as such. It does provide all the benefits associated with it. The problem arises with the design and structure of most bicycles. It forces the cyclists to assume wrong postures as they try to keep themselves in alignment with their various parts such as seat, stem length, the top tube, frame, handle bar, pedals and so on.


The problem aggravates further with the modern style bicycles whose manufacturers devote more attention to make them look fashionable and stylish rather than ergonomic.


Most of the time, you have to keep bending forward on your lower back in order to exert force on the pedals. This causes tightness in the muscles of the hips, thighs and legs. It forces the pelvis to shift out of its normal and optimal position. This results in muscle imbalance which causes lower back pain.


The position of the seat, its distance from the handle bar and the pedals may not match the length of arms and legs of all the riders. They may have to overstretch or cramp themselves to adjust with it in order to keep cycling.


Prevention of bicycle back pain


Bicycles come in standard designs for various age groups. It is not always possible to customize each of its parts to suit the individual’s physical needs. Nonetheless, every cyclist should try to make some adjustment to prevent strain on the lower back.


It is generally possible to shorten the top tube, raise the height of the handlebars and lower the height of the seat and pedals. When you buy a cycle, ask your vendor “to table” its frame to align correctly with your physical needs.


Treating the cycling lower back pain


Assuming that you have contracted lower back pain from cycling, you should stop cycling and take to alternative exercises such as swimming and jogging to counter its adverse effects. In case you cannot stop cycling, you should keep doing stretches and abdominal exercises to keep your back healthy.


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Category: Cycling Fitness

About Mark Carrington

Keen cyclist and cycle tourist. Ridden by bicycle across Australia 7 times and crewed Race Across America. Experienced randonneur participated in Paris Brest Paris in 2007

One Response to “Cycling Lower Back Pain – Causes, Prevention, and Treatment”

  1. Thanks for the good tips.

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