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Back Pain

Back Pain when cycling Spoiling your ride?

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through your ride before that nagging, aching pain starts to spread itself through your lower back. Once back pain has started on the ride, it is likely the only thing that will ease it is either painkillers or prematurely ending your ride. Don’t despair, there is a way to stop back pain when cycling.

Unless you have a history of lower back problems, which we will get to later, nearly all back pain that occurs on the bike is down to a poor bike fit. This is good news; it means that nearly all back pain that occurs on the bike can be cured with a good bike fit!

The most obvious factor that can cause back pain is how “aggressive” your back angle is. This is how low you lean forward on the bike. There are many factors which would determine what the ideal back angle is for you; including the type of riding you do, your flexibility and any relevant injury history. If you look at the professional peloton, you will see the vast majority ride with very aggressive back angles. They can achieve this through years of training and body adaptations to allow them to hold that position for long periods of time. For us mere mortals, we simply would not be able to sustain these positions without causing pain or injury.

Another major contributor to back pain is the pelvis. The pelvis attaches to the lower back via the coccyx bone at the base of your spine, and to some extent it controls how hard our backs need to work to enable us to bend. Leaning forward on the bike not only needs our spine to flex, but also requires our pelvis to tilt forwards too. If you have a lot of stiffness in your pelvis, it won’t be able to tilt as far forwards as it needs to. This will cause the joints in your spine to overwork as they try and compensate for the stiffness in the pelvis. Over time, this can cause excess stress on the joints and eventually cause pain and/or injury.

If you have pre-existing low back pain which was unrelated to cycling, there is still hope of having a pain free ride! Your bike fit in this case would be vital to reduce the stress and load on your joints and muscles to reduce the risk of the pain occurring in the saddle. Our Bike Fit service considers all the necessary factors to find a position that suits your body and alleviate your pain.

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