Back pain, ouuch – can bike riding really make a bad back worse?
Biking is a popular form of exercise and many people with lower back problems prefer it to other sports and activities because it triggers fewer back injuries while still allowing a significant workout.
While biking may be less jarring to the spine than many other forms of exercise and cause fewer back injuries, it also does nothing to help sufferers of back pain. It may over time, in the absence of other body conditioning – allow back muscles to become weakened and therefore, more susceptible to injury.
It is a wise idea for those that spend much of their total exercise budget riding a bike, that they also work out a core body routine to keep that spine aligned and those muscles strong.
What Kind of Bike?
Mountain biking is perhaps the worst of all the biking sports when it comes to lower back pain. Those riders, if experiencing pain, should work with their sports Doctor or Chiropractor to determine the best back-strengthening warmups and exercises.
No one wants extra stress, pain, aches or discomfort in their lives. Choosing the right type of bike and how you ride it may help to minimise unwanted back aches.
Stationary exercise biking is very gentle on the spine and if you’re doing your stationary bike ride at the gym. You will have access to core body exercise equipment and to aerobics classes, etc. Spinning classes are particularly spine-strengthening and can give you a great workout before you ride. Think of it as your warmup.
Biking on the street is hazardous because you’re totally out-there with other bikes, cars, pedestrians who may or may not see you as you approach, or as they approach your blind-spot. Don’t forget the assorted neighbourhood dogs, cats, bouncing soccer balls and whatever else may cross your path. The best way to avoid any injury, including the back injury, is to ride 100% alert at all times and to wear proper head and body protection.
Where to Sit?
Some people feel comfortable leaning forward on the bicycle seat and placing their weight forward on the handlebars. Depending on where you sit and how you lean. Your biking posture may contribute to feelings of pain if you already have underlying conditions. A condition called lumbar spinal stenosis may be made worse by high-impact biking.
Additionally, disc herniation or compression of the nerve root may also be made worse when biking.
Talk to your Chiropractor if you notice pain or discomfort when biking.
What Can I Do?
While exercise can supercharge your productivity, you have to mindful of those higher-impact activities that may cause unwanted pains and aches.
By purchasing the right kind of bike for your situation, you may pre-empt additional injury. Further, anything which lowers the jarring and jolting felt by the rider can help. Things like the gel seat and dense neoprene foam handlebar grips can dramatically lower sudden back compression during your ride. Even wearing toe cleats can help your back by keeping your feet on the pedals and not bouncing off whatever hazards you’re riding through.
Also, getting the pedal height correct has solved many a problem for riders. Visit your local bike shop if you need help to find the correct seat height ratio or if you need pedal blocks or cleats.
Talk to your Chiropractor
Let your Chiropractor know that you’re on your bike for (x-amount) of hours per day. Also, what kind of bike you ride. Discuss with him/her any back or neck problems you’ve noticed and ask for some simple warmup exercises to strengthen your back prior to each ride.
Finally, if you’re doing everything right, just enjoy the ride and the workout! Cheers!
- Chiropractic and back pain – http://www.chirolife.com.au/introduction-back-pain-chiropractic/