General Cycling Discussion - Biking with back problems
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03-08-09, 01:43 AM
Hi, I have always been an avid cyclist either commuting or riding for fun. About ten years ago I was in a major car accident and have had problems with my upper back and shoulders ever since. I got back on my bike as soon as possible but found I could no longer bike for hours because of pain in my back. I found the typical mountain biking position but too much on the upper back so got a hybrid/comfort thing but it still isn't right. I am afraid to even try drop bars anymore, but it could be fine for all I know.
I have an old raleigh sprite that is nearly perfect and i am pretty much upright on that thing. I have read many love sonnets about the nitto albatross/north road/ dove bars etc which I am thinking of trying out on my other or future bikes. I have read something by Sheldon Brown about riding too upright being counterproductive, but I don't care if it is going to help keep me on the bike. Some have suggested switching to a recumbent but I am not ready for that yet.
Hello ,visit a pyhsiothearpist and get your back accessed, and rehabilitated. The time you can ride your bike with out pain could serve as an objective marker to your backs rehabilition as and when ready. Dont alter your life style unless nessary,with out fully engaging in rehabilition first.
JUst my thoughts.
03-08-09, 05:21 AM
"Some have suggested switching to a recumbent but I am not ready for that yet"-
is a good suggestion. Not sure I understand bias against recumbency.
I have a bad back and ride both, I think switching between styles helps. Suggest a short wheel base model with a fairly upright seating position- a Rans V-rex or a Rocket are good examples. Usually one can find a pre-enjoyed recumbent [recumbent owners have a huge N+1 lust, they are always selling great bikes to make room for another great bike- then get buyers remorse. So there is sort of a churning in recumbents. Lots of examples of bent bikers getting a great new bike, riding it for a while. Then getting the fever for a new ride, selling the old ride. Then a while later wanting the old ride back- some even have bought back the exact same old ride].
Other possible choices are the "crank forward" styles.
OR- have a bike custom built [here comes my N+1] & fit to adapt to your needs.
you really need an eval by a physical therapist, possible a specialist, ask your Doc.
If there is permanent damage you may simply have to go recumbent
If it's still hurt, you may still be in the 'take it easy' phase.
If you are ready to start your comeback, then exericse the core muscles. If you
go to a physical therapist, that's what you'll be doing.
Every try Pilates?
03-08-09, 06:45 AM
+1 get a recumbent
You've got the perfect excuse :)
03-08-09, 07:52 AM
I also, have back & neck problems & ride a mountain bike. A recumbent didn't work for me because of my bad neck. While I don't plan on riding for hours, even after 30 minutes my lower back would hurt. I converted it by adding an adjustable stem to change the handlebars to a more comfortable upright position. My stem is a good quality one, so I left it in place. You can also use one to find the right position for you, then swap out to a new stem with the correct angle & height.
03-09-09, 02:40 PM
I'd have to try a recumbent again but I found it did not help either as it is actually kind of painful to be sitting back like I was.
Alot of the pain and fatigue stems from structural problems due to the injuries and body healing in stupid fashion. Going to physio and having an assessment? This is pain I have been living with for ten years and was more or less told 'live with it' by physiotherapists and doctors-REPEATEDLY. But I do think there is something wrong that is being overlooked. I was trying chiro on and off but it did not help so I may try physio again. I am in Canada where you can't just go and see a specialist either and it can take ages to get in.
My job requires alot of lifting which might not help, but my back muscles are very strong, it isn't a problem of atrophy. If I were to spend all my time in physio, at the gym, doing yoga and swimming, daily massages I would feel a bit better but there are mechanical problems I have to live with. Nor would I have time to go to work! At some point I just got tired of it all but am going to start yoga and swimming again.
My husband wants to go touring or at least on day excursions with me. At present I can not do it without me whimpering at some point and us squabbling about how we went too far, he thinks i am exaggerating, blah blah blah.
I am planning on getting a properly sized bike and putting on upright bars with more uprightness. I keep drooling over the rivendell betty foys as they are the same size as my old raleigh which makes me smile when I ride it but it only has 4 gears so only goes to the store and back. My other regular daily ride bikes are actually not the right size frames at all but trusted the people I bought them from to size me properly. alas!
Thanks for your responses!
03-09-09, 03:03 PM
I was a Mountain biker for 16 years before I went road. I have had back problems for years but was lucky enough to find that cycling helped it but when I went road- I could not get into the drop position. Did the normal thing of raising the bars to the saddle but it took 6 months before I could get into the drops for more than 20 seconds. A year later I bought a new road bike. Full race geometry with the bars further away and 3" below the saddle. Had my doubts but the mechanic made me try the bike in the position he had set the bike up. Shocked me but no Back ache.
It just seemed that the stretched out position helped the back- wheras I was trying to get more upright.
Hope you get over the problem- but get to your LBS and try that road bike that you really want. Never know- It may work.
03-09-09, 03:27 PM
A crank forward like a Rans Dynamik is good for an injured back. The way you sit on it avoids stress and relieves pressure on the arms and hands also. It combines the benefits of the recumbent and diamond frame without the drawbacks of either. And its fun to ride one!
03-09-09, 05:13 PM
I happily ride both uprights and a recumbent. If my ride requires maneuverability I go with an upright. If comfort on a long ride is preferred, I go with the recumbent.
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