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Old 05-12-07, 05:45 AM   #1
montydad
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Lower Back Pain

Hi, all. I've taken up bike riding again...first time since I was a teenager. I'm now in my mid-30's. I bought a Trek 7.2FX hybrid so I could ride on the road or on the trail with the kids.

I've ridden it 3 days in a row now and when I finished last night, my lower back was really screaming at me. Is this normal or is it possible that I have the seat in the wrong position (too high?)?

Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

C
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Old 05-12-07, 05:54 AM   #2
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While seat adjustment may be the answer, you just might be prone to lower back pain. I ended up buying a lower back support, "Back-A-Line", from www.cyclegadgets.com. Don't be put off by the fact that their primary customers are motorcyclists.
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Old 05-12-07, 06:22 AM   #3
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Lower Back Pain

Well, that would make sense. I have experienced back pain on and off for the past few years. It seemed like it had gone away but it's flared up again now that I've started riding my bike.

I will check out that website. Maybe the lower back support is the way to go.

Thanks.

C
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Old 05-12-07, 10:00 AM   #4
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Since leg muscles are tied in with your lower back muscles, the cause of your pain could be many things. Conditioning and or bike fit would be my first two guesses. The handle bars could be too low; and the seat could be too low, too high, too far back, and maybe too far forward. Bike fit is important.

Since you have just started riding again, I would suggest taking a litle time for your muscles to recover. Try riding in lower gears until your muscles build back up. Then try to not get too impatient getting back into shape. I think this is the number one cause for bicycles and other atheletic equipment just sitting in a corner.

The rule of thumb is to increase your riding by ten percent per week. Going on short recovery rides helps with the Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) effect you are describing. The Training and Nutrition forum has good suggestions.
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Old 05-12-07, 01:43 PM   #5
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RE: Lower Back Pain

Thanks for the feedback. I have a feeling it's a combination of all of those things. I do think that either the handlebars are too low or the seat is too high...or perhaps both. I also think the seat is too far forward since my tail seems to be hanging off the back of the seat (and I'm not a large guy).

I might play with some of those adjustments and try not to overdo it until I get a little more conditioned.

Thanks.

C
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Old 05-12-07, 08:31 PM   #6
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I have pretty good core strength and usually ride 100+ miles a week. With my new bike I was having some lower back pain the first hour or so of my longer rides. I went in for a bike fit a week ago and I am much more comfortable on the bike and my back pain is 95% gone. So it cost me $110 but the more I ride the bike after the fit the more I appreciate how much better the bike now feels.
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Old 05-12-07, 08:40 PM   #7
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This link on bike fitting may help. Note the lower back pain section toward the bottom of the page:

http://www.caree.org/bike101bikefit.htm
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Old 05-13-07, 07:52 AM   #8
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Re:

Thanks for the link. I did lower the seat a couple of inches which seems to have made world of difference...at least for now.

I still want to go through the rest of that article because I'm not sure about handlebar height, seat fore/aft, position, etc.

Thanks for posting.

C
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Old 05-13-07, 09:30 AM   #9
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Your are more than welcome montydad. I read through a lot of those articles while I was learning to ride again. I just picked one that seemed most appropiate for your concerns.

This Jim Langely article explains beginning seat height adjustment better than the paragraph I had written:

http://www.jimlangley.net/crank/bikefit.html

A shoe with a different thickness of the sole at the heal will effect this method. But this method will get you close.

Enjoy the rides.

Last edited by edp773; 05-13-07 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 05-13-07, 02:48 PM   #10
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Let me start off by admitting that I have a bad back, I've had back surgery three times and probably should have had a fourth.

Bike fit is crucial and so are fit muscles. I have an issue with the automatic "raise the bars" recamendation though. The top of my bars are about 1 1/2" below the top of my seat, if I raise them I catch more wind and cause more strain on my lower back to overcome the additional drag. I like my bars low and my legs strong, less effort means less strain for me. That's my story and I'm sticking with it.
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Old 05-13-07, 03:34 PM   #11
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you may also look for a chiropractor in your area who rides a bike... would definately make your bike adjustments easier.
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Old 05-13-07, 07:28 PM   #12
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it's been a long time since u've ridden on a bike. chances are very good it's not a bike fit problem, but a fitness problem.

riding the bike hard, especially on hills/etc., taxes the lower back. just try riding the whole time without sitting down at all; it will strain your back big time. only fixes are to get fitter, lose weight.

sd
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Old 05-13-07, 07:56 PM   #13
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I trust my fitter and everything is well in the department. IMHO

My back issues are caused by inadequate stretching. I am not a very flexible person and if I skip my stretches my legs and back will tighten up like crazy. This is generally solved by one stretch, I try to touch my toes for a few minutes. This loosens things up and the problem is solved.
Also, my back issues have lessened as I moved to a more aero bike. Yes, I am aware this is contrary to what most people say. It may be due to forcing me into a position with more weight on my hands and less on my rear. Plus, I stretch more as I sprint or sit in the drops.

YMMV
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Old 05-13-07, 08:18 PM   #14
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Crazy as it may sound, strengthen your abdominals.

Every muscle group has an opposing muscle group. You are, by riding, making your back stronger. If you don't work the opposite group your back can cinch up too tight.

Try a few sit ups and see if it doesn't ease things. . .
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Old 05-13-07, 08:28 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montydad
I've ridden it 3 days in a row now C
This could also be part of the problem. No time for your back muscles to recover. I ride every other day. And my back only bothers me a little bit from riding. It's getting stronger all the time.
I just started riding again (fall 05), first time since I was a teenager. I'm 47. I rode every day as well when I started riding again. Big Mistake. Now I ride every other day. 20 miles each ride now. Building back up to 40 mile rides where I was last fall.

My back problems? 70% of my spine fused together in 1975. Fall on ice in 1992 (compressed disk below the fusion). Hit a moose on the highway (in a car) in 1997. (was traveling 65mph in a 1988 Monte Carlo SS).

I rode 10 miles in 2005 (1st year Sept-Nov)
I rode 1105 miles in 2006
I have a goal to double that this year, 162 miles so far.
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Old 05-13-07, 09:04 PM   #16
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Re:

Yes, I have tried to stick with 5 miles or less in this 'first week' back on the bike. I also switched to a more flat route until my body re-adjusts to the routine.

I'm stretching a little more before and after as well, which I think helps.

Perhaps most importantly, I'm trying to drop a few pounds too. I'm a 'stocky' guy, not heavy-looking at all, but very broad-shouldered and packing 200 pounds at 5'10". If I can drop 20 or 30, it would be a lot less weight to cart around and it would probably be easier on the back.

The one thing I'm noticing now is that my hands tingle for a while after I get off of the bike. Last night, while I was sleeping, my hands 'fell asleep' 2 or 3 times. It's a very strange sensation.

Anyone else experience that?

Thanks.

C
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Old 05-13-07, 09:58 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Hamlin
Crazy as it may sound, strengthen your abdominals.

Every muscle group has an opposing muscle group. You are, by riding, making your back stronger. If you don't work the opposite group your back can cinch up too tight.

Try a few sit ups and see if it doesn't ease things. . .
+1
This is another thing I have done to alleviate my back issues. 100 situps a day (4 sets of 25) seems to be the magic number for me.
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Old 05-13-07, 10:35 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montydad

The one thing I'm noticing now is that my hands tingle for a while after I get off of the bike. Last night, while I was sleeping, my hands 'fell asleep' 2 or 3 times. It's a very strange sensation.
This happens, but it isn't "normal." Try cycling gloves first. If that doesn't do it, spring for barends. Also, again, it could be a fit issue. You want to take care of this.
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Old 05-14-07, 05:42 AM   #19
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Re:

Maybe this is a dumb question...but what are 'barends'?
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Old 05-14-07, 06:54 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montydad
Maybe this is a dumb question...but what are 'barends'?
Flat bars only provide a single hand position which may put strain on the wrists. Bar ends are perpendicular extensions that fit on the end of flat bars to create additional hand positions so the stresses can be shifted on longer rides. They come in a number of shapes and styles. (Don't confuse them with bar end shifters or plugs, those are something completely different.) Google images is your friend:

http://images.google.com/images?hl=e...h+Images&gbv=2
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Old 05-30-07, 04:08 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by montydad
Yes, I have tried to stick with 5 miles or less in this 'first week' back on the bike. I also switched to a more flat route until my body re-adjusts to the routine.

I'm stretching a little more before and after as well, which I think helps.

Perhaps most importantly, I'm trying to drop a few pounds too. I'm a 'stocky' guy, not heavy-looking at all, but very broad-shouldered and packing 200 pounds at 5'10". If I can drop 20 or 30, it would be a lot less weight to cart around and it would probably be easier on the back.

The one thing I'm noticing now is that my hands tingle for a while after I get off of the bike. Last night, while I was sleeping, my hands 'fell asleep' 2 or 3 times. It's a very strange sensation.

Anyone else experience that?

Thanks.

C
hey C, as a fellow big guy at 6'2, 220, i relate with ur bakc pain and the hand tingling. i actually found that not using gloves helps; but try using gloves/not using gloves and see what works for you.

i think it's all conditioning and weight problems though. my hand tingling went away when i bought some 20 lb barbells and started using them/curls/etc. just whenever i was bored... it strengthens grip, wrists, forearm, etc. g'luck!

sd
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Old 05-31-07, 06:20 PM   #22
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Stretch your hamstrings AFTER every ride.

Best way to do that without putting pressure on the lower lumbar is to lie flat on the floor up against a door jamb, with one leg on the floor adjacent to the wall. Raise the other leg straight up and against the door jam. Hold that for 4 to 6 minutes, then do the other leg.

Best stretch ever for reducing the pulling strain on the lower back caused by hamstrings that are shortening up as you've begun riding.
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Old 05-31-07, 07:25 PM   #23
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