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  1. #1
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Long bike ride + long drive afterwards = lower back pain and stiffness. Help!

    Hi

    After a long bike ride, I usually soak in a hot bath immediately and it really helps to reduce next day pain and soreness.

    However when I drive and cycle (2-3 hour car drives), I have to sit it out and dunk when I arrive, which is already too late as the pain and stiffness settle in... the next day is a nightmare.

    Does anyone experience this and have any tips and tricks? Maybe a heating pad between myself and the car seat?

    (And to you sarcastic's out there, no I can't install a tub in my trunk, already thought of that )
    ______________________________________________

    I just wanna ride my bike.

  2. #2
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    I have the same issue. I will stretch before the drive and stop part way home to walk and stretch again.

  3. #3
    Señor Member USAZorro's Avatar
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    Vitamin I? aka ibuprofin.
    The search for inner peace continues...

  4. #4
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Ice on and off during your car ride to reduce/prevent inflammation.

  5. #5
    I Love My Dream
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    Stretching!
    It's none of my business what other people think of me.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Strengthen your core, start/maintain a daily stretching routine, keep an ice bag in a cooler for afterwards (my PT says ice is a wonder drug), ibuprofen - all in that order. Also, I find that stretching my hamstrings helps alot if my back is stiff.

  7. #7
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    stretch your psoas and hamstrings

    10-15 minutes of stretching before you get in the car can go a long way. If it's a long drive home, I'd consider pulling over to stretch on the way.

  8. #8
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    breaking the ride up with a couple pit stops to stretch a little sounds good to me. There are the usual supplements to inhibit cramping like potassium and magnesium (tiny bit). I've heard that some compression clothing can be useful for this too. it may sound strange though to whip on a pair of tights just for the drive home - but that just might help quite a lot
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  9. #9
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the great responses.

    Stretching I already do, but maybe not to the extent of +10 minutes. I'll adjust that for the next rides!

    As for ice, is it better to apply cold or heat on the lower back after a long ride?
    ______________________________________________

    I just wanna ride my bike.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Daveyboy's Avatar
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    Definitely ice. I use a 2 quart ziploc bag full applied directly to the skin of the affected area, but no longer than 20 minutes at a time.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Richard Cranium's Avatar
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    As others have said - ice is probably the best, safest therapy. I would suggest adjusting the seat position several times during the drive as well.

  12. #12
    Senior Member jarhead#42's Avatar
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    Your starting to have issues with the nerves in your spine.It can get much worse.Core muscles work and pray that you have no disc or pinched nerve issue.I kinda ruined my lumbar cycling.Took me 60 thousand miles,but I did a good job.Now,the only way for me to control the pain is doing extreme rides and pain management.I am still in the best shape I can be in.But,all I can do is ride.No lifting,walking or running hurts.The only time I am pain free is on a extreme climb.I have to do them to live now and avoid a huge surgery

  13. #13
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    FYI, static stretching -- e.g. doing a stretch and holding it for 30 seconds -- apparently not only won't help, it's actually counter-productive. It temporarily weakens your muscles and does not increase your flexibility. Dynamic stretching, on the other hand, is much more beneficial.

    DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) is not an easy thing to track down, and back pain is not well understood either. However if you find that heat does help, then I would agree that you should try a heating pad in the car.

    Other possible options include adjusting your bike's fit and working on your core strength.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    I hurt my back on an 82 mile ride concluding with a very steep hill. (It was on the Second Annual 50+ Forum Weekend Ride of the Finger Lakes.) I was in agony on the seven hour drive home to Boston, and was slightly relieved by a nap supine on the floor, but continued to have an annoying pain for days afterwards, along with a parathesia on my anterior thigh. I stayed off the bike for about 10 days, beginning at about day 6 post-injury and at about day 7 into my layoff I felt a noticeable improvement.

    I did want to recomend this following item. At about day 3 post injury, I needed to drive 700 miles in one day. A friend of mine lent me a therapeutic item which I found even more useful than Advil. It's called a "Theracane" hand held massager, and can be seen on the website of the chain, "Relax the Back Store." http://www.relaxtheback.com/ While driving I wedged it into position and ocasionally manipulated it. It made the 700 mile drive, as well as other posture positions tolerable. I realized that I was getting better when I could leave home without it. I can't claim it rehabiliated me by itself, but it did keep me more comfortable.

    My friend who lent it to me is Korean. I had never seen such a device, and it looked strange. So before I knew the real name of the product, I was calling it a "Korean joy stick."

  15. #15
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    I hurt my back on an 82 mile ride concluding with a very steep hill. (It was on the Second Annual 50+ Forum Weekend Ride of the Finger Lakes.) I was in agony on the seven hour drive home to Boston, and was slightly relieved by a nap supine on the floor, but continued to have an annoying pain for days afterwards, along with a parathesia on my anterior thigh. I stayed off the bike for about 10 days, beginning at about day 6 post-injury and at about day 7 into my layoff I felt a noticeable improvement.

    I did want to recomend this following item. At about day 3 post injury, I needed to drive 700 miles in one day. A friend of mine lent me a therapeutic item which I found even more useful than Advil. It's called a "Theracane" hand held massager, and can be seen on the website of the chain, "Relax the Back Store." http://www.relaxtheback.com/ While driving I wedged it into position and ocasionally manipulated it. It made the 700 mile drive, as well as other posture positions tolerable. I realized that I was getting better when I could leave home without it. I can't claim it rehabiliated me by itself, but it did keep me more comfortable.

    My friend who lent it to me is Korean. I had never seen such a device, and it looked strange. So before I knew the real name of the product, I was calling it a "Korean joy stick."
    Great story with a positive finish! Thanks for sharing.
    ______________________________________________

    I just wanna ride my bike.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xfimpg View Post
    Great story with a positive finish! Thanks for sharing.
    Thanks for the nice reply. With any injury or illness, I want to know when I can ride again, so I detailed my course. At the time of the injury, I posted my concerns to a thread about the ride:

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
    GREAT FINGER LAKE BIKE TOUR -- THE RIDE

    …I wanted the bragging right to the Hill climb [at the end of 80 miles]. I was able to ride upright the entire length without wobbling but at a cadence estimated at about 20 rpms in lowest gear…

    I left the campground by about 11:30 PM and drove north along that morning’s route on Rte 14 and arrived at the first service center on the NY Thruway at about 12:45 AM to catch a nap in the car. However I soon developed an agonizing right lower back pain, about 7 to 8 on a 10 pain scale. I just couldn’t get comfortable, even after Advil, and some Vicodin I had from a previous dental visit. I tried to sleep up until about 4:30 AM. Then I pretty much drove from rest stop to rest stop to stretch and nap for a few minutes at a time. I got home about 1:00 PM and it was too painful to sit at the computer. A three hour nap on flat on my back on the floor reduced the pain to a tolerable ache, and I did go for a two mile walk with my daughter on Sunday evening.

    … Throughout the pain I was thinking, “Oh great, emergency back surgery on my week off, with a planned 700-mile drive to Michigan on Wednesday for a family wedding.” I guess the back pain was retribution for my hubris in riding up the monster hill. I was having some noticeable discomfort in that area while riding up the hill but it didn't bother me again until after driving the car. This Monday morning I awoke at about 4:00 AM, refreshed, and the pain is almost gone. I was at the keyboard for over two uninterrupted hours this morning.
    Actually though as described previously, the back pain did become an annoying ache that lasted about two weeks, with a ten day layoff the bike. I’m a Fifty-Plus First Wave Baby-Boomer with about four episodes of lower back pain with sciatica, all on the right side, since about age 25, so YMMV (your mileage may vary). Of note during those episodes, cycling was not a problem, and though I was not a daily cyclist during the first, this is the first time I intentionally stayed off the bike.
    Last edited by Jim from Boston; 07-19-10 at 06:50 AM.

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