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Old 06-22-04, 09:03 AM   #1
Tennessee
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Mom with back pain

My mom has bad lower back pain. She does not get much exercise and I am thinking of recommending she and my dad buy bikes and start going for leisurely rides. I'm hoping this will get her exercise while enjoying some time outside. Also hopefully strengthening her back almost without her even knowing she is doing so. She is constantly going to a chiropractor and a masseuse and it just isn't helping her back pain. Personally, I think she needs more exercise.

Can anyone recommend a bike, or bikes, for my parents? They are in their mid-late 50's. My dad has just recently lost 100 lbs. just by watching his diet and doing an afternoon walk. I know he would enjoy the activity with mom and I am hoping to get her more active as well.

Thanks for any help you can give me.
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Old 06-22-04, 06:24 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Tennessee
My mom has bad lower back pain. She does not get much exercise and I am thinking of recommending she and my dad buy bikes and start going for leisurely rides. I'm hoping this will get her exercise while enjoying some time outside. Also hopefully strengthening her back almost without her even knowing she is doing so. She is constantly going to a chiropractor and a masseuse and it just isn't helping her back pain. Personally, I think she needs more exercise.

Can anyone recommend a bike, or bikes, for my parents? They are in their mid-late 50's. My dad has just recently lost 100 lbs. just by watching his diet and doing an afternoon walk. I know he would enjoy the activity with mom and I am hoping to get her more active as well.

Thanks for any help you can give me.

Hi,

Many years ago I suffered a back injury due to a fall while horseback riding on trails. I blew a disc out and wound up with the sciatic nerve being pinched. After about a year of healing I was allowed to ride my road bike and even my horses (walk/posting trot only, no canter/gallop) by my doctor. Even now I have some lower back pain to a degree on my road bike or even a mountain bike. Back exercised weren't too effective either. I just switched to a recumbent a few weeks ago and I absolutely LOVE IT. NO PAIN. Not even in my wrists which would go numb after 15 minutes of riding any other bike. Discuss this with their doctors and see what they think. The seat back on most recumbents is adjustable and gives excellent support. This could be what they need to start riding.

'bent Brian
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Old 06-22-04, 10:06 PM   #3
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I'm certainly no expert, but gentle, regular movement should help. If you can find a good physical therapist (if that's the right word in the US) hopefully they can find the main cause for the imbalance and recommend light, easy stretches and movement. Gentle regular excercise (walking, cycling, swimming) should keep things in check. Don't forget to overlook general posture advice - she could be sitting in a terrible unergonomic couch for long periods of time, at a computer with a poorly adjusted chair/desk/workstation, driving in a car for long periods of time with incorrectly, adjusted seat/wheel position, it could even be her shoes if she spends along time standing. Good luck!
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Old 06-22-04, 11:38 PM   #4
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"strengthening her back almost without her even knowing she is doing so. She is constantly going to a chiropractor and a masseuse and it just isn't helping "

Geriatrics and physiotherapy, later> sport medicine. A persons with cronic problems\ perhaps undiagnosed> involving frame mechanics\ exercise can greatly aggravate the discomfort.
not sure of the stresses the back is under walking compared to biking. The bike should be fitted to a position to the back, again> specific sport medicine.

I'm getting old too. Work on it tho- go fer rides w\ mom. Will happen if you do.
>Jef.

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Old 06-23-04, 09:20 AM   #5
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Maybe I should search out a good physical therapist in the area. I don't know why but I hadn't really thought of that. Thanks for that idea!

As for bikes I was thinking of some sort of recumbent because of the back support. I just don't have any idea of where to start looking at recumbents. Maybe I should start with a physical therapist that maybe specializes in sports medicine and talk to them about my ideas.

Thanks!
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Old 06-23-04, 07:59 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Tennessee
Maybe I should search out a good physical therapist in the area. I don't know why but I hadn't really thought of that. Thanks for that idea!

As for bikes I was thinking of some sort of recumbent because of the back support. I just don't have any idea of where to start looking at recumbents. Maybe I should start with a physical therapist that maybe specializes in sports medicine and talk to them about my ideas.

Thanks!
I think you are going in the right direction. Get your doctors advice first. Do an internet search on recumbents. There are many types and styles. There are perhaps two broad general categories. They are short wheelbase and long wheelbase. And of course variations of the above. The short wheelbase places the front wheel under your knees and the pedals are out in front of the bike on a boom. They handle quick but can give a rougher ride. The long wheelbase is where the pedals are behind the front wheel and the bike itself is quite long. These don't turn as sharp or quick but have an easier ride. My recumbent, a Rans Tailwind, is what is known as a "compact long wheelbase". It is just a tad shorter than a traditional long wheelbase touring bike and it has small 20" wheels. It works well for commuting and just running errands. There are many manufacturers of recumbents, Rans, Burley, Brichetta (spelling?), Sun (EZ Racers), and Cycle Genius to name a few. Once you find a bike you might be interested in, find a dealer in your state that handles that particular brand and go for a test ride. Be prepared to drive since recumbent dealers can be somewhat scarce. Be prepared for some "sticker shock". Recumbents are more money but in my opinion they are worth every penny spent. Have fun looking!

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Old 06-24-04, 10:38 AM   #7
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If there's a YMCA near you, they have a program called "Y's Way to a Healthy Back." My dad followed it for 20 years, and his back pain lessened from severe enough to keep him in bed to just an occasional twinge.
As for bikes, you probably should talk to a doctor about what he or she recommends, but seems to me one of the most important things would be to get the handlebars up AT LEAST as high as the saddle, and maybe higher. That rules out most common road bikes, and it's probably a good thing. Look at mountain bikes or so-called "comfort bikes." They'll want fairly fat tires, for stability and comfort--speed isn't what they're after, at least not now.
One suggestion: Take a look at the Electra Townie (http://www.electrabike.com/04/bikes/...wnie_home.html). A friend of mine just bought one, and he loves it.
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Old 08-31-04, 09:28 PM   #8
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Couldn't resist making a comment. My wife was involved in an auto accident 5 years ago, and has visited doctors and chiro's until the checkbook ran empty. As we used to enjoy bike riding, we did a lot of research and ended up buying a Bike E recumbent. (Bike E is no longer in business, but they are still available and there are other "bents" out there.

The bottom line is that she can bike as long as she wants now, as the upright position in a "chair" style seat puts no pressure on the lower back. She also had a shoulder seperation that is aggrevated when riding a conventional bike where you tend to hunch forward toward the handlebar. The Bike E solves all of this and we can enjoy riding with absolutely no ill effects for her.
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