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  1. #1
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    Will recumbents ease back pain?

    I have ridden road bikes for years, but 5 months ago hurt my back moving furniture. Phsyio has diagnosed it as a bulged disc very low in my back. The result is that I cannot ride a regular bike for more than 20 or 30 minutes without suffering low back pain for a few days. I've been through re-hab and have resumed all my daily activities, but my back will just not accept that bent over riding position (and I've tried all sort of stem/handlebar/seat combos trying to get comfortable).

    Anyhow, I miss riding a lot and I am wondering if a recumbent might be the answer. Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?

    Thanks,

    J-P

  2. #2
    dbg
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    Maybe. I recently acquired a recumbent to do a bike trip because back problems were keeping me off a regular bike. I rode 200 miles with no problems but I wore an inflatable back support (like an inflatable fanny pack) the whole time. Recumbents are pretty cool, and almost too easy.

    Back problems tend to get better slowly, so yours may still improve to where you can ride normal again. And a close friend who also has back problems strongly recommended that I NOT pursue recumbent as a remedy for back problems.

    I still have mine and am unsure whether I'll keep using it. I am now back on a regular bike and feeling OK (if you call sore crotch, numb toes, and numb hands OK)
    David Green, Naperville, IL USA "The older I get, the better I used to be" --Lee Trevino

  3. #3
    Senior Member BlazingPedals's Avatar
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    Bents aren't a panacea, but a bent could work for you. The best way to tell if they'll help your condition is to try one. Your profile doesn't tell us where you live, but there are often bent groups somewhere near, and bent riders are usually enthusiastic enough about their machines that they're willing to offer test rides to someone who expresses genuine interest. I recommend starting out trying to find one with an upright seat position, i.e. Easy Racer or RANS, maybe Lightning, and go from there. More reclined positions may be faster, but harder to learn and possibly harder on your back when getting on/off. A co-worker of mine has had two operations for a herniated disc in his lower back. After selling his road bikes, he now rides a RANS Rocket with no discomfort. (YMMV)

  4. #4
    Dr.Deltron
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    When my lower back starts hurting, I ride the Tour Easy. That bent actually makes my back feel BETTER!

    Just my personal experience.

  5. #5
    bobkat
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    I've had a couple of major back surgeries and some days can hardly walk. To bike on anupright more than a few miles is a guaranteed way to have lots of back pain.
    Maybe won't work for everyone, but my long wheelbase bent does absolute wonders for me. I honestly don't know what I'd do without it! Like Dr. Deltron says, when I have back pain and get rolling, my pain goes away and I'm much better for a couple of days. But if I don't do 10 - 15 miles every day I have nothing but trouble.
    Rent one, borrow one, steal one (don't do that!) but try one for a week or so. If it feels good, do it!

  6. #6
    Senior Member oilfreeandhappy's Avatar
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    I've never had back problems, but I used to get some back aches, pains and stiffness. I did a lot of touring this Summer on my recumbent (much more riding than I've ever done), and I don't remember any problems, other than a sore tailbone after a few centuries. This was more from rubbing though, and I just padded the area more.
    Jim
    Make a BOLD Statement While Cycling!

  7. #7
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    I hurt my back a few weeks ago at work (basically dislocated a vertabrae) it went back in after few days but the back is still settling down pain wise. I started riding again just over a week ago, I was more comfortable (pain free) riding either of my bents than sitting in a chair, laying down, or standing.
    I would not have been able to ride my MTB for any amount of money at the time due to pain.
    When my back was at its worst the most comforable seat for it in the house was my home made SWB, unfortunateley it was not practical to sit on full time in the lounge.
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  8. #8
    610
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    ill tell you, as a bent owner there is a part of my body that started to hurt that didnt before

    my face

    my face always hurts because i smile so much, and I just can't make it go away

    sigh
    Hotdogs give me energy to fight off my daddy

  9. #9
    Dr.Deltron
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    Quote Originally Posted by 610
    Hotdogs give me energy to fight off my daddy
    Is that something that should be reported to the authorities?!?

    But I WILL agree with you about "recumbent face"!

  10. #10
    Better than you are
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    Yes they can help with back pain. I switched to recumbent after suffering 2 herniated discs in the lower back and three in my neck. I could not ride a "normal" bike anymore. But I ride my recumbent all the time.

  11. #11
    Cycling Anarchist Trsnrtr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pompous Ass
    Yes they can help with back pain. I switched to recumbent after suffering 2 herniated discs in the lower back and three in my neck. I could not ride a "normal" bike anymore. But I ride my recumbent all the time.
    I've had similar results with bents even though that wasn't why I went to one. I have degenerative arthritis in one of my neck vertabrae. It hurts on a DF but is fine on a bent. I also have a disc that's almost gone in my lower back and the two adjacent vertabrae are out of alignment and also have degenerative arthritis. I have mild pain almost all of the time and a DF really aggravates it. The hardshell seats on my bents give that area support and actually make it feel better. I just got back from a 56 mile ride and my back feels better than before I left. I couldn't say that if I had been riding an upright. So, for these kind of pains, bents are better.
    Dennis T

  12. #12
    Recumbent Evangelist
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    By all means, find a store or someone that has a recumbent, and try one! If it works for you, then you can begin the process of drooling over the dozens of different styles and brands. You will constantly annoy your wife showing pictures of them. You will visit the manufacturer's sites daily. You will make spreadsheets comparing them.

    It's okay, all this is normal.
    www.rebel-cycles.com

    The official Canadian dealer of TW-Bents recumbent bicycles!

  13. #13
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    A little off tack

    Has anyone put an electic motor on a recumbant?
    I see Geebee has both, ever combined them?
    Regards,
    Nathan

  14. #14
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    I slipped a disc in my lower back almost ten years ago and haven't been able to ride an upright bike since. I had to sell my beloved mountain bike, dirt bike and lost my career in the trucking industry because of it. I thought I was off two (or three) wheels forever until I discovered Bents. I can ride all day without any discomfort whatsoever. It's great!

    -S

  15. #15
    Senior Member geebee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nburgess
    Has anyone put an electic motor on a recumbant?
    I see Geebee has both, ever combined them?
    Regards,
    Nathan
    Yep, happy to discuss, but start a new thread so we don't highjack this one.
    Cheers
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  16. #16
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    bad back

    I have a terrible back - Spondylothesis and severe sciatica impingement. Recumbent biking SAVED ME. I could not ride an upright for 30 seconds and now go on forty mile recumbent rides and my back has actually strengthened. Recumbent biking builds up the thigh and backside muscles and also the stomach muscles which help support the back. Recumbent biking has saved my exercise life!!!

  17. #17
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    Same here. I kept having back pain on my mountain bike. I went for a 60 minute ride on my mountain bike August 29th 2006 and came home after 20 min. because of back pain. I decided if a recumbent did not work, that was it for my exercising. Test rode a Sun EZ Sport on the 30th and have not looked back since. I now have over 1800 miles on it and my back is slowly getting stronger. It does not hurt at all when riding. Recumbent biking has saved my exercise life too!!!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpwolff
    I have ridden road bikes for years, but 5 months ago hurt my back moving furniture. Phsyio has diagnosed it as a bulged disc very low in my back. The result is that I cannot ride a regular bike for more than 20 or 30 minutes without suffering low back pain for a few days. I've been through re-hab and have resumed all my daily activities, but my back will just not accept that bent over riding position (and I've tried all sort of stem/handlebar/seat combos trying to get comfortable).

    Anyhow, I miss riding a lot and I am wondering if a recumbent might be the answer. Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?

    Thanks,

    J-P
    JP.......As a newcomer to bents but an oldtimer to back pain, I'll give some thoughts. A bent won't "fix" the back but it will allow it to heal while getting exercise. Fixing the back might require.....spinal steriod shots, rehab, adjustments, or maybe surgery. Regardless, it will require time to heal, and constantly irritating it will not help. A bent might well put you in a position to stay in shape while exercising without doing more damage. I found this to be true with my recumbent exercise bike. It was the only exercise that I could do while healing.

    Now I'm going to throw something out there that is going to be controversial and I know that I will catch some flak on, but what the heck. It won't be the first time that I've irritated someone. First let me say that I and my wife have ridden bikes for years. Certainly not as much as many of our friends or most here. It is great fun and I fully intend on keeping our fat tire bikes and our hybrids. They serve a certain need that probably would not be completely filled by bents. BUT the road bikes are gone..... never to be replaced ..........except by bents

    I feel that the way upright bikes are ridden by a great many noncompetitvie/racing individuals is nonproductive at best and harmful at worst. Just because the cycling greats ride a certain bike and in a certain way to be the best in their sport does not mean that it's best for the average cyclist. Cycling as a sport is interesting, fun for the participants and spectators, but should not be copied by the vast majority of casual riders.

    Just as weightlifting is great for everyone but as it is performed by professional bodybuilders is not all that healthy or desireable. Everone wants to mimic Arnold or Lance or whomever but it's better to to what's best for the individual.

    Ride in whatever way allows you to in comfort and enjoyment. If you don't, look forward to many more problems from your health. I'm speaking from experience.....not from bicyling but from other competitive sports like football. When you want to be better at a sport you do whatever it takes to get better at the sport but don't make the mistake of thinking that participating in that sport is the best way to particpate in that same sport on a noncompetitve level(just ask all my broken but mended bones).

    Also, stretch after EVERY riding session. Russian athletes for years were not allowed to use cycling as a energy development exercise because it was not a full range motion. The muscle over time would not extend to their full and optimum range. Stretching immediately after riding will eliminate this. It doesn't have to be much just do it. Without this you will pull unnaturally at your structure and many things (like back pain) will be the result.
    Last edited by Opedaler; 01-17-07 at 05:03 PM.

  19. #19
    TMT
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    Try them out; but try as many different types as you can. you might get surprised.
    trike=three wheels. the ride of the unstable; it's not cycle cross! it's psyco cross.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Northwestrider's Avatar
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    All I can say is that in all area's,not just my back, a bent for me is more comfortable.

  21. #21
    bobkat
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    I'm no expert but I'd agree with you Opedaler. Lots of noncompetative Lance wannabees out there.

  22. #22
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    Changing to a LWB recumbent (Sun EZ Sport) eliminated crotch, low back, shoulder and neck pain. Having new h-bars (4 1/2 inches longer) eliminated wrist and forearm pain. I now ride 2,000 miles a year and have no pain. I love the upright seating position with some lumbar support. My back pain problems were from stretching the muscles, not disc problems. Talk to your doctor and try to borrow one for a few days. Then you can really try it out. bk

  23. #23
    Cruzer johntolhurst's Avatar
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    Doubtless

    Quote Originally Posted by jpwolff
    Anyhow, I miss riding a lot and I am wondering if a recumbent might be the answer. Has anyone had or heard of similar experiences?

    Thanks,

    J-P
    This guy had back surgery which meant that he stiff and sore every morning. Then he gets on his cruzbike for a ride and is set for the day. He blew me away when he said is was going to ride the length of the UK in 10 days. That's 10 century rides in a row, after back surgery. He's made it into a charity ride: http://www.justgiving.com/cruzbike

    John Tolhurst
    cruzbike.com

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