Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Fifty Plus (50+)
Reload this Page >

Bicycling and My Back

Notices
Fifty Plus (50+) Share the victories, challenges, successes and special concerns of bicyclists 50 and older. Especially useful for those entering or reentering bicycling.

Bicycling and My Back

Old 06-27-16, 10:05 AM
  #1  
Todzilla
Full Member
Thread Starter
 
Todzilla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: NC
Posts: 231

Bikes: Cannondale CAAD 10 5 105, Peugeot PX-10

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Bicycling and My Back

I have degenerative spine disease (as do most folks over 50).

I have episodes of pain, but far fewer and less intense if I'm riding regularly.

Does anyone else find that cycling is a real life-saver for their backs?

-Todzilla
Todzilla is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 11:04 AM
  #2  
David Bierbaum
Senior Member
 
David Bierbaum's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: St. Louis Metro East area
Posts: 1,633

Bikes: 1992 Specialized Crossroads (red)

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 26 Post(s)
Liked 35 Times in 19 Posts
Me! Me! Before I started to once again ride regularly, I was having really bad episodes of "even twitching makes me want to throw up from the pain" lower back pain, and when I haven't ridden in a while, my back starts reminding me that it's ready willing and able to go back to it's previous state.
David Bierbaum is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 04:05 PM
  #3  
bbbean 
Senior Member
 
bbbean's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Missouri
Posts: 2,504

Bikes: Giant Propel, Cannondale SuperX, Univega Alpina Ultima

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 569 Post(s)
Liked 316 Times in 180 Posts
Yup - cycling and yoga efectively keep my sciatica at bay. It only flares up when I take more than a day off the bike or have to sit through flights/meetings in bad chairs.
__________________

Formerly fastest rider in the grupetto, currently slowest guy in the peloton

bbbean is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 04:21 PM
  #4  
takenreasy
Full Member
 
takenreasy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 435

Bikes: 83 Bianchi Special 96 Specialized Stump Jumper Comp 09 Gary Fisher Paragon 09 Surly Cross Check 11 Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 75 Times in 50 Posts
You must keep your core strong as you age to prevent back pain.
takenreasy is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 04:47 PM
  #5  
drlogik 
Senior Member
 
drlogik's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: North Carolina
Posts: 1,669

Bikes: '87-ish Pinarello Montello; '89 Nishiki Ariel; '85 Raleigh Wyoming, '16 Wabi Special, '16 Wabi Classic, '14 Kona Cinder Cone

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 646 Post(s)
Liked 360 Times in 221 Posts
Keeping a strong core is critical as one ages. Ironically most people as they grow older have more maladies and then to make it worse they exercise less. That's bass ackwards.
drlogik is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 04:51 PM
  #6  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 13,379

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 196 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4483 Post(s)
Liked 2,629 Times in 1,703 Posts
There does appear to be something to the decades old theory about exercise induced euphoria, but researchers aren't certain whether it's endorphins (recent research indicates it doesn't cross the barrier between blood and brain), dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine or something else.

Whatever the science, I do feel better during and for hours after a ride. The worst part of the ride is usually about 10-15 minutes in, when my body suddenly realizes I've tricked it again and this ride isn't going to be over soon. But after 5-15 minutes of cramping, whining and punishing me for tricking it again (hey, is it my fault if my body is so gullible?), the body decides to enjoy the ride.

My back has gradually gotten a bit better since I resumed cycling last summer, but my neck will never get better (splintered C2). I just hope it stays tolerable. It limits my riding positions but for now the bike is set up well enough to enjoy 20-40 mile rides a couplafew times a week.

There isn't much I can do to strengthen the neck. There's bone on bone grinding, so too much exercise is potentially dangerous. I just do a bit of stretching and massage. If I stretch the neck too much, or even look up at the sky, I'll experience sudden dizziness and pain. That won't change, so I just avoid doing stuff that aggravates it.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 05:21 PM
  #7  
ltxi
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Colorado
Posts: 1,719
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 258 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It's certainly helped me.
ltxi is offline  
Old 06-27-16, 06:26 PM
  #8  
Papa Tom
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 4,440
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 861 Post(s)
Liked 232 Times in 135 Posts
Just about the only time my back pain doesn't get in the way of living is when I am on the bike.

I have found, over the past few years, that a good five-minute stretch in bed can make the difference between a good day and a horrible one, especially on days that I commute by bike -- and EXTRA especially before an all-day/overnight ride.
Papa Tom is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:55 AM
  #9  
Wheever
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Stamford, CT; Pownal, VT
Posts: 1,141

Bikes: 2015 Trek Domane 6 disk, 2016 Scott Big Jon Fat Bike

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 147 Post(s)
Liked 9 Times in 6 Posts
Biking has *immensely* help my back. As in no longer having pain at all, and stronger and more resilient. Before I started riding, my back would go out a couple times a year, generally doing something as mundane as lifting a laundry basket! Now--knock wood--it doesn't at all.

My body also complains for the first 10 miles or so. Sometimes only 5, and you can see this in my heart rate, which for that first 5 (or 10) is 130+ or so for moderate efforts. Then it drops, to 110-120 for those same efforts, like my body is saying "okay, you win, I'll play nice."

I have some chronic illnesses going on, and biking has been magic for helping my health!
Wheever is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 09:03 AM
  #10  
10 Wheels
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 32,890

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Mentioned: 18 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1275 Post(s)
Liked 1,048 Times in 521 Posts
I have had a long term back pain.

Read something about Vitamin B-12 helping it.

Got some 1000 mg and the pain went away the very next day...Yay.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 09:12 AM
  #11  
Scotti G
Member
 
Scotti G's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: NYC
Posts: 38

Bikes: DeRosa EL Fixed Gear '93, DeRosa EL Road '95, Ibis Bowtie MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Don't know why I always feel as if my back pain is something that only affect me. Bittersweet to read how so many of you have similar issues. Yep, the first 5 minutes on the bike is slightly painful, between cramping and back pain. Funny how it all dissipates and I seldom realize it until a good 20 minutes later.

I'm dealing with an achilles reattachment, spinal stenosis and a list of tears and breaks from years of college football. Aging simply SUCKS! Prescribed NSAID's some years ago and I decided to find a means to avoid taking them every day. Cycling has been terrific. Also I've found relief with Tumeric pills daily. Might also help one of you.
Scotti G is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 09:31 AM
  #12  
locolobo13 
Senior Member
 
locolobo13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Phx, AZ
Posts: 2,055

Bikes: Trek Mtn Bike

Mentioned: 5 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 260 Post(s)
Liked 2,057 Times in 698 Posts
In '05 I was diagnosed with spondylolisthesis. Physical Therapy was prescribed. I wasn't riding regularly at the time. I asked my PT about cycling and she said it was "contraindicated" for my condition. Indeed, when I rode I could feel it in my lower back. After PT I continued the PT exercises and walking for exercise. Gave up on riding.

At the same time I was trying to lose weight. My problem is I am on the See Food diet. I see food, I eat it. I created spreadsheets trying to calculate my way out of my predicament. But walking just wasn't burning enough calories.

In Aug '08 my pickup battery died. My family was busy, so I dusted off the bike, aired up the tires and took care of my pickup. That night filling out my spreadsheet, using calorie estimates from the web, I discovered one hour of riding around at a slow speed was more than twice one hour of walking in calories. And my back felt fine.

Work was only 2 1/2 miles from home. I started commuting. Telling myself it was OK to quit if it was too hard. Within a month I was riding 3 or 4 miles during lunch. Then riding 8 miles before getting home. Within six months I had lost 30-35 lbs! And my back felt better!

I'm still giving the PT exercises for stopping the back pain. In fact if I stop those exercises for more than 2 weeks the pain comes back. But the bicycling doesn't bother my back. And keeping the weight down has to help.

Just my experience. Good luck to those working on their back problems.
locolobo13 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 04:59 PM
  #13  
takenreasy
Full Member
 
takenreasy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 435

Bikes: 83 Bianchi Special 96 Specialized Stump Jumper Comp 09 Gary Fisher Paragon 09 Surly Cross Check 11 Surly Long Haul Trucker

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 71 Post(s)
Liked 75 Times in 50 Posts
Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
I have had a long term back pain.

Read something about Vitamin B-12 helping it.

Got some 1000 mg and the pain went away the very next day...Yay.
If you're not already, start drinking some craft/home brewed beer. It is loaded with all kinds of vitamin B including #12.
takenreasy is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 05:08 PM
  #14  
RonH
Life is good
 
RonH's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Not far from the Withlacoochee Trail. 🚴🏻
Posts: 18,209

Bikes: 2018 Lynskey Helix Pro

Mentioned: 13 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 522 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
I have degenerative spine disease (as do most folks over 50).

I have episodes of pain, but far fewer and less intense if I'm riding regularly.

Does anyone else find that cycling is a real life-saver for their backs?
I learned last June that I have spinal stenosis (L4-L5) and my spine doc, who is an avid roadie, said my Litespeed road bike is excellent for relieving back pain and discomfort because leaning over the bars stretches out my spine.
My Litespeed is my friend.
__________________
The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. - Psalm 103:8

I am a cyclist. I am not the fastest or the fittest. But I will get to where I'm going with a smile on my face.
RonH is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 06:08 PM
  #15  
beechnutC23
U.I.O.G.D.
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: Eastern Townships, Quebec, Canada
Posts: 170

Bikes: Bombtrack Hook 2 gravel, Marinoni Genius/Campy Record, Marinoni Special EL-OS/Campy Record (retired to permanent indoor trainer), Rocky Mountain hybrid (not in use), Rocky Mountain mtb Cervelo R3 Team/Campy Chorus FOR SALE

Mentioned: 3 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Liked 48 Times in 15 Posts
Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
I have degenerative spine disease (as do most folks over 50).

I have episodes of pain, but far fewer and less intense if I'm riding regularly.

Does anyone else find that cycling is a real life-saver for their backs?

-Todzilla
You betcha! Any exercise is good but the bike is particularly good for my back. My wife is a family doctor and the thing she prescribes the most is *get moving and exercise*!

The exercise keeps the joints moving freely and strengthen the back muscles which help support the back. It's all good. As I posted elsewhere, I feel more decrepit off the bike than on it.

Winters are long and nasty here; I hate riding trainers indoors so my cross-training is hiking/snowshoeing on the local mountain, usually 10k or so hikes with about 500 metres elevation change. It does a good job of helping my back as well.

Sometimes overcoming my general creakiness to get going is a bit tough, when that happens, Ibuprofen is your friend.
beechnutC23 is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 07:37 PM
  #16  
Northwestrider
Senior Member
 
Northwestrider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Posts: 2,470

Bikes: Surly Long Haul Trucker, Gary Fisher Hoo Koo E Koo, Dahon Mu P 24 , Ritchey Breakaway Cross, Rodriguez Tandem, Wheeler MTB

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 32 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'm another one that thinks bicycling helps my back .
Northwestrider is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:16 PM
  #17  
canklecat
Me duelen las nalgas
 
canklecat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2015
Location: Texas
Posts: 13,379

Bikes: Centurion Ironman, Trek 5900, Univega Via Carisma, Globe Carmel

Mentioned: 196 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4483 Post(s)
Liked 2,629 Times in 1,703 Posts
If you're not already, start drinking some craft/home brewed beer. It is loaded with all kinds of vitamin B including #12.
That's my preferred health tonic. Locally brewed unpasteurized, unfiltered traditional ales. Unfortunately my favorites are harder to find in summer. There's a shop down the street that sells beer brewing supplies and offers lessons. I might chat with 'em about homebrewing some traditional ales.
canklecat is offline  
Old 06-28-16, 08:46 PM
  #18  
GerryinHouston
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Houston
Posts: 540

Bikes: Novarra Randonee 2016, Trek Verve 2 2015

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 97 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
I 've had lower back pain as a result of office/sedentary life. In 2014 I was rear-ended and my car totalled. I had serious back-pain for months.

There is no back pain when I ride. The drop bar bike with a Brooks saddle are absolutely fabulous (and I weigh in the mid 250s...).
GerryinHouston is offline  
Old 06-29-16, 06:30 PM
  #19  
ButchA
Senior Member
 
ButchA's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Richmond, VA (West end - Henrico)
Posts: 706

Bikes: 1985 Fuji Del Rey, 25" frame, 12 speed

Mentioned: 10 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 127 Post(s)
Liked 17 Times in 12 Posts
Right now I have been experiencing sciatica at age 55. Ouch!!

Not quite a month ago I was at the driving range, hitting golf balls. I hit full powered, go-for-it, stinging 4-iron shot out to 200 yards, but it came with a nasty price. Right as soon as I hit the ball and came back around in my backswing, I felt like someone stuck a knife in my lower back right at my belt line (L5 & S1). That was it... I popped something or herniated something, and have been messed up ever since.

My main problem is that I was foolish and ignorant and kept doing what I do in spite of the pain. I went out jogging 3 miles and had to jog/limp the 1.5 miles back, which was torture! And it got worse and worse as the days went on.

Right now I have a bizarre tingling sensation going all the way down my right leg to my ankle. But yet, I can walk, I can stand up, I can move around, etc... If I try to ride my old C&V Fuji road bike, take my dog for a walk, etc... my hamstring, quad, and calf muscle in my right leg get all tight and I have pain radiating down my leg.

I have an appointment with a neurologist to probably get an MRI done to see just exactly what I did to myself. Hopefully it's something simple and a chiropractor or somebody could pop L4,L5/S1 back into shape. Then, I'll be able to follow PT and ride by old Fuji and stretch out my back.
ButchA is offline  
Old 07-08-16, 04:42 PM
  #20  
genewiseman
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Posts: 1
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I was a horseshoer for years. Some days I would come home stooped over and hurting really bad. Most of the time a run or a bike ride would make my back feel better. My back finally got so bad I had to change professions. No that I make knives for a living, my back doesn't give me much trouble most of the time but I no longer have any feeling in part of my right knee. Running and riding my bicycle still keep me feeling good though.
genewiseman is offline  
Old 07-08-16, 05:10 PM
  #21  
Carbonfiberboy 
just another gosling
 
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
Posts: 18,868

Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

Mentioned: 113 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3572 Post(s)
Liked 1,567 Times in 1,145 Posts
Yes. Cycling is critical for my back health. I have spinal stenosis, arthritic facets, and thin discs. Stretching is also a regular necessity. My bike is the best and cheapest doctor I've ever had.
__________________
Results matter
Carbonfiberboy is offline  
Old 07-09-16, 03:51 AM
  #22  
Gerryattrick
Beicwyr Hapus
 
Gerryattrick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Caerdydd
Posts: 1,523

Bikes: Genesis Equilibrium, Genesis Datum, Whyte 901 Dawes 701,1973 Harry Hall

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 149 Post(s)
Liked 30 Times in 13 Posts
Earlier this week I had planned to go for a longish, hilly ride, but in the morning had moved a lot of heavy furniture from one home to another so my back was giving me a fair bit of pain.

I decided, with some trepidation, to go on the ride anyway. It was a bit uncomfortable for the first five miles, but after that there was no problem, even after some steep hills where I had to stand in the pedals.

No resulting after-effects, so I can attest to the benefits of cycling on lower back problems for me. YMMV.
Gerryattrick is offline  
Old 07-09-16, 06:33 AM
  #23  
a77impala
a77impala
 
a77impala's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Central South Dakota
Posts: 1,517

Bikes: 06 Lemond 04 Lemond 87 Trek

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 24 Post(s)
Liked 13 Times in 8 Posts
I have advanced arthritis in my spine which causes pain when walking or standing more than a few minutes.
I ride at least 140 miles a week pain free! Cycling is a Godsend for me. My doctor says it's great for back problems like mine.
I'm 72 and can't imagine ever quitting cycling, I go nowhere without my bike.
a77impala is offline  
Old 07-09-16, 10:58 AM
  #24  
rydabent
Senior Member
 
rydabent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Lincoln Ne
Posts: 9,805

Bikes: RANS Stratus TerraTrike Tour II

Mentioned: 44 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3234 Post(s)
Liked 997 Times in 598 Posts
I am 77 and have lower back pain once in a while. When I ride my recumbent, it seems to help it.
rydabent is offline  
Old 07-11-16, 01:27 PM
  #25  
rumrunn6
Senior Member
 
rumrunn6's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: 25 miles northwest of Boston
Posts: 28,727

Bikes: Bottecchia Sprint, GT Timberline 29r, Marin Muirwoods 29er, Trek FX Alpha 7.0

Mentioned: 109 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4973 Post(s)
Liked 3,076 Times in 2,041 Posts
Originally Posted by Todzilla View Post
anyone else find that cycling is a real life-saver for their backs?
trying to ride more so I'll report back (no pun intended) I do know that the converse is true, meaning sedentary life is bad for my back. you'd think a day of rest, lounging at home would be good for the old body but by the end of a lazy day at home watching TV and napping on the couch, I can barely stand upright
rumrunn6 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.