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how to avoid back pain?

Old 02-15-11, 02:53 PM
  #26  
Drumnagorrach
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Got to agree with the last post,I get back ache from my Giant trance three,lower geared seated hill climbs.
My road race bike has a more stretched position,I get out of the saddle for hills ,maybe 50% of the time,and my back aches less.
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Old 02-15-11, 04:44 PM
  #27  
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I disagree. We run to the doctor far to quickly/often. The results are often needless treatments and complications. Big $s for the medical industry. We take too many drugs at the sign of a little pain.

Al

Screening: Doctors’ Group Urges Fewer Scans for Lower Back Paining:

Many doctors order imaging scans when patients complain of lower back pain, but they are unnecessary in most cases and may do more harm than good, the American College of Physicians stated in new practice guidelines.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/15/health/research/15screening.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=lower%20back%20pain&st=cse
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Old 02-15-11, 04:51 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by radumas View Post
Yes, I eliminated the recumbent option some time ago.

So, I need to get the cadence up, get out of the saddle on climbs more, make sure I'm not pulling too big a gear, particularly on climbs, and get with the sit up campaign and other things that strengthen the non-leg parts. I have a "noodle" to lay flat on, which helps stretch the back comfortably. might even go back to the gym for those gerbil-like activities.

Good counsel. Thank you all very much.

Hey, how about an update in a few weeks to let us know what you're doing and how it's working?
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Old 02-15-11, 05:18 PM
  #29  
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[QUOTE=alcanoe;12230606]I disagree. We run to the doctor far to quickly/often. The results are often needless treatments and complications. Big $s for the medical industry. We take too many drugs at the sign of a little pain.

Al

Screening: Doctorsí Group Urges Fewer Scans for Lower Back Paining:"

Assuming you were referring to my post a while back, I don't in fact disagree with you at all on this. That in fact was and is my attitude toward e.g. mild back discomfort from overdoing things, etc.

I was, however, referring to the OP's statements along these lines:

"When I do get back pain, it's typically not from athletic activities are more from schlepping stuff wrong and working very long hours on a computer in odd positions. The bike should be a good fit, but still tweaking things."

While I may have read too much into that (and similar) statements, the one above in fact pretty much describes me, for several years leading up to my incident ... which came totally out of the blue. Simply woke up one morning literally unable to move, sit, lie down, stand, let alone walk without excruciating, crippling pain all down one leg ... severe enough to reduce me to tears. That took me to the g.p., and from there to (in my case) a full work-up and several weeks of physiotherapy.

So, it seems to me that if the OP has a kind of chronic tendency to experience back pain, but is otherwise fit/active, and especially if it seems like it might be getting more frequent/intense, a little preventative consultation might avoid something worse/much more expensive down the road. Just a thought.
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Old 02-15-11, 05:22 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by NOS88 View Post
Hey, how about an update in a few weeks to let us know what you're doing and how it's working?
Thank you, I will.

I think many people deal with this issue, and it's good to have a sharing of experiences. My own experience is that it is likely me, not my bike that is the problem. I had a Trek pilot 1.2 that was a little small (58cm) and am now on a 60cm Trek 520 that is a better size. the bars on both are about the same level relative to saddle. The distance from saddle to bars is a bit longer, but not radically. New back pain is likely due to enthusiastic effort, riding up hills with heavy panniers (grocery), and other things that I didn't do with previous bike.

I'm going to be attentive to the suggestions made, and do my exercises. Will report back. Stuck in hotel in Portland all week, and hoping it's clear and dry when I get home.
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Old 02-15-11, 07:13 PM
  #31  
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Again, I disagree. It's best to inform oneself and try self correction. Backs, shoulders, knees are tricky and become virtual gold mines for the medical types. Treating those types of issues is far more art than science.

I've read several books on back issues way back when. One of the more noted back surgeons wrote that 98% of back operations are unnecessary. I saw him repeat that line on Larry King Live in front of another surgeon. The other surgeon agreed. Think of it, 98%!

The amount of over-treatment and over-medication in this country is astounding and can't continue as we are going broke.

If you read the article, you'll see I'm in good company at least for lower backs.

Now in your case, if you have a serious issue, then of course one should seek medical help.

That sort of happened to me last year. I used a Stihl trimmer with a 10" circular saw blade doing trail maintenance for about 4 hours straight. I walked about 3 miles while using it as well. Then I rode 10 miles of single track as hard as I could with other guys and gals after we finished trail work.

Normally I don't use that Trimmer more than 20 minutes at a time and I don't expend the effort to cut heavy brush with it; Just grass. The next morning I could just barely make it to the head. It was upper back. It was like frozen and any movement was very painful.

I figured I was in good enough shape and it would pass. It was mostly gone in two days. I did take some Aleve. Had there been no improvement, I would have gone to a doctor. If there's progress, I don't as the self recuperative powers of the body are phenomenal. It just needs time and not too much inactivity.

Another point this surgeon made was that we rarely have any idea what causes our backs to act up. It's generally due to many things over a period of time and all we do is link it to the last effort that involved our back just before it acts up.

IMO, unless the back is already damaged, back problems are mostly due to insufficient muscle condition to support one's range of activities. That's certainly true for me as the hyper extension bench has worked so far. I'll have to give it at least three more months to be sure.

Al


[QUOTE=badger1;12230768]
Originally Posted by alcanoe View Post
I disagree. We run to the doctor far to quickly/often. The results are often needless treatments and complications. Big $s for the medical industry. We take too many drugs at the sign of a little pain.

Al

Screening: Doctorsí Group Urges Fewer Scans for Lower Back Paining:"

Assuming you were referring to my post a while back, I don't in fact disagree with you at all on this. That in fact was and is my attitude toward e.g. mild back discomfort from overdoing things, etc.

I was, however, referring to the OP's statements along these lines:

"When I do get back pain, it's typically not from athletic activities are more from schlepping stuff wrong and working very long hours on a computer in odd positions. The bike should be a good fit, but still tweaking things."

While I may have read too much into that (and similar) statements, the one above in fact pretty much describes me, for several years leading up to my incident ... which came totally out of the blue. Simply woke up one morning literally unable to move, sit, lie down, stand, let alone walk without excruciating, crippling pain all down one leg ... severe enough to reduce me to tears. That took me to the g.p., and from there to (in my case) a full work-up and several weeks of physiotherapy.

So, it seems to me that if the OP has a kind of chronic tendency to experience back pain, but is otherwise fit/active, and especially if it seems like it might be getting more frequent/intense, a little preventative consultation might avoid something worse/much more expensive down the road. Just a thought.
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Old 02-15-11, 07:56 PM
  #32  
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One of our club sponsors is a physical therapy practice. A few times each year, we have our meetings at their business. One of the PT gives a talk and answers questions. Backs and knees are number one on the list and many of our members go to them for treatment. From what I gather, the problem with cycling is the back is in flexion which causes the discs to be compressed in the front and bulge in the back. This goes on for some time until the bulging disc impinges on a nerve. This is a totally simplistic example but is representative for cyclists.

The prevention, if there is any, is to get more pelvic rotation to create a neutral spine. This requires greater hamstring flexibility. One can raise the handlebars but that is too problematic as it shifts the forces to the quads and then the knees. Simple extension each day such as lying on the stomach and propping up on elbows will put pressure on the discs in the other direction. Strong lower internal core muscles (not easily developed) help immensely. Strong stomach muscles from crunching are not necessarily helpful.

They like the Roman Chair a lot but the standard is very tough. The gold standard in the roman chair for an isometric hold in a neutral spine position is 5 minutes without rest. The threshold for benefit is 45 seconds.

The other very good exercise group are bridges laying on the back and bridging to the shoulders. I do a lot of these.

YMMV a lot when it comes to backs.

Last edited by Hermes; 02-15-11 at 08:02 PM.
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Old 02-18-11, 05:45 PM
  #33  
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I used to have back problems when I was younger. A lot of that was because of bad seating position. Being 5'5" means that a lot of chairs are set too high so my knees were below my hips when I was sitting.

Back problems are funny, I've heard all sorts of stories from fellow sufferers as to how it started. Somebody I know turned her head while eating lunch and boom !! She was off work for almost a month.

Since I live in the Great White North, I cross country ski on weekends. Good for the cardio and it gives your whole body a workout. In the fall when it gets too cold I transition from the bike by mixing it in with 10K walks.

One of my neighbours also cycles but has had 4 back surgeries done on him in the last 3 years. Since cycling is low impact he thought that it would help. What happened was that he found out last summer that he has been steadily losing bone mass and bone density as a result of not doing any load bearing exercises. Walking every other session would most likely have prevented that. I suggested that he take up cross country skiing or even roller skiing but I've haven't seen him lately to see if he's taken either of them up. Both are good off-season exercises when the weather doesn't allow to ride.

We're expecting more snow this weekend so I'm going skiing for sure tomorrow and maybe on Sunday. In the meantime, I've got a brand new 2011 Specialized SL2 Roubaix Comp in the basement just waiting to hit the road once the snow melts and the road salt gets washed away then it's on the road for at least 4 days a week mixed in with a rest day and other stuff.
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Old 02-18-11, 06:32 PM
  #34  
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+1 on the core exercises. Strengthen abdominal muscles and work on lower back a bit too.
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Old 02-18-11, 06:38 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by billydonn View Post
+1 on the core exercises. Strengthen abdominal muscles and work on lower back a bit too.
For sure. For anybody who lives in an area where there's lots of snow I find that the skiing really works on the core muscles and it's low impact too.
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Old 02-18-11, 07:41 PM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by BluesDawg View Post
Bike fit and core strength.
Assuming no real physical problem/limitation, I'm +1 on this!!! Been there, done that. Not problems now on rides up to 126 mi. And that's on a traditional "aggressive" frame bike.
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Old 02-20-11, 02:50 PM
  #37  
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I agree with Bluesdawg who said strengthen your abs/core. Also doing pull ups is a great way to condition your upper back muscles.
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Old 02-20-11, 04:58 PM
  #38  
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Update:
Week 1: holed up in hotels and looking at weather out the window, but started a mild routine of laying flat on a foam noodle while doing sit-ups, crunches, upper body exercises. I had some residual pain from last weekend, so went easy on the routine. Went for a ride today, making sure to do the stretch and exercise routine first. Made sure I was out of the saddle on climbs, paid close attention to riding position, and noticed something else. The bike is new, as is the Brooks saddle. The saddle is a bit slippery, and there is a tendency to slide forward on the saddle, which makes a difference in position and where stress goes. Being aware of this, it wasn't hard to push toward the rear of the saddle, which was more comfortable, gave more power, and took stress off the lower back.

So far, so good.
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