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Who Thinks Biking Is GOOD For Your Back

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Who Thinks Biking Is GOOD For Your Back

Old 04-25-20, 03:40 PM
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Who Thinks Biking Is GOOD For Your Back

I had a few episodes of severe back pain that started 10 years ago. The first one was brought on by trauma (poor lifting mechanics) and the next few were brought on by trauma that wasn't nearly as significant as the first one. For a few years after that, I just avoided most of the activities that would put my back in a compromising position, but fast forward today after riding semi-seriously for five years, my back feels as good as it did before the first event.

If it matters, my riding is comprised of a fair amount of out of the saddle peddling up hills. In my mind, I'm thinking that this motion may have contributed to just an overall strengthening of my spine and core. Anyone feel similarly or have had a similar experience with less back pain/problems after embarking on a riding regimen?
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Old 04-25-20, 03:54 PM
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I do

for me anyway, the best remedy for a sore back is a good ride
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Old 04-25-20, 03:55 PM
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For a good fitness regime you need to consider all muscles. You should strengthen those muscles not used much while cycling. In particular, it is a good idea to do abdominal muscle strengthening exercises.

If you watch people training for football, for example. They do exercises to strengthen muscles hardly used while playing football.

A fitness trainer, could give more detailed information.
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Old 04-25-20, 03:57 PM
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I frequently get lower back pain that makes it hard for me to walk. However, even with that pain I can ride a fair distance. I don't think bicycling per se strengthens the back, but I do think that bicycling on a properly fitted bicycle can greatly reduce the forces on the back.

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Old 04-25-20, 03:59 PM
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I have spinal stenosis. I had more problems during the 8 years I took off from cycling than I have now that I've been back at it for 22 months. I use a large 10cm saddle to bar drop.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:10 PM
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I know mine sure feels better after a ride, and the more often I ride, the better it feels.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
I do

for me anyway, the best remedy for a sore back is a good ride
Same here. My bulging disc problem is worse in the winter, when Iím not riding. Riding definitely helps.
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Old 04-25-20, 04:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Flip Flop Rider View Post
I do

for me anyway, the best remedy for a sore back is a good ride
This really says it all.

For me the forward lean of using drops stretches my back. I find I cannot ride upright for any length of time and switch to the bottom drops to relax. I have degenerative disk disease (a technical medical term, but very scary to first read on a MRI report) for age-related disk wear. .Additionally pedaling (especially out of saddle) and balancing do their part for building core strength. Balancing routines were some of the core-strength exercises I was given as part of PT following knee surgery. I have found the more active I am the less I notice my back hurting and during biking months I find it almost non-existent.
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Old 04-25-20, 05:06 PM
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A properly matched bike to your bodys needs can be great for healing pain. Cycling builds core strength, and most instances of back pain are usually attributed to weak core muscles. If you find that your current ride is making back pain worse, consider making some changes. Sometimes a slight adjustment in bar height or seat position is all it takes.
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Old 04-25-20, 05:14 PM
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A 1 or 2 minute plank, and then a ride on a well-fitted frame that you can extend your back out on, nothing better for your back. I've fixed muscle pain and minor misalignment that way, more times than I can count.
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Old 04-25-20, 05:30 PM
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I think bicycling helps my back, but I've done a number of things to address my bad lower back, so I'm not sure the bicycling has been a net positive.

But it feels like it's been a net positive.
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Old 04-25-20, 05:35 PM
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This is great stuff! And the comment about drop bars being beneficial (as it stretches the back) is an interesting perspective. I have three bikes, and they're all flatbar bikes as I thought that would be best for my back, but I think try a drop bar bike when I'm ready for a new bike
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Old 04-26-20, 07:06 AM
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My back/pelvis periodically gets out of alignment such that one hip is higher than the other. While I do a lot of PT to try to prevent it from happening, the two best quick fixes are biking and hanging from a chinning bar. Biking always makes my back feel better and I rarely have trouble if I'm able to do it at least every other day.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:17 AM
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Has been excellent for my back for all the reasons listed.

I’ve had neck issues, compressed disks, pinched nerves that I relate more so to desk work for 25 years and had a c6-7 fusion last year. I have to be a little careful with the biking and the neck but overall I still find it beneficial as my cycling riding position on the hoods or flatbar is good posture that helps counteract poor desk posture. Almost a year after surgery I’m still healing a little but improving as my upper back muscles strengthen in part due to bicycling.
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Old 04-26-20, 07:18 AM
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My back was damaged in a nasty auto accident: banged-up the c3, c4, and c5 vertebrae, damaged a couple of the pads. At one point, the neurologist commented that cycling was probably now more difficult; I responded that my back only felt normal and pain-free while riding. The doctor was surprised, but simply said, “Okay, then keep riding!”
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Old 04-26-20, 08:18 AM
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Payton1221 I haven't really had back issues, except twice, for a few weeks each when I lifted something wrong; but those were long ago.

However, for at least a dozen years (and possibly 15) I had a clip-on aero bar on my straight-bar MTB-based commuter to give me more hand positions. Besides a conventional aero tuck, I could reach forward and put my hands on the "peak" where the two "arms" of the bar met. Nothing felt better than stretching out forward and rocketing down the road.

Last fall I converted that bike to drops, which works better for my hands all around, except I don't have that "prone" position.

I clipped the aero bars onto my road bike one day this last winter to see what that was like, and there was that "stretch" I missed. However, the shape of these particular bars and the elbow rests interfered with the upper bar and the hoods on my road-bike's narrower bars, so it was not practical to leave them on.
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Old 04-26-20, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Lemond1985 View Post

A 1 or 2 minute plank, and then a ride on a well-fitted frame that you can extend your back out on, nothing better for your back. I've fixed muscle pain and minor misalignment that way, more times than I can count.

That sounds like a reasonable recommendation. Now convince the guy in the pic to get on the bike, or at least stop skipping a Leg Day.
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Old 04-26-20, 09:06 AM
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I have chronic back issues, including 4 spinal surgeries. I am sure that, for me, bicycling has, and continues to be, a plus. I was told by doctors, surgeons, therapists that I should stick with a flat bar type bike to alleviate the lower back stress. That did not work for me. I went back to drop bars, compact bars with less of a drop from saddle to bar. If I do not ride for awhile, like 4 days of more, my back gets tight and sore. If I over do things and wind up with a sore back, a bike ride definitely helps to alleviate it. I stepped up my biking a lot in 2013, and then even more in 2016, and I have fewer and less severe episodes of back pain than I had in many years before those changes. Biking was also a pre and post op factor in recovery from those surgeries. Having strong legs from cycling was a big factor in the recovery process. Only once did I have to stay in the hospital longer than anticipated, and that was from being badly constipated from the meds. Other times I was released on time or earlier than expected.
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Old 04-26-20, 11:05 AM
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I had back problems since I was a teen. Raced Cat.2 in the golden age of cycling. Back problems cut my racing career short. Lifetime of back issues until I was 60 yrs old. Then I was given a miracle. Got my sacroiliac joint to crack. Now at 62 I feel like I was given new life. No issues with riding my bike and renewed energy and power 45 years of pain...gone. Can you give me a Hallelujah!
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Old 04-26-20, 11:24 AM
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I feel riding in the drops helps my lower back, but my back problems are the result of an over-the-handlebars event in my youth, so the bike is both the cause and the cure.
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Old 04-26-20, 11:25 AM
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It's like saying exercise is good for your back. Sure...maybe. In some circumstances. In others it will be the wrong kind and make it worse.
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Old 04-26-20, 02:18 PM
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I hear swimming is good for back pain as well. Bike gets more exhausting over time but swimming is very relaxing for the body and mind. Unless you are a sinker like me, then one should stick to biking.
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Old 04-26-20, 04:20 PM
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FWIW, many years ago I discovered that I have a congenital defect in my spine at my sacrum. When it flared up it was horrendous. Got me medially discharged from the Army. I ended up going to a Chiropractor who got me fixed. I asked him if I should give up motorcycling and he asked how I sat on the bike. I told him it was a sport bike and I was leaned in and kind of hunched over. He said that was a good position for my back. I imagine problems in different areas of your back might mean different solutions. But, if what you are doing works, go for it.
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Old 04-26-20, 08:17 PM
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I have some degenerated discs in my lower back.

Cycling is at best neutral for me. It has never helped my back. It used to occasionally leave my lower back sore or tight, but if I keep up on my core strengthening, and hamstring stretching, I can cycle without aggravating it.
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