Sports Injury Spotlight: Lower Back Pain in Cyclists

Cycling is an excellent way to exercise, for those young and old. But lower back pain is a common cycling injury that is not often discussed, and it can affect individuals of all ages.

People usually think of cycling as a leg-based exercise; an activity that is relatively low impact. While this is true, the cycling motion can also greatly affect the spine and, thus, lower back.

If a young cyclist is experiencing back pain and does not have a history of the injury, it is often caused by mechanical factors (such as bike fit). Many cyclists ride bikes that are too big for them, so it’s important to take the time to get a properly fitted bike.

Another cause of lower back pain may be a lack of flexibility and core strength. Core strength doesn’t only mean strong abdominal muscles—it requires a collection of hundreds of muscles to work together to help stabilize your core. Both yoga and Pilates are effective ways to build core strength. Hamstring tightness can also contribute to lower back pain, so properly stretching can help prevent injuries.

Because riding bicycles involves hunching over, it’s not surprising that many cyclists experience back pain. But other activities during the day—such as working on a computer, driving in a car, etc.—can contribute to poor spinal health on top of the time cycling. Poor posture throughout the day will eventually take a toll on the back.

Remember to keep proper form while riding by distributing some weight to the arms and keeping the chest up. Shifting positions periodically will help take the pressure off of one particular location.

If low back pain is preventing you from participating in the activities you love, contact Bone & Joint Center today.