Back Pain from Riding a Bicycle?
Updated: Aug 18
Low Back and Neck Pain
Slouching forward over the handle bars will create a compromised posture for your neck and back. Hours in this curled position can cause fatigue and tension in the muscles of your neck and back. If you are also sitting a lot during your work day the additional sitting during cycling can exasperate your back.
To relieve pressure in the back from this forward position perform back extension exercises. On rest breaks during your ride, stand up and bend backwards. Repeat this exercise for a number of repetitions. Relieve the neck tension by performing chin retractions. Assess your riding position. If your position is very aggressive and the handle bars are low raise the handle bars a bit. Ride more up right for a few days to allow the back and neck to recover.
The sitting position in biking puts the iliopsoas, aka the hip flexor, in a shortened position. Long periods of sitting on a bike and at work can often cause iliopsoas tendonitis. Part of the iliopsoas attaches into the back. Tightness in this hip flexor muscle can compress the back vertically like an accordion. This will contribute to tension and pain in the back. There is also a bursae underneath the iliopsoas tendon that can be compressed when the iliopsoas muscle is tight. This will cause pain in the front of the hip when walking or sitting.
Stretch the hip flexor in a lunge stretch and massage it by lying on a lacrosse ball. Since sitting at work is often another factor causing this issue take more frequent walking breaks away from your desk and consider working from a standing desk.
Excess pressure in the tailbone, more accurately termed the coccyx, is often due to an issue with the bike seat.
Check the tilt of your bike seat. If it is tilted forward or backward it could put unnecessary pressure on your tail bone. Your bike seat should be flat and level with the ground. Also check if your seat is too low since this could also put extra pressure on your tailbone.
Evaluate to see if your bike seat is too soft. Overpadding in a bike seat can cause compression of the perenium and the sensitive nerves in that area. The seat should have a flat rear section to support the sit bones without pressing up on the perenium. if your bike seat is too firm considering using padded bicycle shorts that will give your more cushioning in the tail bone.
If you are suffering from a cycling injury, manual therapy treatments from a physiotherapist can help. Contact Rebuild Physiotherapy in Toronto today!