Is Cycling Good For Lower Back Pain?

It is true that cycling is an especially popular form of cardio exercise, and this is usually an exercise which is enjoyed by those who suffer from lower back problems.

If this applies to you, then you will be pleased to know that cycling is one of the best exercise options that you can try if you experience lower back pain.

To find out more about why cycling is so good for lower back pain, keep reading!

Let’s Talk Lower Back Pain In Cyclists

It is true that lower back pain is an especially frequent injury amongst cyclists and this comes in close with knee pain.

However, working out whether or not you can cycle if you are suffering from lower back pain is difficult to give an easy answer to.

If you feel as though your lower back pain has been brought on by cycling itself, then you might actually find fairly easy ways to remedy this pain.

This pain might have been brought on because you are not cycling in the correct position for you, so the easiest way to fix this is to rearrange your bicycle set up and test different seating positions until you find one that is comfortable for you.

There is more to this than merely adjusting the height of your bicycle seat.

In fact, you will find that you have to consider adjusting the position of your handlebars, or even adjusting your form and technique when cycling.

However, you should not let back pain deter you from cycling.

You can still enjoy cycling if you are suffering from lower back pain, but, you will need to adjust your posture and also your bicycle just to ensure you do not add to the pain and discomfort that you are in.

It is important to mention that if you are suffering from back pain that has been caused by something that is not cycling related, yet when you use your bicycle this pain intensifies, then you need to consult a medical professional just to see if there is anything underlying that needs rectifying.

You might even need to spend time with a physiotherapist just to make sure that you can effectively build up your strength.

Can Cycling Cause Lower Back Pain?

When cycling, there is very little conditioning provided to the back muscles.

However, you might find that your back posture on the bicycle will actually strain the lower back and this can be a result of the lumbar spine flexing.

Additionally to this, you might find that your position on the bicycle with your neck arching back can also strain your neck along with your upper back.

This is especially accurate when the bicycle is equipped with aerodynamic bars.

It is also important to mention that cycling on rough terrain will increase jarring and thus compression to the spine.

This can ultimately lead to back pain.

So, although cycling can lead to lower back pain, it is important to mention that cycling is very rarely a cause of lower back pain.

There will usually be an underlying pain or problem which will in turn make way for lower back pain.

Can You Prevent Back Injuries When Cycling?

So, there are a lot of simple but effective ways that you can actually prevent injury to the lower back when cycling.

The first and ultimately the most effective measure that you can take in order to prevent lower back injury is to select the bicycle that is suitable for you and your cycling needs.

If you are planning on just being a casual bicycle rider then you will find that a mountain bicycle will suit you much better than a racing bicycle.

This is due to the fact that mountain bikes have higher and also straight handle bars; this is beneficial because they allow for a much more upright posture.

In addition to this, mountain bicycles have bigger tyres which allow for much more shock absorption.

Another simple but effective measure that you can take in order to prevent injury when bicycling is to use the correct form.

To do this, you need to distribute some of your weight to your arms and you also need to keep your chest up. You should also try to shift positions periodically too.

In addition to this, you can gently lift your head and then lower it from time to time, just to loosen your neck and avoid neck strain.

If you are especially keen to get into cycling and you want some professional advice, then you can review your technique with a personal trainer just to make sure that your form is correct and that you can get as much as possible out of the exercise.

You might also find it really beneficial to try and use shock absorption bicycling accessories and this can include specific seats and also seat covers just to ensure that your cycling is as comfortable as possible.

If you are finding your bicycle is becoming a pain and this is making you want to do it less and less, then it will definitely be worth investing in a seat or seat cover just for that extra comfort.

The Benefits Of Cycling If You Suffer From Back Pain

It is important to note that cycling is much less impactful on the spine opposed to other cardio or aerobic exercises.

If you take up jogging as a form of cardio then you might find that this actually puts your back under a lot of strain and this will cause discomfort and maybe even pain too.

You will find that stationary cycling is much more gentle on the lower back and therefore the spine, and there are a wide variety of workout routines that you can follow which will all have a low impact on your lower back.

Some individuals might even feel more comfortable being in a forward-leaning position when they are sitting on a bicycle seat, and you might also find leaning forward on the handlebars to be much more comfortable too.

Alternatively, if you are the opposite of this and find that a reclining position will feel much better, then you can use a reclining bike.

In Conclusion

It is important to note that cycling does not specifically strengthen your core body muscles.

Sure, cycling is a great form of cardio – but if you are keen to strengthen your core and also your back then you will need to dedicate some time to doing your own specific strength training workouts just to ensure that you really target these areas and build up muscle that way.

Doing targeted strength training exercises along with cycling will ensure that you avoid lower back injuries, and this can even help you to prevent lower back pain too.

Overall, cycling is a great low impact exercise so that makes it perfect for individuals who are suffering from lower back pain.

Cycling will not add to or exacerbate this as long as your posture and your bike are correct and suitable for you.

If both of these factors are in check then there is no reason why you can’t enjoy cycling and avoid injury.

Cynthia Reeves
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