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All or Nothing Baby!!!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is random, but I'm looking for someone to point me in the right direction. I have done cyclocross for a few years now and have had the same problem for the last 2 seasons (never before that though). My lower back will become inflamed about 40 minutes into a race, especially if it is bumpier than usual. So my question is: How do I combat this? I am thinking about doing more lower back workouts in the gym, but I'm not really sure if that's very effective. Anyone have any input?

THanks!
 

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Where is the pain? Low back is a pretty general term.

Is it right at the spinous process (the closest part of the vertebrae to the skin)? Slightly to the side?

Where does it start and end in the lumbar region? You can approximate the number of vertebrae from start to finish from this image (the numbers are respective to the lumbar vertebrae, ie: L2 to L4). The Iliac crest is highlighted because it is easily felt and can give a good approximation of the corresponding vertebrae by moving inwards towards your spine from there.
EDIT: Realized the image isn't very large, but L5 is ~directly across from the 'highest' part of the Iliac crest
View attachment 282052

What kind of pain is it? (Dull, stabbing, radiating, etc)
 

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As far as solutions, there could be so many because there could be a nearly infinite number of elements or combinations of elements causing it but here are a few I've found to work for me.

1. McKenzie exercises. These work to help realign to annulus of the vertebral disk which can cause pain if it protrudes too far anterior or posterior. This is not a herniation, but can definitely lead to one. Posture will generally give you a good indication of if this is a cause. Try bending forward at the waist. Can you replicate the pain? Now try bending backwards at the waist. Can you replicate the pain?

2. Improper bike fit. There can be so many different issues that can cause physical discomfort if the bike isn't fit properly. Did you get it professionally fit?

3. Muscle imbalances of antagonist pairs (ie. biceps and triceps or flexors and extensors).

4. Lack of core strength. The core is commonly imagined to be mostly the abdominal muscles of the so-called six-pack, but in reality, consist of dozens of muscles both in the front of the body and the back. They can be quite small too.

5. Lack of flexibility. For me, this is usually my hamstrings and Piriformis, but can also include other muscles of the gluteal region.
 

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A wheelist
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No-one here can diagnose and treat you through the internet. Find yourself a great physiotherapist (as I did) and let them put you through all the tests and they will come up with a solution for you. Others here might mean well but they know zero of your condition, even if they happen to be the finest back specialist in the world.

And to generalize with core or gym workouts might be wasting you precious time. I do back exercises tailored just to me.
 

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Fred the Clydesdale
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This is random, but I'm looking for someone to point me in the right direction. I have done cyclocross for a few years now and have had the same problem for the last 2 seasons (never before that though). My lower back will become inflamed about 40 minutes into a race, especially if it is bumpier than usual. So my question is: How do I combat this? I am thinking about doing more lower back workouts in the gym, but I'm not really sure if that's very effective. Anyone have any input?

THanks!
Ahh the good old lower back pain. story of my life. The only thing that worked for me is kettlebell swing exercise, google it...
 

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If you can't get to a physiotherapist or kinesiologist, the next best thing is acupuncture. Preferably not while out on your 'cross rides.
 

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This is random, but I'm looking for someone to point me in the right direction. I have done cyclocross for a few years now and have had the same problem for the last 2 seasons (never before that though). My lower back will become inflamed about 40 minutes into a race, especially if it is bumpier than usual. So my question is: How do I combat this? I am thinking about doing more lower back workouts in the gym, but I'm not really sure if that's very effective. Anyone have any input?

THanks!
I had lower back surgery back in '99 for herniated disc. How old are you? You might be experiencing *degenerative disc disease* which is common as we get older. Before you really injure your back any worse, I recommend that you see a specialist and get definitive diagnosis. Pain is an indication that something is wrong .. pay attention to it.

I plan to invest in the Thudbuster suspension seat post that might help to alleviate further injury with my back.
 

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I read this book, so it qualifies me to diagnose what is wrong with your back and how to fix it. Nope.

Here is a book that gave me some relief and help:

Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence: Eric Goodman, Peter Park, Lance Armstrong: 9781609611002: Amazon.com: Books
I found the Foundation boom to be helpful. Did not completely resolve my lower back problems but did alleviate it noticeably. Now I have switched to the Tom Danielson Core Advantage book and continue to see more improvement.
 

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As far as solutions, there could be so many because there could be a nearly infinite number of elements or combinations of elements causing it but here are a few I've found to work for me.

1. McKenzie exercises. These work to help realign to annulus of the vertebral disk which can cause pain if it protrudes too far anterior or posterior. This is not a herniation, but can definitely lead to one. Posture will generally give you a good indication of if this is a cause. Try bending forward at the waist. Can you replicate the pain? Now try bending backwards at the waist. Can you replicate the pain?

2. Improper bike fit. There can be so many different issues that can cause physical discomfort if the bike isn't fit properly. Did you get it professionally fit?

3. Muscle imbalances of antagonist pairs (ie. biceps and triceps or flexors and extensors).

4. Lack of core strength. The core is commonly imagined to be mostly the abdominal muscles of the so-called six-pack, but in reality, consist of dozens of muscles both in the front of the body and the back. They can be quite small too.

5. Lack of flexibility. For me, this is usually my hamstrings and Piriformis, but can also include other muscles of the gluteal region.
Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes backed up by...

No-one here can diagnose and treat you through the internet. Find yourself a great physiotherapist (as I did) and let them put you through all the tests and they will come up with a solution for you. Others here might mean well but they know zero of your condition, even if they happen to be the finest back specialist in the world.

And to generalize with core or gym workouts might be wasting you precious time. I do back exercises tailored just to me.
THIS!!!!!!
 

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Which is why I thought I'd be one of the few people to actually offer suggestions instead of just throwing away any possibility of maybe helping them out. Since he's been riding like this for a while, it's obviously not urgent so might as well try to get some more info and give an informed suggestion rather than saying go see a (insert expensive professional here). That's not to say that an MD or DO shouldn't be consulted as with any medical issue, I thought that went without saying...

You go see a chiropractor, and he will tell you it's your facets. Go see a massage therapist, and it's going to be some deep muscle tension that needs to be released. Go see an acupuncturist and it's your qi. I can go on.

The truth is, in my experience and others', the person you see will give you a 'diagnosis' based on what they can provide as far as treatment so they can get paid. That being said, try to find someone who is licensed in as many practices as possible. That way, they can hopefully give you treatment based on what you actually need.
 

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Here is what has helped, but not cured, my lower back pain. I have very tight hamstrings so stretches specific to them, in addition to core work, has helped a lot. I know this is a cycling forum, but running also keeps my hamstrings loose. As always, YMMV.
 

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All or Nothing Baby!!!
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
As far as solutions, there could be so many because there could be a nearly infinite number of elements or combinations of elements causing it but here are a few I've found to work for me.

1. McKenzie exercises. These work to help realign to annulus of the vertebral disk which can cause pain if it protrudes too far anterior or posterior. This is not a herniation, but can definitely lead to one. Posture will generally give you a good indication of if this is a cause. Try bending forward at the waist. Can you replicate the pain? Now try bending backwards at the waist. Can you replicate the pain?

2. Improper bike fit. There can be so many different issues that can cause physical discomfort if the bike isn't fit properly. Did you get it professionally fit?

3. Muscle imbalances of antagonist pairs (ie. biceps and triceps or flexors and extensors).

4. Lack of core strength. The core is commonly imagined to be mostly the abdominal muscles of the so-called six-pack, but in reality, consist of dozens of muscles both in the front of the body and the back. They can be quite small too.

5. Lack of flexibility. For me, this is usually my hamstrings and Piriformis, but can also include other muscles of the gluteal region.

My pain is more just a radiating pain that doesn't come from any specific point, just around my spinal area, but below L5. I guess it's more my tailbone than anything. What really baffles me is how the first year I had no pain at all, and the second and third years I had some really bad pain every single time. I changed almost nothing between years one and two. I do have a plan to combat this, and it includes some lower back exercises. I have begun a strict regimen of using the rowing machine, doing back extensions, situps, and good mornings to try to strengthen my lower back. Since it isn't the off season I have more time in the gym to do non-leg workouts. I do all of these (with the exception of sometimes not doing the good mornings) plus some upper body exercises and three lighter leg workouts. Hopefully this will solve the issue.

Thank you for your input.
 

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All or Nothing Baby!!!
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Yes, and I greatly appreciate your suggestions. Obviously I can't get any REAL answers, but I'm not an idiot either. All I wanted when posting this topic were some suggestions and things that other people may have tried and had success with. I really do find it annoying when everyone replies with 'go see a doctor'. No $#!t sherlock, if I thought it was bad enough to go see one I would. (sorry to rant)

My issue is one that ONLY comes up during cyclocross races, for some reason i never seem to have issues when doing cyclocross training rides, but maybe that has to do with the way I'm riding (going as hard as I can for an hour versus doing shorter, harder intervals). Like I said though, up until the 40 minute mark (almost exactly 40 minutes) I am completely fine, usually sitting with the front group in our P-1-2 CX races, but as soon as my back starts to hurt it goes from zero pain to intense constant pain.

I believe it has something to do with my spine not being straight (as in I have a 5 degree curve), and my fit. I reduced the length of the stem on my cross bike mid-season last year and it helped, I was able to go 45-50 minutes (depending on how rough the course was) before having intense pain, but it still happened.

Anyway, I think I know what I need to do to help this: more core exercising (already started this) and more stretching, along with more off-road riding throughout the season to help my body adapt. Thanks again for all the help!
 

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Anyway, I think I know what I need to do to help this: more core exercising (already started this) and more stretching, along with more off-road riding throughout the season to help my body adapt. Thanks again for all the help!
I would see a Dr.
I play one on the internet, but charge too much for you to afford. But you could have a herniated/buldging disc and everything you're doing just keeps irritating it. Throwing the wrong core exercises on top could just make it worse.
My Ex had surgery for a herniated disc. In talking with her neurosurgeon, he said something like 80% of the time when people have back pain it was a result of herniated/buldging discs. And as we get older we all get them a little more.
 

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more core exercising (already started this) and more stretching...
That's going to really help. Focus on the lower abs...the transverse abdominals. Exercises for these will be different than they typical sit ups or crunches.

Look for some books that focus on strengthening for cyclists, and you'll find some TVA exercises and other good core exercises.

Also, unless you do hamstring strengthening work outside of cycling, you might find your hamstrings are really weak despite feeling hard to the touch when you flex them. This was a shocking revelation to me when I recently began work with my second physical therapist in search of a solution for back/hip pain.
 

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Strengthen your core, yup, yup, yup. I had a fusion done on my lower back and I do core workouts to keep it from paining. Of course my situation is not your situation and we all different reasons for pain. But I would do core workouts first for about 3 months and see if it the pain eases. If the pain gets worse while doing these workouts or does not improve over time then stop go see a doctor.
 

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All or Nothing Baby!!!
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I had lower back surgery back in '99 for herniated disc. How old are you? You might be experiencing *degenerative disc disease* which is common as we get older. Before you really injure your back any worse, I recommend that you see a specialist and get definitive diagnosis. Pain is an indication that something is wrong .. pay attention to it.

I plan to invest in the Thudbuster suspension seat post that might help to alleviate further injury with my back.

I'm 25. I thought I'd have another 20 years or so before I had to worry about back pain, but I'm a not-perfect example of the species, like everyone else. I did have an issue with what I thought was my back in high school. I had to do a specific exercise as punishment for talking when I wasn't supposed to...same old same old, I was a trouble maker sometimes. Anyway, after doing that I couldn't walk for a few minutes, then couldn't bend over for a week, then went to the doctor and another, and another doctor about it. Everyone thought I had a messed up disk, but we finally found a good doctor who told me it was just a really, really, really bad hamstring pull. It took over a year to get back to normal. My back pain is probably a result of this in some way, shape, or form.
 
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