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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need some help/advice with lower back pain. While riding, especially when pushing through the pedals hard, I begin to have the muscles in one side of my lower back cramp. If I keep riding, it will continue to tighten until my back goes numb. Eventually it will reach my toes being numb. If I get off the bike, it will return to normal in a short amount of time. I am in the process of tyring different saddles. I have tried the Terry Butterfly, Falcon X, and a Bontrager WSD (lower $ one). I don't know whether to be concerned or not. I am in very good shape, and have no major physical flaws. Does anyone have any advice?
Thank you!!!!
 

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Also, take a look at your pedaling technique. When I tire, I have tendency to alter my pedal stroke without realizing it. It shifts from the usual complete, full circular stroke to putting more emphasis on the down stroke. This creates a situation that involves the lower back muscles more than it should, so you are essentially pedaling with your back.

Making the adjustment back to a complete, efficient pedal stroke usually resolves the issue for me.

Also, be sure to take some breaks from being in the same position too long -- stop, stretch, stand up more frequently, etc.
 

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bike fit, you could be rotating one hip forward and it gives a twist to the lower back, huge difference for me after the bike fit.
 

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Ditto

capt_phun said:
Bike fit could be an issue as:
Saddle to low/high
Saddle to Far rearward
Excessive reach to bars
Exceessive drop to vars
I'd start with saddle too far back or too high..then dial in your stem length..
 

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Yeah, it's not the saddle. I blame my low back pain on Isaqueena!

I think it's just a matter of when you are riding so hard that you run out of leg strength, you start to recruit strength from anywhere you can get it, that is, you start to pull with the muscles in your back. My low back starts to kill on one side when I'm working super hard, or grinding up something really steep. Eventually both sides w/ be sore, but it starts on one side. I don't get numb, but I imagine as the muscle gets inflamed the swelling is impinging on your sciatic nerve and that's why you get the toe numbness.

I'm sure a stronger core would help the problem, but while it's acute I don't think is the time to work it. Yoga and ab work make mine a little worse short term. (I still do it , though) Possibly your reach is too long as well. I used to have a lot more of the same low back pain when I first started riding and had a bike way too big.
 

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I sometimes get lower back pain/tightness when climbing out of the saddle for long periods of time. I take this as a sign that I need to do more climbing out of the saddle ;)
 

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Yea bike fit, Yoga, and make sure you spin at a high cadence. If you are pushing high gears hard you are working your back harder and, in addition, wasting energy. You should be between 90-100..............MTT:thumbsup:
 

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The Dropped 1
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I saw a PT for this issue almost 2 years ago. I got some strengthening exercises for my underdevelopment hamstrings and glutes. I've stopped doing the exercises for awhile since I tend to aggravate my hamstring when I do them really often. I've also started doing core (I follow the core exercises from bicycling.com cause they're pretty easy and seem somewhat effective for me). I still do get back pain when I push a hard pace or at the end of a long day, but it's not too bad.

I do yoga sometimes.

I got a bike fit and also found that I tend to curve my back. So, make sure your back is straight and hips rolled like you are doing squats. I wind up feeling more "tight" in my middle back, but there isn't pain. I just am getting used to the more "correct" way of sitting on the bike :)
 

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I also have this problem and it could be a spinal subluxation (misalignment). I was given a quick check (read: no xrays...yet) by a chiropractor and he said I have 3 trouble spots I should get checked out...one of which is in an area that can cause that type of pain.

I might go next week and if I do ill let you know what he said. could be something to look into?
 

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I have had back problems for over a year now. A back spasm led to an L4/L5 disc hernation. I ended up getting back surgery last October.

Since surgery, biking has been my main form of exercise. I have spent a great deal of time learning about proper riding techniques, physicial therapy, core strength building, etc. Many others have said the things I am going to say on this thread, but I will state it again.

1. Get a pro bike fit. I ended up spending $250 to go to a pro bike fitter that was also a certified physical therapist. It was definitely worth it. Being too high or low in the seat can cause hip and back problems. The stem being the incorrect length or height can also cause back problems.

2. Stretch! Make sure your muscles are in good balance. This means having limber quads, hams, calves, and butt (periformis). I avoid deep forward bending (touching toes while standing and child's pose).

3. Core strength is key. If you lose your form when you ride, especially when you start to get fatigued, your back will suffer. I spent hundreds of dollars going to various physical therapists. I did learn some useful exercises, but dollar for dollar, $15 bucks at Target on a beginning Pilates DVD was much more beneficial. If you get passed the shame of purchasing the DVD, you will be much happier.

Good luck!

Chris
 

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Satanic Watch Winder
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Could be your legs a too strong for your core. Also, especially if you're pushing too big of a gear or your saddle's too high, you'll rock your hips. In addition to what's already been said, I work up to being able to do 50 back extensions at 1.15 times my total body weight, but I have a very long thin torso. Be sure to maintain your flexibility and make sure your bike fits.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I want to thank everyone for their input. I stretch regularly. Need to work on the core some. I am so flexible that I was fit incorrectly on my bike the first time. I do think my leg strength far outweighs my core strength. I am glad to know there are multiple things I can do to help solve the problem. I will start with my postion and strength, as I was fitted by a professional who is very good. If the Chiropractor works, let me know. I'll keep everyone posted! Thanks again!!
 

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I would try:

1.Angle the saddle nose down slightly. (a wider saddle that fits your sit bones)
2.Shorter crank arms. Go down in size at least 5mm or more depending on what you're currently using.
3.Take a look at stem length and angle.
4. Eliminate any flab in your mid section. Little to no fat on the midsection allows you to stay in a more aero position without stressing your back as much.
 

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Boy, there are a lot of good suggestions offered by the other posters.

Stretching-good.
Core Strength-more good. I recommend this e-article from roadbikerider.com
http://www.roadbikerider.com/bookstore.htm#Core_Training_for_Cyclists
Position on the bike. Put your stem as high as you can if it isn't already there. You can always lower it if and after the pain disappears to find your limit. Next, check your fore/aft knee position on the bike. If you're seated too far too the rear, your back angle combined with strong effort on the bike can induce back pain. This was my case for 20 years until I stubbornly finally tried situate my knees over the pedal spindles. The best explanation on how to do this is in this book, which is an invaluable reference for bike fit and cycling injuries: http://www.roadbikerider.com/ap_excerpt.htm. This book is also available in print form from bookstores.

You could also have other bike fit issues such as too high seat or too long a reach to the handlebars. The Andy Pruitt book mentioned above will be a great assist in determining if this is the cause.

The choice of seat is certainly not your problem.
 

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heathb said:
I would try:
4. Eliminate any flab in your mid section. Little to no fat on the midsection allows you to stay in a more aero position without stressing your back as much.
Where is my EASY button when I need it??? :idea:
 
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