Back Pain From Cycling?

Back Pain From Cycling?

Why is my back sore from biking?

Putting in long hours on the bike is an excellent way to keep your body in top condition, improving your cardiovascular system and building up your quads. However, extended periods of crouching over the handlebars can be tough on your back.

While biking is undoubtedly healthier than sitting at a desk all day, the reality is that you’re still stuck in a stationary sitting position. This positioning tilts your pelvis forward, causing your lower back muscles to strain and shortening the muscles in your anterior hip, like your hip flexors and quads. When these muscles become too tight, your glutes don’t function properly, creating a two-fold problem: tightness in the front and weakness in the back.

The good news is that you don’t have to endure back pain as a regular part of your daily routine. You don’t have to rely on painkillers and anti-inflammatories to relieve the pain, and you don’t have to avoid cycling altogether.

Here are two things you can do to reduce the stress on your back and ,hopefully, get you back (no pun intended) to cycling, pain free.


To alleviate cycling-related back pain, it is crucial to stretch the muscles in your hips as a first step.

Tight hip muscles can lead to lower back pain, as they can cause imbalances in your pelvis and spine. By stretching your hips, you can reduce the strain on your lower back and prevent pain from developing.

One effective stretch for cyclists is the wall lunge. Begin by facing away from a wall, placing your left foot entirely vertically on the wall and your right foot far enough back to create a slight amount of hip extension in the rear leg. Keeping your left foot on the wall, drop your left knee straight down and straighten your torso to stretch your left quad and hip flexor muscles. Hold this position for 30 to 60 seconds, and then switch sides.

Get that bike appropriately fitted.

Having an improperly fitted bike can affect back pain in several ways

  1. Increased Stress on the Spine: When your bike is not fitted to your body, it can cause you to adopt an uncomfortable or unstable position on the bike. This can increase the stress on your spine, which can lead to pain or discomfort in your lower back.
  2. Poor Spinal Alignment: An improperly fitted bike can also cause poor spinal alignment. When your bike is not fitted to your body, it can cause you to arch your back or slouch, which can put your spine in an unnatural position and increase the strain on your lower back.
  3. Overuse Injuries: An improperly fitted bike can also lead to overuse injuries in your spine. It can cause you to pedal with an unnatural motion, which can increase the stress on your spine and lead to overuse injuries over time.
  4. Disc Problems: An improperly fitted bike can also lead to disc problems in your spine. It can cause you to experience shocks and vibrations that can damage the discs in your spine and cause pain or discomfort.

To prevent back pain while cycling, it is important to have your bike properly fitted to your body by a professional bike fitter. This can help to ensure that your spine is in a natural and comfortable position while cycling, reducing the risk of developing back pain or other spinal problems.

When should I see a Chiropractor?

Despite your best efforts to avoid back pain, there may be instances where your chiropractor’s expertise is necessary to provide additional relief. So, how do you know when your discomfort warrants professional attention? Listen to your body, particularly the day after. Cyclists should be cautious if your back pain persists for more than a day after cycling or if you experience pain or weakness radiating down one or both legs.

It’s essential to bear in mind that cycling should not be painful, and pain is not normal. By adhering to these recommendations, you can reduce the frequency of cycling-related injuries that we frequently encounter at City Chiropractic.

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Do We Need To Re-Evaluate How We Assess Back Pain?

A report from The Journal of the American Medical Association has concluded that Americans spend an estimated $380 billion annually on spine and joint pain treatment, with the use of MRI scans, narcotic painkillers, injections, and invasive spine surgery all growing by several hundred per cent. Yet, the percentage of people with impaired function due to back problems has drastically increased over the past two decades, even after controlling for an aging population. Many mainstream medical approaches to treating back pain are minimally effective at best and may actually be doing more harm than good. Unfortunately, in the majority of cases, mainstream medical practitioners aren’t even able to figure out what’s causing their patients’ pain, with a definitive cause only being identified in about 5-15% of people with back pain. The reductionist approach of attempting to fit every patient into a neatly defined box and calling it a day doesn’t work, and there’s no magic bullet. Pain is highly complex neurobiology that involves many different factors, and treating it needs to take the full picture of the individual patient into account.

As author and blogger Todd Hargrove, in Healthy Movements for Human Animals: An Evolutionary Perspective on Exercise, points out that we have a tendency to simplify the causes of back pain.

“When back pain suddenly shows up, we are tempted to blame it on the last minor stressor that affected it, such as a soft bed in a hotel. This is like blaming your bankruptcy on the last latte you bought before your account finally went into the red.” – Todd Hargrove.

So What’s The Solution?

The initial step to tackling pain is to locate a healthcare provider who is well-versed in pain science, willing to invest time in comprehending the root cause and values the patient as an equal partner.

Chiropractic care has been proven to be one of the best solutions for back pain. Chiropractic care is a holistic approach to back pain treatment. Chiropractors not only focus on the spine but also on the patient’s overall health and well-being. They may recommend lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to help improve the patient’s overall health and prevent future back pain.

Additionally, it’s crucial to retain control over your health and avoid magnifying the situation. You are not fundamentally damaged, and your pain is not permanent; there is hope. Taking one proactive step at a time can make a significant difference.



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