Cycling and back pain, how to avoid or cure

Many people wonder whether they can cycle if they are suffering from a back injury. The answer is that, in general, cycling can be very good for your back.

When you first sustain a back injury the chances are you’ll be in too much pain to be considering any serious exercise. This is a good time to go to a doctor to rule out any serious cause for your pain. After that, try some simple exercises and stretches and take simple painkillers. As your back starts to loosen up, that is good time to try some light exercise such as cycling.

The key thing when it comes to cycling with a back injury is to ensure that your bike fits you! Get down to your local bike shop and get them to take a look at your bike and your position on the bike. Most shops will be happy to do this for free but some may require you to book a bike service or similar at the same time. Make sure your bike shop sets your bike up in the most relaxed and comfortable position, this is not the time for an aggressively crouched racing position on the bike!

Once you’re happy your position is safe and comfortable start going out for a short spin on the bike. Remember, in most cases some exercise is better than no exercise. Try 10-15 minutes only to start with and remember to stretch when you get home. If you start to feel your back tighten up, stop cycling. Aim to extend this to 30 minute rides 2-3 times a week.

Cycling not only strengthens your legs but also the core muscles of your abdomen and back. Focus on stopping your hips rocking as you ride to optimize this. Cycling helps balance out your muscles and will be very beneficial provided you remain active in other ways and, the ‘golden rule’, always stretch afterwards!