Back pain through lack of stretching

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Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Sweeper59 » Tue Mar 29, 2011 4:18 pm

I recently developed a pain my lower spine that kept me off my bike for over two weeks. The pain was enough to require pain-killers to sleep, and hurt any time I bent over. I managed to see my doctor after a couple of days (don't get me started on how difficult it is to make an appointment - I was originally told there was a 4 week waiting list!). My doctor is a cyclist and competes in IronMan triathlons, but he couldn't find a cause. he didn't think it was a cycling injury. However, he sent me for X-rays and blood tests. These came back clear, which ruled out any structural damage, kidney infections etc, or anything more sinister.

So, I ended up at the physio, and he found the problem within a few minutes. The muscles in my upper legs and bum were so tight from cycling, that I had pulled my spine out of alignment ! I took up cycling about 5 years ago, after 30 years of playing football (soccer) - almost my whole sporting career has been focussed on building leg-strength.

I know there has been previous discussions on the benefits of stretching on this forum. I recall posting a few comments myself, stating that in my experience (as a level 2 football coach) proper stretching does minimise the risk of injuries. However, I didn't listen to my own advice. I thought I knew about stretching, but after the physio showed my how far I should be stretching my muscles, I realised I've got a lot to learn. He really leant into my hamstring, quads and glutes when he was stretching me - I didn't know I could stretch that far! However, while I was sore the next day, my back pain was gone. I was able to ride 30kms the next day without any problems.
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by BNA » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:02 am

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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Nate » Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:02 am

yeap +++ to that!

A LOT of my previous little back issues were from tight hamstrings. I'm a HUGE advocate for "static" stretching.
Also "golf balling" - lying on the golf ball to massage your muscles is an awesome remedy - do it weekly.
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Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Comedian » Wed Mar 30, 2011 10:40 am

That's great to know. :)
Once you can climb hills on a bike it's all downhill. :mrgreen:

Hopefully I'll know what that's like..... one day. :shock: :lol:

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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Baalzamon » Wed Mar 30, 2011 11:36 am

I too was suspecting this and next thing you know getting out of my car :shock: I knew all about it. Well if tight hamstrings caused it or lack of stretching, the fact is a disc didn't like me. Pain wasn't too severe but I couldn't stretch my hamstrings. I have been seeing physio about this and the back already is much improved.

Quite ironic. The week I was going to start doing core work and increasing abs and lower back strength is the week I do it in :roll:
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Sweeper59 » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:05 pm

While the physio was working on me, the topic of professional cycling came up. I mentioned that if I have back problems doing 150 - 200km a week, the track guys (and girls) with those huge leg muscles must have major problems. But he suggested that they spend almost as many hours doing stretches, yoga and physio as they do in the saddle.

Anyway, after 3 days of stretching, I feel as good as new again. I rode 45kms at a good pace this morning with my regular bunch, with no discomfort.

Lesson learnt!
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby trailgumby » Wed Mar 30, 2011 2:38 pm

I've got a similar problem from tight muscles and functional assymmetry.

Initially started as a sacro-illiac joint injury from missing my step in the street a few years ago.

I'd just started tune-up sessions with my physio of choice as a pre-emptive strike to make sure my participation in the Mont didn't aggravate it further, but it looks like the demands of the 4-hour XC team race I did last month for a training exercise were a step up too early and I've re-injured myself.

Any extended seated climb like Roseville Bridge gets uncomfortable with force applied, and so does standing up in the mtb "attack position". If I pull too hard on the left hamstring while stretching without simultaneously forcing the femur down and to the back, I can feel the SIJ slide back into place after I release. :x

Stretching before rides helps a bit and is part of the strategy. Improving slowly but it looks like I'll be cruising instead of pushing hard at the Mont. :(
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Baalzamon » Sat Apr 02, 2011 12:40 am

Allowed back on the bike for 30-40mins stint on trainer dail, not allowed on drops however. Now I just need to throw this infection so I can, good time to give my bike the clean it deserves! I just fixed up a bent rear derailleur hangar on it, my god it was more sick than me. It was way out at the 12 & 6 o'clock positions. Few cracks and it was all good. Bike and back both getting better :)
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Nate » Sun Apr 10, 2011 11:07 pm

Watching Paris-Roubaix...

On the floor stretching!
Good oppotunity
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Fletcher » Thu May 19, 2011 9:16 am

Interesting post. I currently have back pain which is worrying me a bit. I've increased my commute to about 45km a day recently(4 weeks ago), and changed to road pedals last week. This messed with my saddle height. I had knee pain after first ride so raised the saddle. Back pain developed over the next few days. I lowered the saddle a bit which seemed to help, but not fix the problem.

Edit. I assumed the pain was caused by incorrect saddle height, but maybe not. I know some stretches, but haven't done any for quite a while.
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Vivifyer » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:15 pm

Had the exact same problem, although I was stretching already, it simply wasn't enough for the amount of km I ride. Not just lower back pains, also my sciatic nerve was being choked by my left piriformis, causing massive pains shooting down my left leg, and a bit of numbness in my foot :S I was off the bike for 6 weeks resting, and stretching about 5 times a day to resolve it (after seeing a physio)

It's so very important to stretch hamstrings, piriformis, and hip flexors, probably the most important ones for a cyclist. If you have low arches in your feet, you'll need to do calves just as much
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby mazabuta » Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:41 pm

Another little know fact is that some psychological illnesses such as depression and anxiety can cause significant back pain.
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Eugene » Mon Aug 08, 2011 12:55 pm

Lower back pain….Something I know too much about through experience.

Stretching has to be the most under rated or used fix for lower back pain, it took me many trips to many different physio’s before I worked out that it is not in their best interest to make you well too fast. None ever mentioned doing a targeted stretch program

I cant remember who twigged what was going on with me, 18 month ago was hitting gym pretty hard, 3-4 days a week, big weights, etc, doing leg presses of over 700lb by the end, slowly my back got worse and worse, I was doing bugger all core and ab work, but massive leg press and squats.

I ended up with MRI’s and x rays, showed a tilted forward pelvis from the thigh muscles being so much stronger than others around, resulting in herniated lower discs, cant remember which, L5 – S1 rings a bell.

Long story short, knocked of the thigh work, did core, abs etc, with lots of hamstring and glute stretches. Within days, pain better, within weeks, all gone. I also bought an inversion table, so I can hang on after stretching, wow, what a difference that makes.

I love stretches, without I would not be walking or working.
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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby snark » Mon Aug 08, 2011 1:34 pm

Eugene wrote:... it took me many trips to many different physio’s before I worked out that it is not in their best interest to make you well too fast.


This comment I have to disagree with, at least as for making a generalisation. I've had nothing but good experiences with physios.

When I popped my shoulder at the start of the year, one of the first things my physio said was "My job is done when I don't have to see you again". A similar experience for my daughter a year or two ago who was given some knee strengthening exercises and told after a second visit "That should be enough, you shouldn't need to come back".

Obviously YMMV.

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Re: Back pain through lack of stretching

Postby Eugene » Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:12 pm

snark wrote:
Eugene wrote:... it took me many trips to many different physio’s before I worked out that it is not in their best interest to make you well too fast.


This comment I have to disagree with, at least as for making a generalisation. I've had nothing but good experiences with physios.

When I popped my shoulder at the start of the year, one of the first things my physio said was "My job is done when I don't have to see you again". A similar experience for my daughter a year or two ago who was given some knee strengthening exercises and told after a second visit "That should be enough, you shouldn't need to come back".

Obviously YMMV.

Cheers,
Simon.


Yep, maybe a bit harsh, but after seeing several over a few months and being offered only the same off the shelf type treatment, I was a bit miffed with the whole thing, It was a local Chyro, who I still see if required, who picked up on what was going on, doctor was talking about fusing vert, not good at 41 yrs old.

I would like to find a physio who can help, but have not yet, maybe I am after too much, I am sure they are out there.
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