Lower Back Pain

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Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:19 pm

Does anyone get lower back pain when pushing the bigger gears or on hills? - find I start to hurt as I try to increase speed and/or effort.

Was also getting some numbness in one leg so saw physio Friday. (Have some old disc damage from falling off horses but managed reasonably well)

I'm thinking it is just general lack of fitness/strength and with more riding pain will resolve as muscles get used to work load - also likely to be age associated I suspect - Have started doing exercises as suggested by physio and had bike fit checked by LBS and physio - all OK -

Physio said back off all hardwork and just spin, GP says keep going - at my age some aches & pains inevitable and if I enjoy it/ the benefits will outweigh the costs - also he thinks that practice will help strengthen muscle group and ultimately protect back.

Must admit that I have been guilty of a lot of 'soft' pedalling since I started riding the bike ( 3 months ago) and now trying to work harder for portions of each ride -

what do you think keep going and toughen up? Am enjoying the effort but not keen to do damage - equally don't want to just toodle around forever, love seeing every little improvement, slow as it may be.

Thanks for any info
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by BNA » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:37 pm

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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby ldrcycles » Sun Dec 02, 2012 10:37 pm

Hard to say, what your GP says makes sense, especially if you increase the intensity/amount gradually so your body has time to get used to it.

For what it's worth i had a bit of lower back pain today after a 76k ride, it started about 50k in and gradually increased. I think it isn't actually any sort of damage to the back itself, but tight muscles in the legs that the back muscles are trying to deal with. Certainly after a shower, stretch and rub down the back pain was pretty much gone. You can never do too much stretching.

I'm curious from your wording, does the pain start immediately when you push harder or does it appear gradually? If your back hurts the minute you push a bit i would be wary of causing an injury.

Disclaimer, i am not a doctor/physio/etc etc.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby dynamictiger » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:25 am

I go to a spin class at the local gym. Occasionally after the class I have noted this lower back pain issue. Interesting enough haven't suffered from it in real world biking.

In my case I also get a pain from time to time in one hip. I know if I go and see the chiro she will tell me the hip is out of line or whatever and will fiddle with it.

After a bit of mucking around and experimentation I have found in my instance the pain is caused by bad posture positions. As I am very heavy in the upper body if I don't hold myself posturally correct and start to lean forward at odd angles then I have a back pain later in the day. I think this is a combination of muscles in the back being used to push the bigger gears and support the upper body at the same time.

Just my experience for what is worth.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:41 am

its a gradual thing - so I think I will keep going - not being too silly but pushing a little harder, rest a bit and then go again - if I just keep at a comfortable level, will never change the muscles that support the action - if it changes for the worst will go to a sports medicine type person but in the meantime just go a bit harder (and lets face it my harder is relative......)

on longer rides i tend to pace myself pretty well and have not had any issues on the couple of 100's I've done...

Lachlan - no wonder yesterday was a challenge - tamborine in the heat -and it wasn't like you did it slowly....expect to see you racing soon....love the crits so get out there so we can come and cheer you on.

D - am trying hard to strenthen core and keep the weight off the arms etc - am conscious of that - does not mean it cannot be improved. have not tried a chiro as I do have the 'bulgy discs' and worry about some of the adjustments - but if it works for you that is great.

thanks for your help fiona
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby brentono » Mon Dec 03, 2012 9:39 am

Inevitably from cycling your going to have back pain.
Lower and neck, and no bikefit is going to stop that.
As you see with the "pros" keep getting out of your seat
and moving around, as much as possible. Stretching prior
and afterwards will help. It's just a case of hardenup.
It will take time, longer for some, but with a lot of work,
it will improve to the best point it is going to be "for you"
Keep at it.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby tallywhacker » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:52 am

Fiona, there are different core exercises. Something that has helped me is concentrating on strengthening the Transverse Abdominal Muscle (TVA). My physio gave me the correct exercises but this site may help
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby twizzle » Mon Dec 03, 2012 12:04 pm

fionahills wrote:Does anyone get lower back pain when pushing the bigger gears or on hills?....


Yes.

So many possibilities here... and most bike fits are a WOFTAM. If your pelvis is moving during riding, or you are favouring one leg, you will likely have problems. I did a training camp back in January, Steve Hogg did the bike fit assessments. There was ONE person of 30+ who he was happy with - I followed her up a hill, watching her ride was eye-opening in terms of stability on the bike. Three people he was "O.K." with - I was one of them, but I dip my left hip when making power despite leg-length correction, he though he might be able to help but might not. Everyone else was using psoas muscles during riding and had unstable pelvis movements. And I still get lower back pain/numbness & occasional leg pains... but I've started a full stretching program (again!) and my ability to ride hard has improved significantly after just one week.

If you have pre-existing issues, you are going to struggle. Unless you have an awesome fit from someone who really knows their stuff... don't blindly trust it. The fact you are getting numbness... that's warning bells to me. Steve has a story on his website, a girl was setup somewhere else, ended up with back pain both riding and walking, he got her sorted out on the bike but by then it was too late - the bulged discs brought on by a saddle that was too high required surgery to correct.

I'd recommend buying/borrowing the Steve Hogg "Sitting Pretty" DVD's and watch them. I did my own bike fit from the video's... as Steve said, it just explains the principles, but it's worth understanding how it's supposed to work rather than having people say "knee must not be forward of the spindle" and crap like that.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby newie » Mon Dec 03, 2012 5:00 pm

Yes I have - on long grinding hills I can develop a bit of an ache in the lower back. But as I have got fitter and stronger it has diminished to the point that it is pretty rare. For me I am pretty sure it is the improvement coming from the improvement in core strength. When you grind up a hill (rather than spin) as you push hard through your legs your core has to be strong enough to counter it. It seems as my stomach as got stronger, the back muscles don't have to work as hard and don't get fatigued. But as my pain was always a muscly/achy kind of feel, I was confident it wasn't anything I needed to worry about.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Mon Dec 03, 2012 6:04 pm

Thanks so much - all really good advice -

Twizzle - WOFTAM -i had to look up google for this :oops:
re bike fitting - is there anywhere that you would recommend in Bris or Sunny Coast area?
Not sure I am experienced enough with bikes in general to trust myself to adjust the bike even with an expert DVD as reference.

Definitely have left leg weakness - not caused by bike but at this stage its my weak spot -think i will try the HTFU approach - accept that progress will be sometimes slow -keep working on core through exercise and keep weight down.

as bulgy disc is existing issue then I will just have to manage it as best i can - not content to sit still - need to get up to an average speed of 30kph + on 50 km flattish ride - its the goal i set myself when I started riding - seems a respectable level for an older woman..... :D :D plus told my husband I would get there and when I did I reserve the right to buy a new bike - - :D :D :D Mind you I have a fair way to go yet...

Like the idea of lots of stretching while on the bike - if only I can do it without falling off - as always you guys have given great info and more to think about- thanks so much
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby ldrcycles » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:31 pm

fionahills wrote:Lachlan - no wonder yesterday was a challenge - tamborine in the heat -and it wasn't like you did it slowly....expect to see you racing soon....love the crits so get out there so we can come and cheer you on.


Absolutely, i was very disappointed when i found out the first of the summer night crits was on friday and i couldn't go, you can bet i'll be at the rest but with that evil little hill i'm not likely to be anywhere near the front :) . Definitely doing the 'Buderim 9' on the 23rd, should be a great ride and for a good cause too.

fionahills wrote:
Twizzle - WOFTAM -i had to look up google for this :oops:

when I did I reserve the right to buy a new bike - - :D :D :D Mind you I have a fair way to go yet...


Don't worry i had to google it too :) .
And don't you already have a really nice bike, an Orbea or something? :lol:
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Mon Dec 03, 2012 7:46 pm

have a giant advanced avail ? 2011 model- - its an Ok bike - great value for money and better than me....but I have a 'thing' for bianchi - love those bikes....... also some of the s works bikes are pretty.

Looked at the Buderim ride -its a great cause so maybe I'll just make a donation - not up to it - would be in the way - from your description of tamorine descents so glad I stayed home - too scary for me.

as for that little hill at the crits - its a menace.... but great training for me. ATM I can do about a dozen really slow laps before dissolving in a puddle of sweat....choice.

back a bit sore so lots of swimming this week - hopefully with cool change on Wednesday back on the bike - plus hubby home so will have company on some longer rides - at least for a week so might get brave again and venture further afield - miss the longer rides and getting a bit bored on the loop -hence racing along the motorway path with the girls!!! - Think I am the biggest kid of all - so much fun

let me know when you are racing... fiona
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby twizzle » Mon Dec 03, 2012 10:10 pm

fionahills wrote:re bike fitting - is there anywhere that you would recommend in Bris or Sunny Coast area?
Not sure I am experienced enough with bikes in general to trust myself to adjust the bike even with an expert DVD as reference.


It's about understanding the 'why'. If you know what to look for, you can see when something is wrong, or get someone else to look for the signs. I paid for one professional fit, the whole thing was done to a formula, they missed my left leg being shorter. When my wife got her bike, they set saddle height using the 'heels on the pedal' method!

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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby embee8 » Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:11 pm

For what it's worth, I started riding a roadbike about 2 yrs ago ( and am approaching the half-century in years). Main issues for me relate to low back pain, ITB, and everything in between :( . Working with physio to strengthen my glutes and, because I've got strong quads, working on the small muscles just above (and to the inside of) the knee ... might need a whiteboard here :lol:

I've had three bike-fits: first the LBS, then separately with well-renowned "experts". I'm using what I learned from them and now it's time to 'tweak' the bike for me.

Suffice to say, we're all a bit different, but for me the physio is so important. ATM it's a weekly visit to get my stretches right and strengthen the weak muscles.

So, now, lower back pain is almost completely gone and only resurfaces if I cycle too hard on the large chain ring. ITB pain manifests in very sore outside of the knee. BUT, as they say in the classics ... HTFU. So I keep riding.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby toolonglegs » Tue Dec 04, 2012 4:27 pm

I get it these days in CX races, sometimes on really big climbs over 45 minutes or more. For me it is the muscles fatiguing that causes the pain... Especially in the cx races, the intense efforts on short pinch climbs really makes the core work hard to stabilize you... I now realize I haven't done enough of that sort of riding in training to build them up. I do 2 or 3 core work outs a week with stretching mixed in and it helps but nothing replicated riding a bike like riding a bike!.
My advice is to do the stretches and core work as often as you can as it does help, yoga etc is great too. But do the climbs often as well to build up the core strength... Enough to give you a work out with, but don't push it so hard that the pain stays with you once you finish the hills. Takes a while build up the stability. Leg muscles grow strong quickly but other things like knees etc take longer to build up hence you are only as strong as your weakest point.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:12 pm

thanks all - yep - the big ring & trying to push heart rate up and hold it for a while is an issue and the pushing to go faster up hills are where it really shows up - spinning no worries at all.

normally goes away after I stop the effort but this last week also had my grandson here so think combination of 'heavy' lifting, few hills and a bit of racing with the kids have caused it to hang around..

really do think as I age..... have to accept some limitations - on some anti-inflam from dr - he's still happy for me to try and ride through it. Being sensible of course but to be honest I am not strong enough yet to really do any permanent damage.

at present I cannot imagine climbing for 45 minutes!!! -

I'm afraid the best I can do is a 3 km long that is really only about 4%..... :oops: it takes me over 15 minutes per 6km loop..best effort is still only 3.

Luckily knees and all other bits still OK....so far so good

has been hellishly hot here last two days so couple of rest days spent in the pool and at the beach.

off on a women's ride for beginners in the morning - should be great fun - organised by LBS with some of their sponsored riders - only 40kms so should be nice ride and good way to get back on the road again.

Yoga is appealing - need a good sports massage person I think - am a bit lazy about doing the exercises I'm afraid - as soon as it gets better I slack off. Will try and concentrate on stretches too

Glad advice is to basically keep going and tough it out as muscles build.. Thanks again Fiona
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm

Started using a TENS (Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation machine again - had forgotten about it - used it last about 3 years ago -used it after 40km ride - great result -resolved pain after three 7 minute sessions - might be worth a try for others - not sure it is 'scientifically' proven but working for me....

fiona
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Fri Jan 04, 2013 8:08 pm

having a whinge sorry

my back is really giving me heaps at the moment - lots of pain and no luck with physio exercises in reducing tenderness - left leg starting to have prolonged periods of numbness and won't work without a conscious effort to turn the pedals. It is just sitting there along for the ride. Only noticed how bad it was when daughter rode behind me and said it looked like I had a stroke on that side - bit scary she is a nurse!!!

Have been only doing short rides and still cannot manage to string two days together. Ok while on the bike (except for numbness and un co-operative leg) but today even walking is starting to cause problems grrrrr....

Off to dr again on monday, he is trying to organise cat scans and mri but apparently booked out for weeks......

not able to have pain relief injections directly into area until damage is confirmed - makes sense but sooooo frustrating -

had just started to feel like I had made some progress and average speed was creeping up a little and the weight was coming down a little.

anyway enough of my belly aching - I'll keep reading the forum and get really jealous of everyone else who is riding......

hope you all had a great xmas and new year

any more hints about treating a problem like me..... :D ?

fiona
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby Adstar » Fri Jan 04, 2013 9:24 pm

Hi Fiona, sorry to hear of your issues - don't push it, wait for your scans before trying to sort it out yourself as it sounds like more than a little lower back pain.

I have previously had similar issues and was scheduled for a spinal fusion of L5/S1. I delayed my surgery on another DR recommendation and lost weight, completed some serious core-stability sessions and a weights and cardio program. Within 2 months I had gotten rid of all back pain for almost 18 months until an unrelated neck injury slowed me up. Lack of activity meant weight gain and you guessed it, back pain is back - hence getting sucked in to this cycling caper!

Hope it all goes well.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby twizzle » Fri Jan 04, 2013 11:29 pm

I'd be pushing to get in earlier, perhaps present as a hospital with "numbness in the leg".

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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Sat Jan 05, 2013 4:05 pm

Thanks so much for comments -if I have any more nights like last night with pain might just head to hospital and complain about the numbness - hate to do it though when they are so busy over the holidays with serious issues - I need to learn patience - maybe my new year's resolution.....

its a lot cooler today here on the sunny coast and I want to ride my bike.... :(

In other news a cyclist was hurt just up the road - broken ribs and unconscious - not sure what exactly happened but appears a car may have backed into him and he went down hard - very sorry to say that apparently the car did not stop and help - last news was in was in hospital sad and sore but will recover. Awful to think that there are some people who would just leave someone down and drive away, without calling for help - luckily there were witnesses so maybe driver will be found.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby embee8 » Mon Jan 07, 2013 1:10 pm

Hi Fiona, sorry to hear of your pain and frustration. Similar stuff for me, too. Started riding just over two years ago and soon after got ITB pains. Another bike fit and plenty of physio has been helping. But, I still get pain along side of lower leg, beside knee and hammy, glutes. I also had mri and ultrasounds which found nothing extraordinary, other than usual age related stuff :cry: .

New physio and going there weekly. She started from scratch, no assumptions, and got me to stretch, touch toes, lunge, stand, sit, etc etc while she walked around me.

Specific problems for me centre around being too rigid and not having very good strength in my hammy/glute area as well as the muscles around my knees. I used to play footy, lot's of running and swimming as well as light gym work. But riding a road bike on long rides, fast and up hills shows up the weeknesses the body now exhibits! So, we are concentrating on strength exercises and pilates for those areas.

It's all fairly subtle - no big gym type bench presses or anything - but daily and twice-daily exercises and stretches. Some days I feel it is working and other days I get new pains and feel I'm going backwards! I see the physio weekly so she can check my progress and adjust exercises as well as add new ones. It includes pilates which is all new to me.

This is just my story ... hope yours works out well too :D
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:22 pm

Thanks embee8- it is just so frustrating and now as the numbness and 'heaviness' in leg increases more worrying....the pain is aggravating and distracting but not critical - so when they ask for the one to ten score I usually only experience a five -except when it goes altogether and I end up on the floor for an hour or two...think that next time that happens may call an ambulance and go to hospital - its just that I'm usually in the shower and in no fit state to be seen by anyone....plus cannot get to the phone anyway!!!!

went back to dr today but as mine is on leave the locum had not chased up appointments, nor could he give me another referral to a brisbane specialist - needs to wait for mine to return - he did change the tablets I was on and gave me stronger ones for night times -more frustration, and waiting - all the while fitness going down the drain..
I have just been searching the internet for good sports medicine clinic here but there only seems to be physio related ones and I woule like one that combinied other disciplines. The prescribed strength and core exercises were ok and I have been doing them religiously but their main thrust was to sign me up to Pilates classes x 3 a week. maybe would help but I am awful at exercising just for the sake of it and know that I would not keep going to the organised classes..maybe I am looking for too quick a fix...

there is a back clinic up here but again long waiting list and MRI needed first - may have to bite the bullet, change drs & start again and just go to brisbane -

I hope yours stays stable - I had a great 5 years with mine - no idea what has kicked it off again - suspect old age as something to do with it though....plus all new muscles being used on the bike - I will re think my attitude to pilates and maybe I can go to one on one sessions..thanks so much for your advice Fiona
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby twizzle » Mon Jan 07, 2013 2:41 pm

Hospital is sounding like a plan. The 'heaviness', ie. limited muscle control sounds worrying. My undertanding is that the nerves don't like being compressed indefinitely.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby greyhoundtom » Mon Jan 07, 2013 3:08 pm

fionahills wrote: its just that I'm usually in the shower and in no fit state to be seen by anyone....plus cannot get to the phone anyway!!!!

Fiona

^^^^ This is what makes me think the problem is a severely bulging disk pressing on the nerves. The fact that it becomes worse in what I would assume to be a hot or fairly warm shower increasing the inflammation.

I have had some personal experience with this situation, and have found that laying on the floor with an icepack under my spine at the spot where the pain is was the only way I could get relief that lasted.

Time to put a bit more pressure on your GP.
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Re: Lower Back Pain

Postby fionahills » Tue Jan 08, 2013 6:51 pm

Thanks Tom and Twizzle,

No more mucking about - agree I need to get onto it-its getting worse, I am getting really grumpy both from constant discomfort and not being able to ride the bike or even do long walks.

Left message today and if no good tomorrow off to new GP and start again and stress that need to get it sorted...

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