Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: March 22, 2016
Bicycling can be a leisure activity fit for a Sunday afternoon, but don’t tell that to competitive cyclists. To them, and to anyone who gets their workout in on a bike, cycling can be a very demanding sport. With those extreme physical demands comes pain, especially in your spine, which is rarely in a relaxed state while cycling. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to prevent and reduce back pain while riding a bike. Here are four tips to consider to help prevent cycling spine injuries:
Not Just Any Old Bike
Even if you’re not that serious about cycling for fitness or sport, don’t just jump on any old bike and expect it to be a good fit. Obviously amateur or recreational cyclists aren’t going to want to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars for a bike, but buying a bike at a garage sale or off Craigslist can throw your back out of whack. If you do decide to go that route, take you bike into a bicycle shop and have them analyze your seat and handlebar height to ensure you’re not putting excess strain on your spine.
Strengthen Your Back and Core
Although your legs and thighs may take the biggest beating while cycling, your spine and core muscles are also going to be worked. Your legs get a daily workout just from supporting your weight, but core strengthening exercises often get overlooked. You’ll want to maintain a strong core to avoid slouching on your bike, so when you’re not riding try to work some ab exercises into your daily routine.
Don’t Overload or Overstress
If you’re a beginner cyclist, you’ll want to slowly amp up your distance; don’t just go out for a 20-mile ride on your first day. Overstressing your spine or pushing too hard, too fast is one of the easiest ways to damage your spine. Also, when it comes to avoiding overstress on your spine, remember to change positions throughout your ride. If you keep your back in the same position for an hour, it’s going to hurt when you move it. Lean forward, sit back, sit up and consider hopping off your bike at a red light to rotate and stretch your spine.
Wear a Helmet
Your helmet is designed to protect your head, but it also cushions your neck and cervical spine from a hard impact should you fall. Even the most experienced cyclists can be thrown from their bike should they hit a pothole or have to swerve to avoid an opening car door. If you’re serious about protecting your spine, strap on a helmet. The statistics don’t lie!