BACK PAIN AND SPORTS – Biking

Picture1111Bicycling
Bicycling mainly strengthens the muscles of your legs which is important as it takes the strain off your back when getting in and out of chairs and when lifting. It does not do much for the muscles around your spine but if you try to keep your tummy muscles tense and your back in the correct alignment then you will be teaching the muscles to stabilise your spine as you bike. Mountain biking on uneven surfaces can cause jarring and sudden compressions (squeezing) on the spine.
Tips to help make bicycling easier on your back include:.
• Select the best bicycle for your purpose. For casual bike riders, a mountain bike with higher, straight handle bars (allow more upright posture), and bigger tires (more shock absorption) may be a better option than a racing style bicycle
• Adjust the bicycle properly to fit one’s body. If possible, this is best achieved with the assistance of an experienced professional at a bicycle shop
• Use proper form when biking; distribute some weight to the arms and keep the chest up; shift positions periodically
• Periodically gently lifting and lowering the head to loosen the neck and avoid neck strain
• Discuss and review your pedaling technique with your physiotherapist or other knowledgeable professional in order to get the most out of the exercise
• Use shock absorbing bike accessories including seats and seat covers, handlebar covers, gloves, and shock absorbers on the front forks (front shocks or full suspension shocks depending on the type of riding you plan to do and the terrain)
• The muscles that bring your leg up toward your abdomen are called flexors. They are used a lot when you ride a bicycle. Keeping these muscles stretched out is important because it will help keep the proper balance in the muscles around your spine and hips.