Cycling and back pain: five top tips

Cycling and back pain: five top tips

Back pain is very common in cyclists and can be caused by several factors, from riding style to muscular strength to lifestyle.

The repetitive movements involved in cycling can be tough on the muscles and joints. But there are things we can do to help counteract the effects of this. Here are our five top tips to help you avoid back pain and continue cycling problem-free.

Remember your core

It’s easy to forget about the core in cycling. Having a strong core supports your back and thus can help to reduce pain and fatigue. When engaged, our core muscles also help to control the bike and generate power.

A key player here is the transverse abdominis, which wraps around your midsection horizontally – the muscle you’d engage if you were about to be punched in the gut. You can strengthen this muscle with exercises such as Plank, Russian Twist and Superman.

Increase gradually

Like in running, increasing your distance too quickly can lead to injury if your muscles aren’t used to it. Avoid doing too much too soon and work up progressively. This will help to condition your muscles and recover sufficiently before your next ride.

Specifics will depend on your fitness, training goals and previous cycling experience, but a general guideline might be to increase your cycling distance by no more than 20% each week.

Get moving

If you sit at a desk all day and then go out on your bike, that’s a lot of time spent in a seated position! Your hips are in flexion and movement is limited, and as a result you may be more prone to muscular stiffness.

One tip is to tweak your daily routine to incorporate more movement, such as taking a walk at lunchtime or alternating between sitting and standing. Moving around more will help to maintain mobility and release tension.

Stretch the hip flexors

We know it’s important to stretch the hamstrings, quads and calves in cycling, but we shouldn’t forget about the hip flexors. The psoas is the strongest hip flexor muscle and acts to keep the hips in flexion, so can end up being considerably shortened after a long cycle.

When we cycle we’re in a hunched position, and many of us spend much of our daily life in a flexed position too – think work, driving and watching TV! Tightness in the hip flexors can contribute to low back pain, so use stretches such as the Kneeling Lunge Stretch to lengthen these muscleS.

Get a massage

We had to get this one in! Seeing a sports therapist for a regular maintenance massage is a great complement to the above steps, helping to keep your muscles in good condition, ready for your next training ride.

It’s always better to be proactive and prevent potential problems, than to have to stop cycling whilst you recover from an injury. A sports therapist will be able to explain how you can reduce and prevent back issues in order to keep cycling pain-free.

Click here to book online or call us on 01249 445426. 

Cramping in Athletes

Cramping in Athletes

If you’re an athlete, you’re probably familiar with cramping. It often occurs when upping your training schedule, for example, as the muscles get used to working in different conditions. Athletes can be particularly prone to experience cramps in warm weather, so let’s take a look into why it happens and how we can avoid it.… Continue Reading

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy Massage

Pregnancy massage is a lovely holistic treatment to help you relax and take time out for yourself. Around 48-56% of pregnant women suffer from lower back pain and pelvic pain due to altered posture from the increased weight of the uterus and foetus. There are many benefits with this type of treatment including: – Relaxation,… Continue Reading

Wiltshire Business Awards 2018

Wiltshire Business Awards 2018

On Friday 20th April our team attended the Wiltshire Business Awards at Center Parcs. We were thrilled to be recognised in two categories, being awarded 2nd place in Creative Marketing and 3rd place in Services to the Community! It was a fantastic evening and a great opportunity for the team to celebrate together. Since our doors opened… Continue Reading

Top Three Injury Prevention Tips for Golfers

Top Three Injury Prevention Tips for Golfers

Summer is on its way (ish) and there will soon be grass on the greens again and plenty of days to get yourself down to your favourite golf range! As we all know, golf requires a particular set of skills and with that, has its own particular set of associated benefits, risks and common issues. With… Continue Reading

Sydney Gregson, Bristol Ladies Rugby

Sydney Gregson, Bristol Ladies Rugby

Sports massage at Active Potential Therapy has been really good for helping me recover from games and training sessions. Especially at the start of the week, it’s great just to come in and relieve my muscles – it helps me get as much benefit out of my training as possible. Any niggles will affect my… Continue Reading

Guide to employee wellness in 2018

Guide to employee wellness in 2018

In UK work places, 30.8 million* working days were lost in 2016 due to musculoskeletal problems. This includes back pain, neck pain and upper limb problems. In addition, 15.8 million* days were lost due to stress, anxiety and depression. But how can physical therapists actually help companies to reduce this and improve their profitability? At… Continue Reading