Prevention and treatment of low backpain in cycling – Part 1

We will take a closer look at some simple strategies every cyclist can adopt to prevent one of the most common problems in cycling, namely lower backpain.

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In our previous articles, we discussed how this pathology is ever more present among cyclists and how your bike can influence it. Studies have demonstrated that the forward bent position adopted to reduce air resistance, especially where this happens at the agonistic level, increases the risk of lower backpain. This position increases the intradiscal pressure while causing the abdominal muscles to completely relax and the lumbar paravertebral muscles to contract.

We will now go over the methods that have proven to be useful to prevent this problem and discuss precautionary measures and specific exercises that can be applied to prevent or treat lower back pain.

Advised adjustments of the bike:

  • Regulate the height of the handlebars and the distance between them and the saddle, so that the weight is transferred to the upper body
  • Place the axis of the pedals backwards with respect to the center of the saddle. This favors a better biomechanical push and improves the pelvic position and angles of the lower back.
  • Tilt the front of the saddle to alleviate some of the forces acting on the lumbar spine.
  • When possible, change between training bikes or slightly vary the parameters mentioned above.

Just by using these precautions it is possible to diminish the possibility of lower back pain by 70%. We need to, however, also valuate and correct the control over the movement of the rachis because, as has been shown by numerous studies, many cyclists during training or races tend to hardly stabilize the lumbar column. As such, they risking running into problems of overloading which in turn can lead to low back pain.

In the next article, we will discuss what can be done.

 

 

This article has been written by:

Gianni Cucchi
Physiotherapist at the San Matteo Policlinic in Pavia.
Education: three-year undergraduate degree in preventive and adapted sports education, graduate degree in science and techniques of preventive and adapted physical activities, degree in physiotherapy

Cosimo Maravita
Physiotherapist at the San Matteo Policlinic in Pavia.
Educaton: three-year undergraduate degree in preventive and adapted sports education, graduate degree in science and techniques of preventive and adapted physical activities
D.O.MROI (Diploma in Osteopathy and a member of the Register of Italian Osteopaths

 

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