Back Ache

Discussion in 'Beginners' started by Jo25, 5 May 2010.

  1. Jo25

    Jo25 Senior Member


    I have recently changed from a hybrid to a drop bar bike (Specialized Tricross) and while I am loving the bike I am getting quite a lot of lower back pain.

    Is this likely to be due to the set up being wrong (pretty sure saddle is high enough, but could it be it needs moving back slightly?) or is it just a case of getting used to the new position?

  2. Gerry Attrick

    Gerry Attrick Lincolnshire Mountain Rescue Consultant

    It will take time for your body to become accustomed to the new position, but try checking bike fit here:
  3. cyberknight

    cyberknight As long as I breathe, I attack.

    Land of confusion
    It is worth checking your reach .If you are over stretching to reach your bars then that can put strain on your back.

    With my roady i had to flip the stem to raise my cockpit so i was not leaning forward as much giving me a bit of a less aero position but a lot more comfortable.A few cm higher makes all the difference to me.

    For a less scientific site try ...
  4. LizardEye

    LizardEye Well-Known Member

    Try not to overdo it. I switched to a road bike in February and ended up off work for two days with lower back pain as I'd been giving it too much welly in the drops. I am admitedly getting on a bit and have had back trouble in the past, but even so it was a bit unexpected.

    You will get used to it but might be worth doing some stretching excercises to loosen up your lower back, which is probably having to move in a way it hasn't had to before. Should be able to find sonething on a physio or fitness website.
  5. Banjo

    Banjo Fuelled with Jelly Babies

    South Wales
    +1 What cybernight said.

    I suffered a bit of back pain with my new Scott. A shorter more raised angle stem and now I have ridden 1000 miles without back ache.
  6. jimboalee

    jimboalee New Member

    You'll need to rest your back and then do some strengthening exercises.

    Reach has nothing to do with it.
    Remember the dropped ( racing bends ) handlebars are designed to be held 'on the drops', and in this position, the upper back will be horizontal with the elbows almost at a right angle making the forearms near horizontal.

    On a roadrace bike, you should be able to ride along 'on the drops' and reach for your bottle while holding the bars with a light grip. The Erector Spinae muscles support the weight of your entire upper body.

    Work on your Trapezius muscle as well.
  7. Spinney

    Spinney Bimbleur extraordinaire

    Under the Edge
    I used to get a bit of mild backache on my old bike.
    Bought a new tourer last summer, and had myself measured up for it properly. No back pain at all (though I do get a bit of neck and shoulder ache...).

    So it could be a matter of tweaking the set-up a bit...
  8. zoso7

    zoso7 New Member

    I am still dialling the correct position for me on my bike at the moment but the way i had it, I was getting a sore lower back after about 8miles or so, thats a clear indicator that something isn't right.

    I lowered my saddle last night by only about 5mm and went out for a quick 12 mile route last night and got home and had absolutely no pain at all, now over longer distances I dont know how this will be but by lowering by a small amount and experiencing no issues leads me to believe it was a little too high and causing my lower back to rock slightly in turn causing this pain. Could be similar to you, I thought my saddle was at the correct height with the appropriate knee bend, turns out i was wrong, so far.

    check your set up and change things one at a time and by small increments till you get it right. don't move your stem and saddle at the same time, do one, see how it feels, if its not right move the other and so on, if you move a few things at the one time you will have no idea what was really causing the issue in the first place.
  9. JtB

    JtB Executive Rooster

    North Hampshire
    Since I returned to cycling a couple of years ago I've become accustomed to returning from rides with an aching back. My saddle height was not the issue because that was optimised for the length of my legs. The only way I was able to fix this problem was by combining cycling with some other exercise (e.g. walking) that kept my back from ceasing up. For ages I've been wanting to increase the height of my handle bars, but after 32 years in the same position I just couldn't budge them. In the end I took my bike to the LBS and it took 5 people all pulling to shift them. Anyway, they are now just a tad higher and this extra height makes it so much more comfy on my lower back.
  10. kewb

    kewb New Member

    pain is usually a sign of strain ,
    either in muscles not coping or the wrong ones compensating (3rd is spinal problems relating to above)
    learn core strengthening exorcises and how to relax while riding sounds like youve got muscles contracting in an attempt to compensate for an unfamiliar position ,
    any sign of leg pain see a doc might be a touch of sciatica ?
  11. OP

    Jo25 Senior Member

    Thanks for all your helpful replies - sounds like I need to have a fettle with the set-up when I get some time.

    I do have a bit of a problem with my Trapezius muscle which is being worked on by the physio - so it may be a combination of both set-up and existing condition.

  12. Fletch456

    Fletch456 Über Member

    North Hampshire
    I see a sports masseur from time to time and he has found that amongst his client base, many back problems are solved by stretching. Namely the hamstring and thigh muscles which both pull on the back. Thigh muscles are often worked when we are on the bike but hamstrings are shortened because of the seated position we are in. Only few mins stretching most days for a couple of months has really improved my flexibility.

    I also second what cyberknight said about flipping your handlebar stem. I've just done the same this weekend as I was getting pain in my upper shoulder area and just doing this and altering the angle of the bars at the same time has instantly got rid of it. It's also increased my confidence of doing things with my bike - bikes seemed so different when we were kids.

    I've just read Kewb's response and will second that too. A pound on your stomach (even if you've a slim waist) is often said to be 2lbs on your back; most of us undervalue our stomach muscles, the strain our back has to take and often take both for granted. If like me you greatly increase your cycling later in life parts of your body shout a bit about it.
  13. e-rider

    e-rider crappy member

    South West
    +1 to that. In my teens I could ride any bike all day and not suffer 1 second of discomfort. Now in my 30s I'm constantly adjusting my set-up, raisng handlebars etc., all kinds of pains occur after 50 miles - what's it going to be like when I'm 50?
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