back muscle tightness
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  1. #1
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    back muscle tightness

    I have been bicycling for about 14 years and average about 150 to 250 miles per week year around. For about the last couple of years I have been experiencing a minor back discomfort that has increased somewhat as my conditioning and power has increased steadily. I frequently have muscle tightness/aching in the muscles that run parallel to my spine about halfway up my back.This discomfort does not occur while on my bike but occurs at work or home while standing for a considerable period of time. It does seem to be worse after I have done a longer(60 to 100 miles) the day before so i do believe it is cycling related and not due solely to standing up at work. I am wondering if this issue is possible due to bike fit(which I feel is decent but not perfect), a muscle imbalance,posture while riding,or a combination of these and/or other factors.Has anyone else experienced this and does anyone know a resource or person to consult on this? Like I said, it is not terrible but is becoming increasingly uncomfortable as I ride harder. thanks for anyones help

  2. #2
    Adrenalina Italiana
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    Could be from climbing the Skyway and Dragon all those years.Really though,it could be caused by weakened abdominal muscles,which makes your back work extra hard.Or your back aches could be caused by the all important stem-check the length.I like a long tiller on my yacht's skipper too but there's a limit man.So check the stem and try some sit ups....see ya homie.
    " the odds are good, the goods are even odder."

  3. #3
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    Core strength?

    Quote Originally Posted by tellico climber
    IFor about the last couple of years I have been experiencing a minor back discomfort that has increased somewhat as my conditioning and power has increased steadily. I frequently have muscle tightness/aching in the muscles that run parallel to my spine about halfway up my back.This discomfort does not occur while on my bike but occurs at work or home while standing for a considerable period of time.
    It sounds like classic lack of core strength. If you want to be super sure, go to your doctor and talk about a referal to a physical therapist. In the mean time, consider doing crunches and "superman" exercises (lay on your stomach, lift arms and legs, hold, repeat). Another back exercise is to lay on your back and try to press the small of your back into the floor. If you Google 'core strength' you will find more information.

  4. #4
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    I am not a doctor, and not in any way a medical professional. However i have seen this same question come up time and again. A lot of people believe that just doing one sport in the same general position for a period of time strenghenes some muscles but allows others to attroipy (bad spelling i know) LOL. I am 38 and have been forced of fthe bike for the last two months due to extreme job demands. However i have been lifting 4 times a week. My lower back was giving me the same kind of problems yours was, however after 2 weeks of squats (about 7 workouts) it has completely gone away. Now my lower back feels great and it allows me to stand for 8-10 hours at a time with no lower back discomfort.
    Hope this helps.
    Bill

  5. #5
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    Thanks spindawg. I do climb from my house to the top of the skyway once weekly during the spring and summer. Do you get up this way often? I do believe you could be right about core strength. I have neglected my abs and am going to start working on them to see if it help. Oh yeah, as a big orange fan please get it together and beat florida this weekend. Your football team will be back to your standards again soon,everybody goes thru a tough time every now and then,too much talent in the state of Georgia to stay down very long, thanks

  6. #6
    Adrenalina Italiana
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    Quote Originally Posted by tellico climber
    Thanks spindawg. I do climb from my house to the top of the skyway once weekly during the spring and summer. Do you get up this way often? I do believe you could be right about core strength. I have neglected my abs and am going to start working on them to see if it help. Oh yeah, as a big orange fan please get it together and beat florida this weekend. Your football team will be back to your standards again soon,everybody goes thru a tough time every now and then,too much talent in the state of Georgia to stay down very long, thanks
    I agree on Georgia...they are experiencing what the Vols went through last year.I'll pm you with my email and we'll have to get together sometime.
    " the odds are good, the goods are even odder."

  7. #7
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    shot in the dark...

    I notice when I start using one of my light weight narrow saddles my back will start to bother me. They feel great and I have no problems with my rear, but I do better with a wider saddle such as a Rolls or Regal. Wider saddles provide more support and help my lower back.

  8. #8
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    I agree with the core strength suggestions. My back bothers me from time to time. In addition to superman, crunches, etc., I'd also suggest stretching. Stretching is best done when you are warmed up fully, (sweaty). The most effective stretches I've found concentrate on stretching the hamstrings & glutes. I stand in front of a table or chair. With both feet pointing directly at the chair, I raise one leg & place my heel on the back of the chair so that my leg is parallel to the ground. Take both hands & place them on the raised leg and SLOWLYease them down your leg, past your knee, as far as you can go. DO NOT BOUNCE. Hold the stretch for 30 sec. Repeat 3 times, then do the other leg.

    Another of my favorites is to lie on the floor in a push-up position. Press your hip bones into the floor, & push up with your arms until your back is arched. Go slowly at 1st. If you can only manage a few inches...that's fine. Repeat 10 times, holding ea. stretch for 30 sec. When my back is yelling at me, I do these 4-5 times/day. I almost always feel significantly better by the 3rd or 4th set. Pain is usually completely gone by the end of the 2nd day.

    Remember...I'm not a physical therapist or a doctor. Hell, I don't even play one on TV. :-)
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  9. #9
    RoadBikeReview Member
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    Here are the typical culprits of back pain/stiffness:

    1. Tight: lats, hip flexors, hamstrings, TFL, IT band, glutes, piriformis, adductors
    2. Weak: low abdomen, glutes, piriformis
    3. Overactive: upper abdomen, hip flexors, piriformis

  10. #10
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    Tightness

    Core strength, bike fit and stretching are paramount. I also added the discipline of Rolfing to my training. Years of training and abuse cause your body to compensate for weaker areas. You basically become misaligned and don't realize it. Your productivity and performance decline. There are some big rolfing groups out your way. Rolfing is deep tissue and intense, but the benefits are outstanding.

  11. #11
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    I only rolf after a hard night of drinking.



    Stretching your hams quads and lower back will do miracles. I often stretch in the shower (because there are no distractions other than washing your hair.)

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