Is Riding a Bike Bad for Your Back?

Man on mountain bike

Cycling is one of the most popular exercises and solo sports activities in the world. In fact, many people use it to relieve lower back pain. But others insist that riding a bike makes their back pain worse. So, which is true? Is riding a bike bad for your back?

Our specialists at OC Spine Centers are on a mission to help you live as pain-free as possible. While back pain is something that most people deal with in one way or the other, there are certain treatments and habits you can invest in to ensure the pain does not interrupt your daily life. Here are some of the long-sought-after answers to questions regarding bicycling and back health.

Biking as an Aerobic Exercise

It’s no secret that riding your bike can be one of the best ways to get good cardiovascular exercise. It’s even sometimes recommended as a good exercise to help those with chronic lower back pain.

Riding your bike regularly can be beneficial for a number of reasons:

  • Biking is the least stressful form of aerobic exercise for your spine. (Compare this with jogging or hiking.)
  • Recumbent bikes work for those who feel pain relief from a reclining position.
  • Regular bicycles are recommended for those who feel pain relief from leaning forward on a bicycle seat.

However, there are still those who feel more pain than relief when riding a bike. Is riding a bike bad for your back? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this may be the case.

Pain Caused by Biking

At OC Spine Centers, we understand the complexity of chronic back pain. The spine is one of the most detailed and critical parts of the body, capable of controlling all of your movements and sensations. When you suffer an injury, you may feel differently than someone else who also has a spine injury. Depending on the location of the injury, its severity, and how it was caused, your diagnosis may be different than another patient’s. This is why, for some people, biking feels better, while it may be exacerbating the issue for others.

According to Active, cyclists who lack proper core strength or flexibility may suffer from back pain while cycling. This is found to be especially true of younger adults under the age of 30.

These individuals may suffer the following symptoms while riding a bike:

  • They may be cycling in an improper body position. If the neck is arching back, it puts too much strain on the upper part of the spine, which is ultimately painful.
  • Bicycling over bumpy roads or harsh terrain continuously jars the spine, which leads to back pain.
  • Bicycling itself does not do anything for the back muscles; it does not nurture or condition them.
  • Bicycling may cause strain or stretching to the lumbar system, contributing to lower back pain.

Bicycle Universe goes into detail about the different bicycle seat positions that can either hurt or help your back. It’s important to be aware of your body posture while you ride your bike so you can help find the source of your back pain problems while cycling.

Preventing Back Pain While Cycling

If you are keen on riding your bike, but you don’t want to run into any complications with your spine, there are several things you can do make sure that you don’t get hurt. Make sure you have the best bicycle possible for your body shape and strength. Many parts of a bicycle can be adjusted to fit your natural proportions.

You might want to invest in a shock absorber so you experience less jarring pain when riding your bike. If you need additional help, it is recommended that you visit a personal trainer or your pain management doctor right away.

Get Back on Your Bike in No Time with OC Pain Centers!

Schedule a visit with our certified pain management specialists to reduce the risk of spine pain or injury. If you’re already dealing with chronic back pain, you may find that certain positions on a bicycle are very helpful in relieving that pain. Schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible so you can ensure that you are exercising in a way that is beneficial to your health.

Get in touch with us today to schedule a consultation to see if riding a bike is bad for your back. Contact us online or give us a call at (714) 223-7000 to make your appointment.