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Is cycling good for lower back pain

Is cycling good for lower back pain

Cycling is a popular sport. Some people claim that it helps relieve their low back pain, while some people say this sport exacerbates it. So which is which?

We will discuss how cycling is good for your lower back, if it makes you feel lower back pain, what you did wrong, and how to correct and avoid this.

For people suffering from low back pain, cycling is a good low-impact activity. With the correct posture and the correct bicycle size and settings, cycling is a good recovery exercise that allows you to recover from injuries without causing excessive strain on your back.

Can I ride a bicycle with low back pain?

Lower back pain is one of the two most common injuries among cyclists, and the other is knee pain. However, answering the question of whether it is possible to ride a bicycle while suffering from low back pain is more complicated than directly answering yes or no.

If the lower back pain is caused by the bicycle itself, it may be easy to relieve the pain by adjusting your riding position or rearranging your bicycle settings. These settings include your seat height, handlebar distance, etc.

If you are experiencing back muscle pain, then you can definitely ride that bike. You may need to make some adjustments to your posture and bicycle, but in general, cycling does help relieve muscle back pain.

If your low back pain has not happened recently, if it is caused by an accident or anything other than cycling, or if it is not going away and is getting worse, then it is best to consult a medical professional on the safe side.

This is not to say that you cannot ride a bicycle if you have a bad back. If your doctor says yes, then give it a try. In fact, cycling is often recommended as a recovery exercise of its nature.

Does riding a bicycle help with low back pain?

Unlike other strenuous exercises such as running or jumping, cycling is less irritating to the spine. This low-impact sport is ideal for people who are recovering from injuries, those who are easily injured, or the elderly.

As long as you maintain the correct posture and have a well-fitting bike, riding a bike will only strengthen your muscles.

Bicycle seat positions that cause low back pain and how to correct them
Yes, cycling has a beneficial effect on strengthening and stabilizing the muscles of the back, as well as the hips, shoulders and spine. However, it may also be the cause of low back pain!

If you do not maintain the correct posture, you can easily strain your back. Leaning forward, arching or bending the back excessively, and the head completely forward is a very bad posture.

In order to allow your upper body instead of your spine to absorb the impact of riding, please try to keep your arms slightly bent while riding. Do not fully extend your legs when you swipe down. Your seat should be at the right height, so your knees are slightly bent.

At the top of the stroke, the knee angle should not be less than 90 degrees. This is more friendly to your lower back.

During long-distance riding, you can change the angle and position of the torso from time to time, so that the muscles will not become stiff and over-tired by maintaining a posture during the entire riding process.

Cycling on very rugged terrain or steep slopes can also shake and compress the spine. Other reasons are poorly fitting bicycles and weak core and hip muscles. We will address these issues in the next two sections of this article.

Choose the best bike to avoid back pain

The best bicycle to avoid or relieve low back pain is a bicycle that fits your body type and is set up accordingly. You must also choose the right bike for your purpose. If you like to ride on rough terrain, don’t buy a road car.

If you are out shopping, please choose a dedicated bicycle store instead of any department store, so you can choose a bike that fits your body. If the bike is too big, you will have to stretch far forward to reach the handlebars, and you may overextend your spine.

If it is too small, you will hunch over to fit the bike, causing excessive bending of your back and hips. The assistant of the bicycle shop will also know how to adjust the angle and height of the seat and handlebars to suit you.

As a reference, you can take a closer look at this useful article to help you determine the right bike for you.

Bikes with tall and straight handlebars will make you more upright and comfortable. Larger tires and suspension mechanism will significantly reduce vibration. Even better, choose a bicycle with shock-absorbing accessories or install these accessories on your current bicycle to better protect your neck and spine.

Recumbent bicycle

Some bicycles are specifically made to provide more support to the rider’s back. One of the most popular is the recumbent bicycle.

Just like its name, you look like you are lying down or sitting comfortably on this bike, which allows your weight to be evenly distributed over a large area. If you are not used to this style, it may look and feel silly, but hey, your back is happy.

Semi-horizontal and upright

If recumbent bikes are not for you, there are other new bike models that allow you to sit higher, but still reduce the pressure on your back. Some of them are semi-recumbent, while some are upright. They are not as comfortable as recumbent bikes, but compared to other ordinary upright bikes, they are more friendly to the back.

Lower back pain cycling stretching exercise

In order to prevent back pain when riding a bicycle, it is important to have a flexible spine and hips. The buttocks and core muscles that support the back must also be strong enough to do their job well.

It is best to do some supplementary stretching and strengthening exercises regularly to keep your body soft and strong and prevent back pain when riding a bicycle.

Here are some stretching exercises to start a routine:

Hip opener and hip extender
This stretch will bend your hips and open your hips.

Sit on a chair and place your left foot firmly on the floor, with your calf perpendicular to your left thigh, and your left knee and left ankle in a straight line.

Place your right ankle on your left knee. Keep the spine as long and stretched as possible, and when you inhale, the hips fold. Exhale as you bend the torso forward over the right tibia.

Maintain the position and take five deep breaths. Relax and try to place your forearms on your folded legs. Repeat this posture while exchanging legs.

Supine body rotation

If your back is stiff, then this stretching exercise is for you. Rotating on your back will release tension in your spine, shoulders, and hips.

When lying on your back, bend your knees in front of you and bring them close to your chest, as if you were sitting on a chair. Slowly place your knees on the floor on the right side and twist your torso while keeping your upper back flush with the floor.

When your knee rotates to the right, your face and shoulders should still face up. If they cannot reach the floor yet, you can put your knees on the pillow.

Spread your arms out and count to five. Return the knee back to its original position, and then slowly repeat the process on the left side.

Down Dog

This is a good whole body stretching exercise that can release tension in the spine, open your hips, and even stretch your legs.

Touch the ground with your hands and knees, with your wrists and shoulders and knees in a straight line below your hips. The toes should be clamped.

Slowly, stretch your arms in front of you, still shoulder-width apart, and lift your knees off the ground with your toes facing forward. Lift your hips and straighten your legs. Don’t forget to spread your fingers to distribute weight evenly and avoid injury. Relax in this position and hold for 15 seconds.

Hug stretch

You should be able to feel this stretch in your shoulders and upper back.

Straighten your back and neck and look forward. Cross your arms over your shoulders and embrace yourself as if you hug your left arm over your right arm, and vice versa. Hug your back as if you were trying to reach the center between your shoulder blades.

Your chest should be compressed inward, while your back should be slightly bent outward. Hold this position for 5 seconds, then switch.


Now that you understand how cycling can cause or relieve back pain, you can re-evaluate your riding style and posture and embark on a path of happy and painless cycling.

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