How to reduce lower back pain when mountain biking ?
Mountain biking is an exciting physical activity. It is a great way to experience nature and the thrill of riding. But sometimes, back pain can also occur. Does this mean you have to put the bike away? The answer is no. You can reduce back pain with some simple gestures and attention. By following our tips, you can continue to enjoy your favourite sport without fear of back pain. Here's how to do it.
Adopt the right posture on the bike
The first thing to do to prevent back pain when riding a mountain bike is to take into account your position on the bike. This starts when you buy your bike. The choice of a mountain bike should not be taken lightly. And no, not all bikes are alike. In addition to the size, you should also consider the compatibility of the bike with your activity and your body type to avoid back problems. It is only natural that you should try out your bike before you buy or rent it.
Once you have purchased your mountain bike, check all the settings to keep your back as straight as possible. Adjust the saddle. Normally it should be horizontal. However, you can also lean it forward 10° if you have a history of back pain. For the height, make sure your legs are not too straight. Next, you need to adjust the height of the stem. Ideally, it should be 10 cm above the saddle. But it is up to you to see what suits you best to relieve back pain.
Also, good posture may not be enough to prevent back pain if you have to endure painful vibrations and shocks. Check the suspension of your mountain bike. Also, choose a saddle with firm padding to absorb shocks on rough terrain and prevent back pain.
Of course, it would be better not to venture out into the wilderness if you suffer from back pain. Prefer smooth terrain first, until you have fully recovered.
Choosing the right accessories to prevent lower back pain
As with any physical activity, you should be careful in choosing the accessories you use when mountain biking. This will help to reduce painful sensations in the lower back area.
First, you need the right shoes for a bike ride. Even for a simple ride in the city, you can't afford to wear just any shoes. In this case, soft rubber soles will do. For a mountain bike ride, however, you will need a completely different type of shoe. For this, you need shoes with rigid soles and studs to maintain stability while pedalling.
The choice of backpack is also important for a cycling activity. Ideally, you should carry nothing at all so as not to impede your movements. But sometimes it's the long trips that make cycling so attractive. So you can't do without a pannier to hold all your stuff. However, make sure it is light so that it does not overload your lower back. Also, choose a backpack with a strap to keep it in place. And take a bag with padded shoulder straps for more comfort in the shoulder area. However, there are also mountain bikes with luggage racks to give you full freedom of movement.
Do complementary exercises
Cycling involves a number of muscles: arms, shoulders, thighs, legs and back. And as with all muscle work, it is important to warm them up beforehand to prevent tearing and soreness. So, start each mountain bike session with a short run. After that, only start the steep climbs when you are well warmed up.
At the end of each session, don't forget to do some stretching to relax your muscles. You should wait until the next day to do the big stretches. You can do this by practising yoga. There are several positions to relieve your back. But it is also an activity you can do on a daily basis.
Although cycling is one of the most complete sports activities, it is not enough. Cycling only works the large muscles. There is therefore a risk of muscle imbalance, such as the small muscles of the vertebrae not being used as they should be. This is why you need to do other muscle strengthening exercises. There are several options: pilates, swimming, rowing, etc.
Consult a medical professional to relieve persistent back
A temporary backache is not a big deal. You can relieve the pain with stretching and a little rest. On the other hand, chronic low back pain should be taken more seriously. It is probably a sign of a more serious problem. In this case you should consult a doctor.
Physiotherapy is the best known treatment for back pain. It is about correcting the bad posture that causes back pain. Depending on the severity of the back pain, you will get more or less long sessions. The therapy can last two weeks or several months. You can also use massage therapy, which is effective in relieving back pain.
The doctor may also recommend orthopaedic aids to relieve back pain. The lumbar belt is the best way to treat low back pain. At first you will have to wear it every day. When you feel better, you can wear it on demand, sometimes for a bike ride.
With any physical activity, you have to listen to your body. You should adjust the intensity of your mountain biking to prevent back pain. Also, good posture, the right techniques and the right accessories optimise the efficiency of your sport. Otherwise, instead of taking care of your body, you risk getting the opposite effect.