Cyclists are vulnerable to lower back pain, but you can protect yourself by working on your core strength. The flexed posture that cyclists have to sustain, while pumping their legs through the down and upstroke, results in progressive overload of the lumbar discs, facets and ligaments, as well as fatigue of the back muscles. All of this causes lower back pain – a common complaint in riders.
Different cycling disciplines require specific bike set-ups. The needs of track cyclists, road cyclists, time-trial riders and even applications within a single discipline, such as cross-country mountainbiking or singlespeeding, impose specific demands. These postures range from aerodynamic and aggressive to more upright posture, resulting in different degrees of pelvic tilt and various lumbar spine positions. This makes diagnostic generalisations very difficult and each cyclist should be assessed individually. If you suffer from recurrent and chronic back pain while cycling, an assessment by a sports physiotherapist, with knowledge of the biomechanics of cycling, is recommended.