Cycling Health Knowledge: Causes And Prevention Methods Of Back Pain In Mountainous Riding

First, the main cause of back pain in mountain riding

1. The weight of the backpack is too large


▲ There are several reasons for back pain in mountain biking, but the most common one is from the increasing load of backpacks.

When we go to the mountain to ride all day, because it is usually going to a remote place, it is very important to carry as much safety equipment as possible, repair tools, raincoats, eat, drink, first aid. Supplies, and sometimes even have to bring a tent. These things add up, our backpack weight may unwittingly reach 20 pounds!


▲The position of the backpack is an important factor in avoiding / slowing back pain

The negative part of the back is transmitted from the middle back (corresponding part of the chest) to the strong and stable pelvis and buttocks through the lower back, and the lower back is equivalent to the suspension between the backpack and the buttocks (system). That is to say, the lower back has been working hard in the middle, and the surrounding soft tissues (muscles, tendons, ligaments, etc.) are easily overloaded, thereby causing pain.

It is very common to have back pain after a long ride. If you find that the pain does not scatter after a few days, or if you feel back pain for a long time, then it is time to take measures!

2. The nuclear myocardium is too weak

This is a common cause of lower back pain. When you ride a bike, your back is like a suspension bridge, while the shoulders and hips are equivalent to a tower. The mid-back has chest support and the lower back is like a fragile "attack point." Now add a heavy backpack to the "drawbridge", it is easy to understand why we will see so many riders in the mountain will have back pain! The strong core muscles help us protect the lower back, making it easier to keep the back in a more stable position.


▲Strong core muscles are one of the best tools to fight back pain

3. The gluteal muscles are too soft (original is mobility, here Xiaobian is understood as flexibility)

Some riders have tight muscles in their buttocks, mainly hip flexors, glutes and piriformis. If these muscle groups are in a tight state for a long time, it will increase the movement of the pelvis, which in turn will cause the lower back to be more "strengthened" to adjust, which will cause pain. Poor gluteal muscle flexibility can cause other problems, such as sacral syndrome and knee pain.

4. Incorrect riding posture

The wrong size of the frame (especially the frame is too large) and the height of the seat cushion are two common causes of back pain and hip pain. There are other less obvious reasons, such as the length of the handle and the crank, the angle of inclination of the seat cushion, etc., will affect the back pain in the case of accumulation.


▲The correct bike fit is very important. If you don’t understand yourself, look for professional guidance.

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Second, how to avoid / prevent back pain

1. Reschedule how your backpack fits

Find ways to reduce the total weight of the backpack. For example, one liter of water weighs one kilogram, so if you have two bottle cages, you can put two 750ml (for example) kettles so that you can drink water directly from the kettle, or you can fill the water into the water bag later. In this way, your backpack can reduce the weight of 1.5kg.


▲The bottle holder can greatly reduce the back weight

A backpack with a waist pack helps to reduce the weight on the back. In addition, you can consider using a tail bag to decorate the car tools, which can also reduce the back load.

Some bicycle manufacturers, such as Specialized Lightning, have begun to offer some creative ways to get more items on the bike itself than to let the rider go back. This is a blessing.

▲ There are a lot of products that allow you to carry some essential items without a backpack.

Road-style cycling suits, with backpacks, may not look cool enough to ride a mountain bike, but these backpacks are lower than the backpack and can be used to effectively disperse the weight. There is also a special "Storage Riding Vest", such as the RACEFACE TANK series, which can carry some essential items without a backpack.

2. Adjust your climbing habits

Most of us were told by our predecessors that we should sit while riding a mountain bike. If your backpack is heavy, this will increase the burden on your lower back. In fact, standing up and down from time to time helps to reduce the burden on the lower back, because the spine is relatively straightforward when standing up. In addition, maintaining a small gear ratio and increasing the cadence can also help to reduce the weight of the lower back.


▲Climb from time to time to stand up and let the back rest

3. Strengthen the core muscles

When riding, the strong core muscles help keep the back in a more natural position, which in turn protects the back. It also helps to strengthen the “suspension bridge” between the thoracic spine and the pelvis – a common “source” for back pain. Plank (Shoulder Bridge), Shoulder Bridge and Side Bridge Star, these three exercises can strengthen your core muscles. However, the correct posture has a crucial impact on the development of a good core muscle group, so it is still worth asking a professional coach to teach you how to train scientifically.

4. Strengthen gluteal flexibility

Strengthening gluteal flexibility can both improve your performance and reduce the risk of injury. Deep supported squats, Lunges, Glute stretching, Hip flexor stretch and Piriformis stretch, these five exercises have the effect of strengthening gluteal muscle flexibility. Great help.


▲It is very important to maintain flexibility. It is best to find a professional coach to help you keep fit.

5. Check the bike settings

This is something that can be thought of with the toes. Whether it's for the best performance or to avoid injuries, it's vital to make sure your bike is right for you. Make sure you can ride at any time by simply fine-tuning your bike, and get used to the original settings before making further changes (such as upgrades).

6. Physical therapy, lacing, massage

If the actual situation is different from what you expected, you can't overcome or get rid of back pain or other pain, then you need to find an experienced physiotherapist to judge and find the root cause. They can help you with your own hands, such as muscle fascia relaxation, deep massage, etc., so that you can recover. They can also teach you how to deal with back pain alone or help you develop a detailed training plan. Regular exercise massage is very helpful for preventing back pain and accelerating recovery.


▲ Sometimes you have to turn to professionals; if your back pain has not returned, it is time to look for help.

My last suggestion is not to think of back pain as a normal thing to ride a mountain. In fact, the riders who have received back pain in our clinic have now recovered. It takes a long time to use some riders, and the situation may be complicated, but at least no one can't get back to normal. What you need is the right advice and treatment, and the rational use of the backpack!

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