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Lower back pain while riding road bike?
#1
I've had my latest road bike for about 5 weeks, and over the last week or two I've had increasing amounts of lower back pain. First it was just on long rides, now it's all the time. I have to actually stop riding this bike, because I am worried it is not a pain I should just ignore for long periods.

I asked around about it, and I was told to check the setup of the bike, since bikes aren't supposed to give back pain when set up properly.

With questioning, a couple of people said, it looks fine at a glance, but we can get you in for a professional fitting for $60. Someone else looked at it and said, it looks like a long reach, the stem is long and the seat is far back on the rails. He moved the seat forward a little and the stem up a little, but he said I should consider getting a shorter stem.

I looked into it and I found a stem that is shorter, and also has an adjustable angle, which I've never seen before, and I'm assuming means I would be able to actually pivot the handlebars to angle up or down if I wanted. Mainly, I would hope I could raise it higher.

I do know that my 'backup' bike, which is a beast of a mountain bike, has a seat that is incredibly low because it falls off if I try to lower it -- and I don't get back pain on that -- so it seems that being more upright would be the key. However, I don't want to convert it into a cruiser or a flat-barred bike, because I love the experience of riding road bikes with narrow handles and drop bars. I'm sure there must be a way of riding this bike as it is, with a few modifications.

My problem is this:
If I were to get this 'fitting' it would cost $60+, plus any parts and labour which results from their expert opinion, so very easily $100+ dollars.
If I were to get this stem it would cost me $60.

Both of these things are options which I am unsure would even fix the problem. So, I don't know what to do. Either way it's a lot of money to me, for an unsure thing.

What are your guys' thoughts on this? Right now the bike, although I love it, is unrideable because it's messing up my back too much (and my front left shoulder recently, but I think I have discovered it is because I let too much movement happen in the handlebars when I stand up and ride -- when I keep it tighter it's okay)

What should I do?

I've attached a picture of my bike.
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#2
Well there is something to say about proper fit.

I get neck pain from looking up sometimes.

For relief before going to sleep lay in your bed on your stomach and slightly on your elbows.

This is what I did to my road bike by flipping the bar around. I find it more comfy that my MB.
Never Give Up!!!
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#3
what do you mean you flipped your bar around? like, the drop bars? those are weird looking drop bars, they're nearly straight!
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#4
(06-15-2013, 07:24 AM)PistolSlap Wrote:  what do you mean you flipped your bar around? like, the drop bars? those are weird looking drop bars, they're nearly straight!

Those were regular drop bars like yours . I pulled them out and reinserted upside down with the curve forward. I than rode it and found my hand position, than I cut about 2'' above that for the brake levers. Put the levers on first find your fit and than cut .

You may also be able to find a bar like that and keep the drop bar if you do not want to cut.

That's an old photo, I added soft handlebar wrap for more comfort.

It works very well for me kind of like a tri athelon bars.

Your stem does seem to be long . But it all depends on your fit.......Remember that most fits are for power not so much for comfort, :-)
Never Give Up!!!
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#5
PS;

You can do your own "fit" online for free (and a daily advertising e-mail) at wrench science.

For us; please measure both of your bikes:
crank center to top of saddle parallel with the seat post.
top of seat (in line with the seat post) to center of handle bars - horizontal.
top of seat (in line with the seat post) to center of handle bars - vertical.
crank center to center of handle bars - straight line.
The above measurements are enough to define the triangle.

Recently, I have been studying what make a bike more comfortable for me, and have found that I have a relatively narrow range of dimensions that work well.

Leaning forward, actually takes load off your back compared to upright, and usually your back will feel better when you are leaned over supported by your arms - like leaning on a counter top while standing with your elbows on the counter top.

Caffeine and sugar can cause kidney pain which feels a LOT like back pain, and will feel better when upright.

Too much reach (bars too far from the saddle) will cause pain. Are you stretching before riding? That will help - but not much for most of us non-athletes.

The bike you show in the picture looks like it is set up for someone around 6'2" with a 29" inseam - tall, shorter legs, long torso.
Nigel
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#6
(06-15-2013, 06:16 AM)GeorgeET Wrote:  Well there is something to say about proper fit.

I get neck pain from looking up sometimes.

For relief before going to sleep lay in your bed on your stomach and slightly on your elbows.

This is what I did to my road bike by flipping the bar around. I find it more comfy that my MB.

super helpful. thanks
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#7
I'm experiencing the same thing. My Las Vagus Back Doctor suggested an SI belt  and stretches that a PT can provide you with.
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#8
Last month my brother also went to a road bike for about 2 weeks. He was riding with a purpose for the first time. After the completion of the road bike, he was also dealing with back pain. He was staying in bed and stopped all his activity. Then we had consulted with the doctor, he went through some pain relievers and doctor had also suggested having a warm water therapy by installing a walk-in bathtub, because these walk-in tubs in Spokane provide a less painful experience than other forms of physical therapy.
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#9
LOWER YOUR SEAT! A physical therapist told me of a lower back injury that bicyclists suffer from, when the spine rotates in the hip causing nerve damage...all from having the seat too high. There are also thigh injuries from having the seat too high, that I learned about from a hip doctor. These injuries are cumulative over your lifetime, you may not ever fully recover from these injuries, and they are preventable...just by lowering your seat.

I loved to ride with a high seat far too long.
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#10
Sorry mate.... Currently facing the same problem. After some 3 weeks of intense cycling, the back pains and cramps have got the best of me. Was at the doctors recently for some check-up. I was advised to take a rest and also had to go through a series of therapy. Meanwhile, to prevent this problem re-occurring , again, I was advice to always keep myself hydrated, take electrolyte pills, do stretches during the course of the rides and also carry out some adjustments on my bike.
Meanwhile I just got this HYDRATION set (http://amzn.to/2qkE7Aq) and CHAIN LOCK ( http://amzn.to/2pOoDl6) . I will encourage you guys to take a look and maybe include it to your cart for when you are buoyant. So that you can always get it at the current price (which by the way is quite affordable).
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