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terribly uncomfortable while riding . . .

Jan 3, 2010
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Coming towards the end of a long saga in which I have been "recovering" from last years season. Started with hamstring pain, shifted into hips, IT bands, lower back, middle back, the whole shibang. I tried riding in january, did well for a week or two and then the pain came back. Completely took febuary off, got massage, physical therapy, made tons of progress, yet went for a quick spin today and boom, pain in my lower back which slowly spread to my hips. Im at the point where Im thinking that road bikes (cervelo S1) are not for me and that I should get something with a very relaxed geometry, but i just cant stomach the idea of not competing like i used to. The bike feels like it fits a great and i really enoy riding it, but Im going to have to figure out somethin else here pretty soon. Any thoughts or ideas? Id appreciate anything. Thank you
 
Mar 18, 2009
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Comobosques said:
Coming towards the end of a long saga in which I have been "recovering" from last years season. Started with hamstring pain, shifted into hips, IT bands, lower back, middle back, the whole shibang. I tried riding in january, did well for a week or two and then the pain came back. Completely took febuary off, got massage, physical therapy, made tons of progress, yet went for a quick spin today and boom, pain in my lower back which slowly spread to my hips. Im at the point where Im thinking that road bikes (cervelo S1) are not for me and that I should get something with a very relaxed geometry, but i just cant stomach the idea of not competing like i used to. The bike feels like it fits a great and i really enoy riding it, but Im going to have to figure out somethin else here pretty soon. Any thoughts or ideas? Id appreciate anything. Thank you

That sucks. Some observations: Cervelo S1 is an aluminium bike and aluminium can be harsher than either steel, carbon or titanium; I bought a Cervelo R3, which is a carbon frame, and sold it within 6 months because it beat me up so badly compared to my custom titanium bike.

I would recommend a professional fit to ensure that your fit is not the problem.

If you are looking for a more relaxed geometry in a road bike, then test ride the Cervelo RS because this is meant to be good for people with back pain.

Good luck.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Unless your frame is grossly too big or small your issues should be able to be address by a good bike fitter. And when I mean good I don't mean the dude who sizes you up either just by eye or by ruler. I have had good experiences with fitters that use the Retul system. Just make sure its a fitter using Retul and not a person that fits you to Retul. There is a subtle but important difference.

If this doesn't work, go to a different fitter. If that doesn't work, seek medical advice, something else is awry.

Frame material is most likely NOT the cause. If you want a more cushy ride take some air out of your tyres.
 
Feb 28, 2010
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I'm a Strength & Conditioning coach and have worked with many roadies and triathletes with very similar problems to the ones you are complaining about. Quite simply your body doesn't sound like it's strong enough at the moment. Months of therapy and massage are useless if you don't then work to get stronger to ensure the problem doesn't happen again. Now, don't confuse strength with how many kilos you can squat etc in the gym, strength can relate to isometric exercise aswell such as holding one position for a sustained period of time, much like when you're on a bike. Your pain is likely all related and due to a weakness somewhere in the kinetic chain between your calves, hamstrings, spinal erectors and even your neck - you'd be surprised how much effect whats happening on your bottom half has on your top half! You probably just need a regular stretching and myofascial release (foam roller) programme to work through to set your muscles back into their correct position, failing that try and see a fitness professional such as a Chek Practitioner who fully understands the musculature of the back, your regular Tom, **** or Harry won't have the knowledge that your nearest Chek Practitioner will.

Hope this helps, let me know if you have any further questions.
 
Mar 12, 2009
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The issues surrounding "core stability" and the like are often over-emphisied. If our core strength was that poor we'd be flopping all over the place when we walk. Forces in general cycling (track sprinting being an exception) are quite low.

There is a growing amount of evidence that "core stability" is something of a red herring, much to the angst of pilates instructors and swiss ball manufacturers. Where it may be applicable is when it is trained in the manner its going to be used, ie: by cycling.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...med_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...med_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=9


This is not to say that core strength isn't at fault, just something to consider.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Comobosques said:
Coming towards the end of a long saga in which I have been "recovering" from last years season. Started with hamstring pain, shifted into hips, IT bands, lower back, middle back, the whole shibang. I tried riding in january, did well for a week or two and then the pain came back. Completely took febuary off, got massage, physical therapy, made tons of progress, yet went for a quick spin today and boom, pain in my lower back which slowly spread to my hips. Im at the point where Im thinking that road bikes (cervelo S1) are not for me and that I should get something with a very relaxed geometry, but i just cant stomach the idea of not competing like i used to. The bike feels like it fits a great and i really enoy riding it, but Im going to have to figure out somethin else here pretty soon. Any thoughts or ideas? Id appreciate anything. Thank you


I'll throw this out there as I obviously don't know anything about you. It may not be the bike, or your body for that matter.

Tension Myositis Syndrome. ... A term coined by Dr. John Sarno of NYU.
I can't explain it all here.... this site does a fair job at it.
TMS can affect any part(s) of your body BTW .... not just back pain or other parts listed.

http://www.mindbodymedicine.com/
http://www.runningpain.com/
http://www.tarpityoga.com/tms.html
 
Nov 8, 2009
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Tapeworm said:
The issues surrounding "core stability" and the like are often over-emphisied. If our core strength was that poor we'd be flopping all over the place when we walk. Forces in general cycling (track sprinting being an exception) are quite low.

There is a growing amount of evidence that "core stability" is something of a red herring, much to the angst of pilates instructors and swiss ball manufacturers. Where it may be applicable is when it is trained in the manner its going to be used, ie: by cycling.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...med_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...med_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=9


This is not to say that core strength isn't at fault, just something to consider.

I can't say I agree with this. Firstly, just because someone isn't flopping all over the place when they walk, doesn't mean that they have adequete functionality in their core to enable efficient and injury free cycling over the thousands of miles that serious cyclists cover. Those studies that you provided links to don't have any bearing on endurance cycling as far as I can tell, although the first one does go on to state that core stability is important to prevent injury, contradicting your point.
 
Aug 4, 2009
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Its not the bike and its not strengh it is a nerve issue something is causing the nervs to pinch in you lower back.
try stretching ham strings long and slow stretch try lunge typ stretch for hip flexors. it it is that you will find it but see a specialist soon or you will soon have to give up cycling.
There are a lot of Quacks out there but you will be able to find someone who know what they are doing.
Start off with your Doctor
 
Mar 12, 2009
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Yes, I posted two with similar but slightly different findings, trying to present a balanced view 'n' all. There are plenty of others, one showing that a series of core strength exercises improved the times of 5000m runners. But then another which showed no difference for rowers etc etc.

There was this one for cycling:-
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/...med_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=4

...which found no difference in power but theorised that fatigue of the core muscles may result in a change in the pedalling dynamic, ie: may result in injury, or may not.

If you have any others I would be keen to read them.


My point about core strength is that is you can walk, say continuously for one hour, then your should be able to ride for an hour at a similar intensity without discomfort as well... if setup correctly on the bike. And it may seem contradictory but you can develop core stability simple by stabilising yourself whilst cycling (ie: consciously engaging the core), and that way it's specific to its demands.

From the information provided by the OP it seems that the pain is fast and very apparent, ie: not cause by fatigue of the core leading to incorrect pedalling technique over a period of time. Which would lead me to think more along the lines of a fit issue or as mentioned a deeper and more fundamental issue with say the spine - but then if pain is not experienced during other activities it would lead me back to a fitting issue ie: something is pushed, pulled or squeezed where it shouldn't be.
 
Mar 19, 2009
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Tapeworm said:
but then if pain is not experienced during other activities it would lead me back to a fitting issue ie: something is pushed, pulled or squeezed where it shouldn't be.

Could also be the position on the bike highlights the problem.

Is the pain only apparent when you riding on the hoods or in the drops? If you sit upright and spin the legs does your back hurt?

IMO you should go visit a Chiro and / or Osteopath. I regularly visit an Osteopath who helps me loosen muscles and provides strengthening exercises to assist with a hip issue that leads to tight calves, hamstrings and lower back on the right side of my body.
 
Jan 3, 2010
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thank you all

a lot of great input in here. Its just going to come down to seeing what works. Orthopodiatrist tells me i have tight muscles which threw my hips out of rotation. physical therapist says the lower back wasn't ready for last year and is now causin trouble everywhere else. the feldenkrais practicioner says that my upper body and lower buddy need to move together better, the list goes on. Im starting a physical therapist designed therapy program right now and will do that for about 4 weeks until i have a physio analysis/bike fit appointment. i think between these two well see somethin. crossin the fingers . . . hopefully ill be writing another post in the forums soon asking about recommendations for training programs after returning from a long break.
 
Feb 28, 2010
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Whatever happens make sure you learn from your mistakes and look after your body in future, if you've developed a muscle imbalance then it's likely to come back if you don't maintain a certain level of flexibility/mobility....

Having a foam roller at home is handy and will allow you a quick fix to some pain relief - just make sure you get an appropriate density. The harder ones will be a little/a lot more uncomfortable but will really get deep into the muscle whereas the softer ones will be much more enjoyable and more relaxing. They're basically the next best thing to having a deep tissue massage at your beckoning call. As our training load increases and we train well past fatigue, the muscles of our major muscle groups can fatigue and get lazy thus calling on the smaller muscle groups to help out in the bigger movements, when all they want to do is stabilise our bodies! When this happens our larger muscles get tight and short, and throw the overall balance of your musculature in your body off...treat yourself, you service your car when it needs servicing, listen to your body and service it when it needs it, too.

Let us know how you progress.
 
Nov 9, 2009
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mherm79 said:
Could also be the position on the bike highlights the problem.

Is the pain only apparent when you riding on the hoods or in the drops? If you sit upright and spin the legs does your back hurt?

IMO you should go visit a Chiro and / or Osteopath. I regularly visit an Osteopath who helps me loosen muscles and provides strengthening exercises to assist with a hip issue that leads to tight calves, hamstrings and lower back on the right side of my body.

I had a problem with my neck / back on and off for about 10 years, went to an osteopath three or four times over a 3 month period. No problems since then. Best £200 I've ever spent.
 
Apr 12, 2010
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Pain on the Bike

I have had some of the same issues that you noted. I have had great success with the foam rollers that were discussed, stretching and the biggest "helper" of all was increasing my core strength--it may be overblown but it has made a tremendous difference to me in both my riding and running. Hamstring pain, hippain and tingling down the right leg are virtually all gone now. I would also suggest a professional fitting that has been suggested and make sure that your saddle is a good one that is built for your specifc anatomy--improper saddles can cause huge issues. I tried several new ones this winter and they affected things dramatically in a negative way.
 
Hi, Just thought I would throw in my thought incase it may help you solve the issues and get back on your bike.

Whilst 'core stability' has been very fashionable for a number of years, I think what the previous post is getting at is that training your 'core' in its' most obvious sense (i.e. doing hundreds of crunches) is a bit of a misnomer. Of course we all have enough abdominal muscles to hold ourselves upright etc, but that is missing the point, and concentrating on the wrong muscles and systems.

Over here in the UK I run a bike fit and physiotherapy service specifically aimed at cyclists and the problems we are prone to. I started the business as many people can fit you to a bike but have little idea on how different peoples problems need to be taken into account when fitting a bike. There are also sports therapists and other physicians who are very good at treating the symptoms you may experience but post treatment if you simply get back on a bike which is poorly setup you will quickly be back at square one.

So, back to 'the core'. From the information you give and obviously it's difficult without actually seeing you, it sounds like you do have a problem controlling the forces that riding a bike places on your pelvis and lumbar spine. I agree that these forces are not as great as say, running, but can still cause major problems if not properly addressed.

I see many people who have either a lack of force closure of the Sacro Iliac Joint or poor muscle control meaning their spine rotates during every pedal revolution. Both different conditions with different fixes but with similar symptoms.

In an ideal world your spine and pelvis should be a really solid, locked down structure, this then allows your hips and legs to move independantly getting the most out of your pedalling. If you think of your SIJ as a key stone at the top of an arch between the bones of your pelvis, if the joining surfaces don't mate together well then your will have a loose platform, with your pelvis shearing on either side. Now imagine that happens every single pedal stroke over a 2 hour ride or longer. This is even more important given the amount of nerve roots you have in the area. The same can be said for a lack of control of the small muscles that hold the individual levels of your spine. If these are not switched on and your spine rotates just a tiny amount, when this happens over and over again, it's easy to see how nerves can be irritated and leave you in pain.

As a knock on effect of these things other muscles will tighten and even spasm as compensation, this may mean cramps in your hamstrings or painful aching in the larger muscles of the back.

I have had a lot of success by giving people a focused programme of exercises for their specific problems. Obviously it would be best to be able to see how your body works when on the bike, but let me know if you would like to try a more generalised programme of excercises.

As for only seeing someone with a particular piece of equipment, I would be careful. I honestly believe that even the "perfect" fit will not necessarily overcome your issues so don't pin your hopes on someone with some space age technology. I don't use the Retul system yet, although it does interest me as an additional resource. However, using slow motion cameras and my experience I can see a great deal of how tiny movements are effecting people when pedalling.

Sorry, I have waffled on far too long now, I hope some of this has helped. Let me know if you would like any more advice.

Good luck with it all.
 
Corn=pain

Stop eating corn! Something you are eating is causing significant disfunction in your body. Corn is the first food I'd suspect based on your areas of low back, midback and knee pains. If you are not noticably better after cutting corn for 1 week try cutting wheat. Third string potential is artificial sweeteners, any and all can cause knee and back pain. If that doesn't help, which would REALLY surprise me, let me know and we'll investigate further.
Dr. V
 
Mar 18, 2009
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DrVrides said:
Stop eating corn!...Dr. V

Dude, Corn is the pimp daddy of all veggies. I mean it's got a VIP pass thru the intenstine and colon...goes in yellow, comes out yellow.

Corn in. Corn out.

You can't blame corn :rolleyes:
 
DrVrides said:
Stop eating corn! Something you are eating is causing significant disfunction in your body. Corn is the first food I'd suspect based on your areas of low back, midback and knee pains. If you are not noticably better after cutting corn for 1 week try cutting wheat. Third string potential is artificial sweeteners, any and all can cause knee and back pain. If that doesn't help, which would REALLY surprise me, let me know and we'll investigate further.
Dr. V

I am off to Mexico to set up a lower back pain clinic. I'll make a fortune. :rolleyes: