jonny_five wrote:Back pain can often come from having tight hamstrings. The tightness of the leg muscles can often distort the position of the pelvis making the lower back uncomfortable. I used to get a lot of pain on the bike too but it's all gone since I took up yoga a few years back.
This is very true and stretching is both good and important, however understanding why the hamstrings are tight and addressing that issue is more important.
One very likely cause is poor core strength, for reason not best understood, many of us as we age stop or reduce using our core muscles and start to rely on the big muscles in our limbs to provide the strength for movement. This effectively means we are using muscles to do tasks they were never intended for, this not only pulls the pelvis out of correct alignment but causes stiffness in the muscles which further pulls the pelvis out of alignment, and of course all this bad posture starts to create wear and tear on the spine.
And improving core strength is far from easy, just doing some "core strength" exercises you have found on the internet may not help, you will probably just use all the wrong muscles and think you have great core strength. And if you continue doing the exercises using all the wrong muscles then you may not only be wasting your time you could easily make the exasperate the situation.
It is very difficult to know if you are using the correct muscles, you need to find a physiotherapist / pilates teacher and spend some time on a one to one basis just to learn how to engage these deep core muscles. If you have a very weak core like I had you may have to start of with little more than breathing exercises. (and I could easily do stuff like the plank but was using very strong leg and stomach muscles rather than my core) I think I spent about six months doing what I considered pointless little exercises before I even understood how to engage these deep down all important core muscles.