Cycling wrecks backs!!!

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mill4six
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Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by mill4six »

After my recent back trouble (thankfully responding superbly to an osteopath's ministrations) I've been discussing my work environment with a lady from occupational health. I was intrigued by her asking if I cycle. When I said yes she said "oh well then it doesn't matter what I do for you here, you'll just undo it all as soon as you get on your bike" She insists that cycling throws the back into a bad posture. I explained I've been cycling since my dad took my stabilisers off and that cycling was the only way to get relief from my recent symptoms but she's adamant. I suspect she's keen for me to blame something outside the workplace for my problems but I've no axe to grind, I'm not after compo, just advice on how to organise my workbench to optimise my posture. I think it would be wrong to let her assertion about cycling go unchallenged, I'll certainly mention it to the osteo. Bike fit is very important and people do experience back pain from cycling but it's not the general case surely? So how do we refute her allegations?.......
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[XAP]Bob
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by [XAP]Bob »

mill4six wrote:After my recent back trouble (thankfully responding superbly to an osteopath's ministrations) I've been discussing my work environment with a lady from occupational health. I was intrigued by her asking if I cycle. When I said yes she said "oh well then it doesn't matter what I do for you here, you'll just undo it all as soon as you get on your bike" She insists that cycling throws the back into a bad posture. I explained I've been cycling since my dad took my stabilisers off and that cycling was the only way to get relief from my recent symptoms but she's adamant. I suspect she's keen for me to blame something outside the workplace for my problems but I've no axe to grind, I'm not after compo, just advice on how to organise my workbench to optimise my posture. I think it would be wrong to let her assertion about cycling go unchallenged, I'll certainly mention it to the osteo. Bike fit is very important and people do experience back pain from cycling but it's not the general case surely? So how do we refute her allegations?.......

Tell her you ride a 'bent :D
Just to see her response...

The position on an upwrong bike (except very upright postures) does tend to leave the rider holding a constant curve through the spine (which curves the other way at rest).

I'd suggest that the muscle tone developed is more significant tho'
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tatanab
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by tatanab »

mill4six wrote:that cycling throws the back into a bad posture.

An osteopath I used in the 1990s (shoulder problems) was pleased that I cycled and rode motor cycles rather than slumped in a seat in car. She said that this probably helped give me my fine erect posture.
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Swallow
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Swallow »

I often have back pain and find relief through cycling. Even if I'm struggling to walk I can still cycle.
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BSRU
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by BSRU »

The H&S work bods used to, probably still do, give advice about the "correct" upright posture whilst sitting on a chair.
Recently research has shown the advice is wrong as you are putting alot of pressure/weight on your spine. The better way to sit is to slouch, apparently, luckily I am almost horizontal in my work chair. :)
tyred
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by tyred »

Swallow wrote:I often have back pain and find relief through cycling. Even if I'm struggling to walk I can still cycle.


That's my experience as well, although I can't do an aero position any more, sit up and beg bikes suit me better.
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Vorpal »

I've had the same experience; when my back has hurt, I can't do much except cycle without it hurting.

I would suggest that a physio or other medical professional who is also a cyclist might be able to give you some suitable arguements. The comapnies that design bicycles involve ergonomic and medical professionals; I can't imagine anyone selling products that damage health in the USA and not getting sued. :roll: I'd say she is obligated to provide evidence.

When I brought up cycling posture to a physio that I saw for back problems (she's not a cyclist), she said it was fine. She did say that if spent more than an hour or two on my bicycle at once, I should vary my position. She also said that sitting and working postures would have far more impact on the health of my back. The reason she said is that when one is cycling, one is in constant motion. The damage is done when the muscles must support the body in the same position for more than a few minutes at a time.

Whatever the person from occupational health thinks, it certainly should not be an excuse for her not to help you with your work space ergonomics.
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bigjim
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by bigjim »

I was once informed that the design of the spine is for the discs to hang almost vertically. I.e slouched over in the way you see primates moving along a flat surface. Almost a racing stance on a bicycle. The constant upright position unaturally compresses the discs of the spine leading to a lot of problems.
Stradageek
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Stradageek »

Swallow wrote:I often have back pain and find relief through cycling. Even if I'm struggling to walk I can still cycle.


I have suffered back pain all my life. The only time it doesn't hurt is when I'm cycling. I've moved to riding recumbents and now nothing else hurts either (e.g. bum, writs, neck, shoulders) - bliss!
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Gearoidmuar »

The occupational health lady is talking through an opening which is situated in a nether position to the end of her spine. These people are full of theory. Most of it is unsubstantiated nonsense. Medicine is in fact much the same. Bend the facts to fit the theory. (Retired doctor speaking).

I cycle with a friend who has a terrible back with multiple ruptured disks, spinal curvature etc. We do a lot of cycling. It doesn't bother him, whereas 10 minutes in a stooped position, like working on a bike, bothers him mightily.
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Geriatrix »

About 2 years ago I suffered from a slipped disk & for a period of time lost some control of some lower leg muscles, which made me feel a bit like Donald duck when walking.
I wondered if cycling was causal but my GP's advice was raise the handlebars if you can for a more upright position but get back on your bike.
I never raised the handlebars and the "get back on your bike" remained good advice.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman
Geriatrix
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Geriatrix »

Stradageek wrote:I have suffered back pain all my life. The only time it doesn't hurt is when I'm cycling. I've moved to riding recumbents and now nothing else hurts either (e.g. bum, writs, neck, shoulders) - bliss!

Ditto. Never really suffered from saddle pain but the neck pain and numb fingers is gone. I still have my uprights but use them less nowadays.
Now can someone move the hills!
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by Slowroad »

About 15 years ago I had a bad slipped disc which meant I could hardly walk for some months. However I could still cycle so I did just that, cycling for even very short journeys where walking would have resulted in numb feet and pain in my legs. By the time my consultant's appointment came round I was walking OK again, and even bending (carefully!) Of course my back might have righted itself if I'd just carried on walking, but it did seem better on the whole to avoid anything that avoided irritaing my poor old squished sciatic nerve!
Hope yours sorts itself out too.
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meic
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by meic »

Purely anecdotal but it seems to me that my back feels much better when I am doing more cycling.
Though it could just be that if I am cycling, I am not doing any other physical work which does hurt my back.
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michael42
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Re: Cycling wrecks backs!!!

Post by michael42 »

mill4six wrote:After my recent back trouble (thankfully responding superbly to an osteopath's ministrations) I've been discussing my work environment with a lady from occupational health. I was intrigued by her asking if I cycle. When I said yes she said "oh well then it doesn't matter what I do for you here, you'll just undo it all as soon as you get on your bike" She insists that cycling throws the back into a bad posture. I explained I've been cycling since my dad took my stabilisers off and that cycling was the only way to get relief from my recent symptoms but she's adamant. I suspect she's keen for me to blame something outside the workplace for my problems but I've no axe to grind, I'm not after compo, just advice on how to organise my workbench to optimise my posture. I think it would be wrong to let her assertion about cycling go unchallenged, I'll certainly mention it to the osteo. Bike fit is very important and people do experience back pain from cycling but it's not the general case surely? So how do we refute her allegations?.......


I am no doctor, but I've always been of the impression that using your stomach muscles properly (and having some) will save your back.

If you cycle in too high a gear I'm sure that will put a strain on your back, especially if you don't heed the comment above.

A programme I watched about Bradley Wiggins his couch (couch? "Hi I'm Bradley Wiggins sofa") coach...said that (paraphrasing) Bradley wastes no energy when he's on the bike on anything other than making the bike go quickly. He's got a relaxed upper body even when his legs are incredibly active. So, perhaps there's something in that. I've no doubt people who hurt their backs cycling are probably not following that precept.

I did an hour on a pegalo at Willen Lake the other day, that was a killer on my back though. Mainly because I was too big for it. So I've no doubt a bad fit on the bike could cause back trouble.

But all my back pain and shoulder pain is caused by computer gaming - I go out on the bike so that when I get back, I've stopped feeling pain - for a few hours at least.

The only thing I feel after or during cycling (aside from occasional highs) is perhaps better described as fatigue, not pain (although people describe it as though it is pain)
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