How to Prevent These Three Cycling Back Injuries

Kevin Freedman, MD November 6th, 2018

Be Safe On Every Bike Ride With Our Back Injury Prevention Tips

There are numerous benefits to cycling outdoors as well as on a stationary bicycle. Outside of the realm of fitness, you decrease your carbon footprint when you bike to places rather than drive a car. Additionally, if you have an orthopaedic condition in your knees, cycling is a great cardiovascular exercise that puts less pressure on the knees than other exercise forms, like running. While you may consider it one of the safer sports, cyclists still experience injuries from time to time, particularly in their backs.

Your spine provides the necessary stability to ride a bike; it needs to be protected, otherwise, safe cycling won’t be possible. Below are three of the most common cycling back injuries and how you can prevent them next time you go for a ride.

Three Cycling Back Injuries And How To Avoid Them

  1. Contusions: A contusion is a bruise caused by a direct blow that crushes muscles fibers and connective tissue. A bad fall on a bicycle can lead to painful back contusions and an early end to your ride.

    Prevention: Preventing contusions means preventing falls or collisions when on a bike. To do so, make sure you adjust your seat and handles in order to ride in a comfortable position; don’t model the pros and their riding styles if that does not feel good to you. More so, be aware of your route and what kind of terrain you will be riding on. Equip yourself appropriately with a secure helmet, well-fitting clothes, and good-quality footwear.

  2. Strains: Strains vary from a stretch in the muscle or tendon to a partial or complete tear. Symptoms of strains include pain, muscle spasms, swelling, and inflammation. A back strain can occur when cyclists overexert themselves or ride in a position that puts too much pressure on the spine.

    Prevention: You may not notice back pain from cycling while you are in the midst of a ride; symptoms may arise once the ride is over. However, if you are upping the intensity of your workout, keep in mind that a back injury is slightly more likely, and so precautions should be taken. Stretch your muscles before and after cycling. Mixing up your workouts and incorporating back strengthening exercises can also aid in protecting your spine from an injury. Have your bike looked over by a professional to ensure that it is fitted properly for your body.

  3. Sprains: While similar to strains, a sprain is a stretch or tear in a ligament. Sprains are classified by their intensity: a stretch in and some damage to the ligament, a partial tear, and a complete tear. A back sprain may also happen due to overexertion and improper technique when riding.

    Prevention: The prevention methods for sprains are similar to those for strains. Stretching and doing a variety of exercises for your back is recommended. Pace yourself and take breaks when your body needs rest. Most importantly, do not cycle through back pain; if it is a tear in a muscle or ligament, continuing the activity that caused a sprain in the first will only make it worse.

The physicians at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute certainly do not want the thought of these cycling back injuries to keep you from using a stationary bike, competing in a race, or taking your bike out of a casual ride. Cycling is an excellent form of exercise, and knowing how to avoid harm can definitely keep you safe. Rothman Orthopaedic Institute is available to provide additional information on cycling back injuries.

The back specialists at Rothman Orthopaedic Institute encourage you to check out our ebook focused on preventing cycling back injuries and managing back pain. If you have further questions, or you have back pain from cycling and require treatment, please visit us here or contact us at 1-800-321-9999.

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