Cycling Back Pain Relief

Summer is nearly here and spring cycling weather has been awesome! In Portland there are many reasons to ride starting with pleasure, but it may include commute or competition too. One of the most frustrating things that can happen on a ride is low back pain. In recent research examiners found as many as 58 percent of professional cyclists had experienced low back pain while riding in the last year. Many bike riders of all skill levels are a looking for cycling back pain relief. What can be done to fix this low back pain? Here is a valuable list of the most common things to look at to eliminate low back pain when cycling.

Bike Fit:

Cycling Back Pain Relief

Image used with permission from RCB

The number one fix for low back pain while riding a bicycle is getting a proper bike fit. This can include the size in general, in this case a new bike is needed if the fit is wrong. If the bike is the right size then making changes to bar height, seat position, or distanced to the pedals can make a huge difference for low back pain when riding. At our neighbors place, River City Bicycles, there are tons of staff members who can give free pro tips on changes to be made or gear to improve the ride. They also offer a bike fit service that comes with a 1 year guarantee from their expert bike fitters who use the latest in high tech equipment for bike to rider sizing.

Flexibility and Core Strength:

Very often tight hamstrings or hip flexors will cause extra strain and can cause increased low back pain. Also, if there is any weakness in core musculature including the back, abs, and butt, this too can increase low back pain. Some simple training and conditioning can often help riders find more comfort while in the saddle. You can try some local yoga studios like Corepower Yoga or physical therapy at PT 360 Sport Medicine and Spine Therapy to meet focused goals quickly.

Misalignment or Leg Length Differences:

Sometimes backs are out of alignment and extra stress is being added even when the rider is strong and has a good bike fit. Leg length differences are another common cause of low back pain when riding and can be a serious pain generator. An assessment from a chiropractor can quickly determine where the problem is at, and then they can fix the misalignment. The team at Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness is experienced in treating both back pain and athletes.


Posture on and off the bike can increase back pain. The way we sit, stand, and move determines the load being put on our body. Low back pain is easily provoked by bad habits with posture. It will create extra stress on the low back that will increase pain when riding. Sitting up tall with the shoulders square over the hips and not letting your head drift forward will help. Hip hinging and bending the knees when lifting and keeping the shoulders back and tummy tucked in a little when standing for long periods can help too.

Warm Up:

Do a warm up before you ride. Getting muscles activated before a workout or even light ride   can help to decrease pain. It is like a wake up to the muscle groups you are going to work during the exercise. Some exercises for low back pain pre-ride warm up include: Butt kickers, High knee, Wood pecker, and Low bear crawls.

Dr. Johnson and Dr. Cooper are chiropractors at Cascade Chiropractic and Wellness in Portland Oregon. Both have taken courses focused on treating athletes and pain. They are very skilled working with cycling back pain relief. Their chiropractic training included with a keen eye for correct posture, and they can offer lots of techniques for correction. Their friendly staff is ready to help answer questions or book appointments when needed.