When your preferred activity happens to be mountain biking, you expect to have occasional aches and pains after cascading over hills and rough terrain. While you’re not going to avoid every possible movement that might leave you in discomfort, there are things you can do to make the experience less demanding on your back. Here are a few recommendations from spinal surgeons in Beverly Hills.
Improve Hip Range of Motion
Tight hip muscles, including the main hip flexor (psoas) and a connecting thigh muscle (tensor fasciae latae), mean your lower back will be forced to pick up the slack. Flexible hips increase range of motion and ease pressure on your spine while riding.
Maintain Core Muscle Strength
Front and back muscles within your mid-section (core) support your back while riding. Concentrate on the hip hinge pattern, flexion, and extension via the hip joint to strengthen muscles you’ll use for seated pedaling and the squat pattern, legs and other lower body muscles, for standing pedaling.
Know When to Stand Up
Mountain biking isn’t something done exclusively from a sitting or hunched forward motion. Muscles are stretched differently from a seated position. An upright position maintains your posture and places your muscles into the correct alignment to provide meaningful support.
Boost Pedal Power
As you improve your core strength and posture, it should become easier to put more power into your pedaling. Doing so will extend the stretch you get from pedaling to your hips and nearby back-supporting muscles. Bend your arms slightly as you grasp the ends of the handlebars to support your posture while pedaling.
Ensure a Proper Fit
Mountain biking can also contribute to back pain if you’re not using a bike adjusted to your riding posture. The saddle, or seat, should be level with the frame of the bike and at a height that allows you to keep your knees fairly straight with a minimal bend at the lowest pedaling position.
Start with a little R&R coupled with the application of heat and ice and some over-the-counter medications if you’re experiencing back pain following a ride. If discomfort is intense or persists longer than a few days, see your doctor.
For more information on treating persistent back pain, turn to the spine specialists at The Spine Institute Center. Our experienced team specializes in motion-preserving back surgeries, which can help patients return to their favorite activities sooner. Call (310) 828-7757 today and schedule your consultation.