Preventing and treating lower back pain when you cycle

Whether it’s as a result of a long ride or a cycling accident, lower back pain can strike without warning and without mercy.

Given how hard your legs work when cycling, it would be the logical conclusion to think that your knees would be the most susceptible area to incur an injury.

However, a recent study shows that this isn’t the case. Surprisingly, the research reveals that the biggest cause of pain for cyclists is lower-back injuries.

We here at Cycle Assist have seen first hand the distress that back pain can cause to those who have been involved in cycling accidents.

As a result, this article aims to help those who have suffered back pain whilst cycling and also help those who may not have experienced it yet, to avoid it in the future.

Thankfully there are a few fixes that can be implemented in order to reduce the risk.

1. Does your bike fit?

The first thing you should look at is how well your bike fits you. Being able to reach the pedals doesn’t count as a good fit.

A bike setup that is too long can cause your back to ache as it has to stretch further than it is meant to when you arch it to grasp the handlebars.

Visit a professional cycling shop and ask someone to help you achieve the right fit for your riding style.

It’s important to remember that there isn’t one ‘perfect’ riding position for everyone, so seeking the help of a professional is always a good idea.

In the meantime, you should be able to comfortably reach your handlebars whilst sat in an upright position. Your elbows should have a slight bend in them, and make sure you’re not overreaching.

You can get a better idea of the type of bike fit that you should be aiming for as well as the types of professionals that offer the service, as well as information about physio-led fits by clicking here.

2. Work the core

Another mistake made by those who suffer back pain after a ride is to only work on the back muscles in the gym.

Those who don’t work their core muscles are much more likely to suffer from back pain than those who do.

The core muscles in the body help maintain balance on the bike alongside the back muscles, they help you control the movement and they play a vital role in generating power.

In particular, the lumbar area of the core should be strong. The lumbar muscles act as an anchor and help the muscles around them to remain stable.

To strengthen the muscles try doing two sets of reverse curls 3 times a week.

3. Don’t go the distance on your first few rides

It can be tempting after you’ve had your bike fit carried out by a professional, to hop on your bike and ride hard, after all your back should be fine from now on right?


With cycling being a relatively low impact exercise, it can be easy to get carried away and ride harder and longer when we’re feeling great.

But riding longer than you usually do, too soon after your bike fit could cause more harm than good.

The reason for this is that the muscles you will use in your back after your bike is fitted properly, won’t have been used very much on your past rides and as a result, they won’t be as strong.

Build your distance over an extended period of weeks or even months in order to ensure that your back will remain free from pain long after you’ve finished your ride.

4. Mix up your riding position

Keeping your upper body static for your whole ride can be catastrophic in your bid to remain pain-free.

As tempting as it may be to get your head down and pedal hard, keeping your back arched for an extended period of time puts pressure on the muscles and bones in your back and repetitive positioning can cause chronic injuries to manifest themselves.

The best way to combat this is to switch up your positioning, try standing up in the saddle at least once every mile, scoot forward and back slightly at regular intervals and give your body a break from the bike at least once a week. You could use this time to work on some strength and conditioning training in the gym.

5. Try yoga

Yoga is becoming more and more fashionable, particularly with professional athletes.

Practicing yoga poses regularly can help you strengthen your core, stretch out tight muscles in your back and help you stay fighting fit.

In some instances, yoga can also help boost your recovery time after a road traffic accident, however, you should always seek the advice of a medical professional before you carry out yoga or any other physical activity after a cycling accident.

6. Back pain caused by an accident

We understand that back pain can be commonplace in cyclists, but if your back pain has manifested itself as a result of an accident that wasn’t your fault, then you shouldn’t suffer in silence.

Initially, ensure you seek medical help, this should be your priority. Once you are safe and being treated, your next port of call should be to get advice from a qualified legal professional who can help you make your cycling accident claim, and we can help!


We understand that back pain can cause a variety of problems both on a cyclist’s ride and also in their everyday lives.

We have seen the impact that back pain can have first-hand.

If you have suffered back pain or any other injury as a result of a cycling accident and you believe that the accident wasn’t your fault, then we can help.

Our solicitors are cycling accident specialists with experience of numerous cases.

We offer a personal and professional approach to your case, ensuring you achieve the maximum amount of compensation from your claim.

We also offer a free initial consultation and our solicitors work on a no-win no-fee basis, meaning you have no initial monetary obligation.

To arrange a consultation with one of our cycling solicitors call us today on 01625 506 672 or complete our online enquiry form and a member of our team will get back to you at a time that is more suitable for you.