Sports Medicine
A Crucial Period
Good Pain, Bad Pain
On Your Knees
Secondary Injuries
Imaging Technology
What's Sciatica?
The Female Athlete
Putting Your Feet First
Itis Schmitis
Too Much, Too Soon
Under the Influence
What's Goin' On?
Think Inches, Not Pounds
Preventing Vaginitis
That Painful Pull
Athlete's Heart
Exercise & Arthritis
Chilled to the Bone
Measuring Body Fat
Exercise and Your Breasts
Choosing a Sports Doctor
Lean on Me (Shoulder)
Exercise & Anemia
Exercise Abuse
Pelvis Sighting
Hand Aid
It's All in the Wrist
Back in Action
Altitude Adjustment
Tennis Elbow, Anyone?
Exercising in the Heat
Agony of the Feet
Restless Legs
Night Time Cramps
Birth Control Concerns
No Periods, No Babies?
Post Partum Prescription
Weight Loss Mystery
Undesirable Cooldown
To Brew Or Not To Brew
Fitness After Baby
Biking and Back Pain
Swimmer's Shoulder
A Hidden Athlete
Avoiding Osteoporosis
Drug Testing
Maximum Heart Rate
Headway Against Headaches
Torn Rotator Cuff
Fat Figures
Bloody Urine
Sag Story
Lackluster Leg
Bothersome Bulge
Gaining in Years
Taking It On the Shin
Aching Ankles
Hoop Help
Tender Toes
Meals For Muscle
Growing Pains
Hot Tips
High Altitude PMS
Personal Bests
Air Pollution
Ankle Blues
Heartbreak Heel
Yeast Relief

Bicycle Back Pain

A Fitting Problem

Q: For over two years I have cycled with lower-back pain. I can cycle for about 30 minutes before it starts to develop, but after 45 minutes, I'm in excruciating pain. If I get off the bike, the pain is alleviated immediately.

After stretching, I can get back on my bike and ride another 15 or 20 minutes before it starts all over again. I have done 100-mile bike rides, getting off the bike every 15 to 20 miles, and have cycled over 6,000 miles with this problem.

I have tried chiropractic treatments and massage therapy. I went to a sports medicine orthopedic doctor who put me on a physical therapy program that I have followed for seven months. All of the scans have shown my discs and vertebrae to be normal. I stretch every day and do abdominal strengthening exercises.

I went to a bike coach to check my positioning on the bike, which I built from the ground up, starting with the frame. In fact, I've changed the stem length six times, from short to long, which extends my back over the top tube. Instead of keeping my back rounded, I'm more flat across. All the pros suggest this.

The doctor says he will inject my back with cortisone only if all else fails. The last two years at work have been very stressful. Do you believe that stress causes chronic pain in certain parts of the body? Is there anything you think we might have missed? I love cycling and what it does for me. I don't want to give it up, but it's hard to keep suffering in silence.

Harwich, MA

A: Stress can be a contributing factor in many diseases, including lower-back pain. However, in your case the back pain only comes when you are doing one activity - cycling - and is relieved immediately when you stop and stretch. This would indicate the problem is biomechanical.

How can you deal with this problem?

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Billie Jean King

Comments by Barb Harris
Editor in Chief,
Shape Magazine

General Health
Common Medical Problems
Dental Health
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Eating Disorders
Alcohol & Other Drugs
Environmental Health

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