Beginner back injury

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7/31/2016 4:53 PM

So I’ve strained my back on the weekend and I think I’ll be off the bike for at least a week. I’m 43 so I do get a sore back occasionally, normally after I kill myself moving house all weekend or something along those lines…

In this case I’m pretty sure it was when I was practicing bunny hops, which stinks as I was just starting to really feel like the technique was coming together and I was getting much higher than I’ve gone before (well high for me anyway… haha)

A couple of questions out of this:

1) Is this common?

2) I’ve seen a few places saying higher bars and/or a shorter frame will help, any truth to that?
I’m riding a BSD Passenger 21.5 frame with BSD Passenger 8.75 bars and a BSD Race V2 stem (52mm reach, 26mm rise). I’m 6 foot tall and ride park/flat.

Thanks all

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7/31/2016 7:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 7/31/2016 7:09 PM

Seems like the frame is a little big for you. I'm 6' and I'm currently on a 20.75", but I'll be going to a 21" soon. I just ordered some 9" bars because mine were a little low to me. Is it a top load or front? You honestly prob just pulled something tho. Changed ur bars or frame might help, but u could of just tweaked something.

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7/31/2016 8:39 PM

Top load.

Thanks

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7/31/2016 8:45 PM

Yeah could just be your setup is a bit too small for you. Is it your upper, mid, or lower back?

Either way, do some stretches & core strengthening exercises. They'll help relieve the strain and help prevent it from happening again. I have a herniated disc in my lower back and stretches (hamstring mainly) & core strengthening helped me big time, I'm basically all healed up now (I'm half your age though and heal quicker, but still) so that should help you too. But getting a setup more suited to your height might be more beneficial too.

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7/31/2016 8:50 PM

I'm not sure if setup caused your injury but personally I'm a fan of taller bars for us grown men. Much more comfort for lots of riding time.

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7/31/2016 8:56 PM

It's the lower back just above my hips on the left side...

Yeah I'm thinking about trying some big bars, that's a pretty cheap change to try... and stretching before I ride... generally I'm too lazy / in too much of a hurry to start riding but I think this has probably been a good lesson for me! wink

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7/31/2016 8:56 PM

yoga / stretching before and after you ride.

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7/31/2016 9:24 PM

skitter77 wrote:

It's the lower back just above my hips on the left side...

Yeah I'm thinking about trying some big bars, that's a pretty ...more

that's where mine started. so yeah, do stretches and whatnot. Improve your posture too when you're sitting/lifting heavy things. It doesn't seem like much, but it goes a long way and is so much better for your back.


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8/1/2016 2:15 AM

Bar height is personal preference really, I've heard quite a few older guys say higher bars help with back problems. But I've also heard loads say it makes no difference. Higher bars make the bike less stable, which means you're more likely to lose your balance and come off. I'm 6" and ride 9" bars with a 14mm rise stem, so a very similar height to yours.
A short frame will make your back worse as you'll be hunched over more. But yours may be a little long, it's personal preference again, and I doubt that would be the cause. Although it may be a little easier to learn tricks with a slightly shorter tt.
Chances are, it's just your age! I'm 35, went for a ride yesterday and now my hips are hurting. It's just what happens to us older riders.
I'm going to start doing yoga or something to help with my flexibility. Something like that would probably help a lot more than changing your set up. Although there's no harm in trying a few different things to dial your bike in

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8/1/2016 5:11 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/1/2016 5:12 AM

skitter77 wrote:

It's the lower back just above my hips on the left side...

Yeah I'm thinking about trying some big bars, that's a pretty ...more

Sometimes my lower back feels a little discomfort, not pain after riding for an hour or so. Even with slightly larger bars you're still talking about 1 inch or so only difference in height. For me it's also from sitting all day at work.I hit the gym 3-4 nights a week but that's another topic.I try to not hunch during the day but it's hard to be perfect. I like to get up for walks during my day, hit some stairs etc. Definitely stretching is important like the others are saying. Nurse that injury.

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8/2/2016 8:30 PM

Thanks to all for your replies. Here’s an update on where I’m at.

I went to the physio this morning, she thinks I sprained a joint. From what I told her about how it happened I think I’d pulled it a bit in the preceding days (hard riding during the week and heavy yard work the day before) and then on Sunday (when it was already tender and I knew I shouldn’t be riding but did anyway) I probably tore a little ligament in one of the lower back joints.

So, her advice is to rest it (off the bike for probably 2 weeks, then start to ease back in). Don’t do any stretching till it’s mended (leave it alone for 4 weeks), but after that start stretching before riding. Apply some heat to keep it loose, and take only minimal anti-inflammatory meds if possible. She’s taped my back up and I’m going back on Monday to check in and see how it’s mending.

Interestingly enough she said that this kind of injury isn’t age specific, it’s just the right (or wrong) combination of factors and movements and bang, you’re done. However in the future stretching will help minimise the chance of doing it again.

I also visited my local BMX shop yesterday and had a good chat with them about bar height and bike setup. I’ve gone to a BSD Giarific XL (9.5” rise) from the Passenger (8.75”) I had. Obviously I haven’t tried them yet but both guys I spoke to have had back issues and they were pretty confident that the change would be beneficial.

Now I’ve just got to wait, which sucks but I’d rather let it heal properly than do more damage which would keep me off the bike even longer…

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8/3/2016 8:51 AM
Edited Date/Time: 8/3/2016 8:58 AM

Sounds like you got good advice from here, your bike shop and physio, I've had problems with my back for a few years now too and found the stretches exercises and big bars really helped. Noticed you mentioned that your pull was off to one side of your lower back into the hip. My back pain might be in the same place but has periodically been off to either side.

In my case I found core strengthening exercises like front and side planking and some squats without weights where I gently twist to one side on the way up and alternate direction for each rep have helped. Also yoga ball exercises that involve twisting work the muscles at the base of the spine that support twisting motions. Not that we noticeably twist from side to side much while riding... But when you are pedaling hunched over on a BMX there are lots of times where you stabilize yourself by pulling or pushing on one side of your bars more than the other. That's where the twisting force comes from. Also think of pedaling.. you push with your left foot while apposing that force by pulling on the right bar and back and fourth as you pedal. While that's happening your core is keeping you straight as your limbs manipulate the bike.

My theory is that laziness let my core muscles get weak and those muscles at the base of the spine that join in my hips had to work much harder to do what my outer core muscles should have been doing. Strengthening the core and also finding ways to gently work the muscles that are strained have shown the best results for me but that's just me. Hope you work yourself out and get back riding soon!

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8/3/2016 11:00 AM

http://www.gsportbmx.com/2003/10/stretching/

This has helped me a ton, my knee is shot permanently but I have had zero back problems since.

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12/1/2016 7:00 PM

Do you ride right foot forward? I Do and pulled the same spot about 10 min ago. I was trying to full cab and was only making it 270, so i figured id put more effort into it. I did the 180 rolled backwards, and pulled/twisted as hard as i could. I spun myself into instant pain. And still only made it to 270. I rode bmx everyday from age 13-17 so about 4 years and never got hurt other than knocking the wind out of myself and alot of bloody/bruised shins. I decided to get back into bmx a few weeks ago at age 23. 4th time on the bike and i already messed myself up. I never understood why people stretched because i never pulled any muscles. Lesson learned.

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12/2/2016 2:13 AM

skitter77 wrote:

Thanks to all for your replies. Here’s an update on where I’m at.

I went to the physio this morning, she thinks I sprained a ...more

stretching and working on your core are the best things you can do for your back, injury or not. i dont really do it anymore and ive noticed my back being more sore from less activity these days.

also make sure youre feelin good before you ride again, because like sunday says healing up is quicker when youre younger and if ya aint healed up enough it can just get worse.

hopefully your change in bar size helps you out man! feel better!

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12/2/2016 12:41 PM

skitter77 wrote:

Thanks to all for your replies. Here’s an update on where I’m at.

I went to the physio this morning, she thinks I sprained a ...more

Since this thread's back from the dead... How's the back healing up?

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12/2/2016 3:18 PM

Hey all,

I've been meaning to give an update on this so here it is...

After lots of reading and talks with my LBS I changed up my bike by switching from 8.75" bars to 9.5" and then following that up with new Odyssey R32 forks - uncut, so with lots of height in the front end.

I'm also a lot more conscious of being careful with my back and regularly stretch now (probably still not as much as I should)...

Anyway, results are that my back issues are now pretty good. A few twinges here and there and some stiffness sometimes but otherwise pretty good.

However, I wouldn't recommend going to bigger bars and a higher front end as a silver bullet for sore backs. Yes, it's way easier to lift the front end up, but these changes have a radical effect on the way the bike handles. When I first put the new bars on I was like "Oh no I've made a big mistake!" because it felt so freaking weird....

With the bigger bars and higher front end the bike is a lot more twitchy and responsive... I love how it handles now but I really had to get used to it.

Summary - yes these changes help, but your bike will feel very different and you still have to stretch and look after yourself, it's no instant fix for all your problems. wink


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