How Do I... Look after my back?
Back pain is not only extremely uncomfortable but, if untreated, could lead to long-term damage.
The majority of back pain comes from excess pressure on the spine. When you are on your bike, try to ensure you are spinning smoothly. Inefficient pedalling puts excessive demands on the lumbosacral muscles that in turn subject the lumbosacral joints to abnormal stress and excessive pressure.
To relieve yourself of this pressure you must be able to rotate your pelvis forward — for this to happen you need strong abdominals and loose hamstrings.
Try performing these exercises after a ride once your muscles are warm and relaxed.
Frirstly, lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor about hip width apart. Place your hands behind your ears, elbows slightly facing outwards and chin pointing upwards. Curl up and forward so that your head, neck and shoulder blades lift off the floor.
Lift your head up to ensure your lower back stays on the floor. Hold your position between one and two seconds while squeezing your abdominals then slowly lower your head, neck and shoulder blades back to your starting position.
Sit on the floor with one leg straight out in front then place the sole of your left foot against the inside of your right knee.
Start bending forward at the waist until you feel a light stretch in your hamstring. Hold for 10 to 15 seconds, and then straighten up. Repeat five times, then change legs.
If you feel a tingly sensation in either leg or any discomfort when performing this stretch see your doctor for further advice.