Bike Physio – Andrew Metter
The Bike Stretch Video is provided by Glenhuntly Road Physiotherapy and is of general nature and is for educational /entertainment purposes only. No information is to be taken as medical or other health advice pertaining to any individual’s specific health or medical condition. Pain that is not associated with stretching means you should ease off. Please contact the clinic if in doubt. Thanks.
Living with back pain…
As a consequence of being diagnosed with a lumbar spondylolisthesis (unstable lumbar spinal joint) 35 years ago, I had to give up on my triathlon endeavors, specifically the running component.
Along the course of seeking help, I had been recommended by an orthopaedic specialist for spinal surgery to fuse the affected segments with metal implants. Keen to avoid such drastic measures, I became curious about managing this condition myself through exercise and core stabilizing techniques. I was drawn toward Physiotherapy and the beneficial effects I had experienced with treatment. Pilates/core stabilizing techniques were not well known at this time.
To date, I’ve avoided the invasive nature of spinal procedures and impart this knowledge of the management of back and neck spinal issues with my patients, (the missing piece of the puzzle during my rehab), by encouraging and teaching the maintenance of good core body strength and fitness.
I firmly believe that we all need to find what works for us individually, and not to be drawn into what others are doing, or what someone suggests (incorrectly but with good intentions) and so partake in an activity that may be potentially harmful in the long term.As much as I enjoyed doing all sports when I was younger, from rugby and athletics to triathlons, I had to give up on these as they were high impact and caused my back to respond with pain and spasms, often impacting the spinal nerves. I remain a keen sportsman, engaging in mostly low impact regimes – cycling, swimming, and yoga.
The positive spin on this is that I’ve been able to follow my passion for exercise and also have a rewarding career in physiotherapy, enabling others to overcome similar issues.
The body is designed to move, we need to embrace this with logic and inspiration to achieve our desires and goals. As we get older we need to understand how to do this correctly, to adjust according to our bodies’ ability and remain committed to the process.
Mentally it can be very challenging, however as our bodies adapt and we see the results, it is very encouraging, and maintaining the regime becomes easier.
Keeping the body flexible and strong allows better function. Certain sports do not engage certain groups of muscles adequately, resulting in imbalances of posture and/or strength.
I enjoy cycling, as it provides low impact and strong cardio workouts, however it is a prime example of a “mono” activity, requiring alternate balance specific exercises, needing to be done regularly to restore equilibrium to the whole body.
More and more people are now cycling, from beginners to triathletes. Whether it is for commuting, recreational or more competitive aspirations, cycling is certainly gaining more popularity.
From my experience, both on and off the bike, the cycling position is a major cause of symptoms leading to back, neck and shoulder concerns (bike specific issues).
Pain, stiffness and some neurological symptoms can occur and for a multitude of reasons.
I believe the management of these issues, treating the cause rather than the symptoms, can be self-managed with stretching and strengthening to maintain a balance of flexibility, strength and core stability, the basis for optimal body function.
What most cyclists’ experience (including myself) is the stiffness associated with long or hard rides, particularly in the back, neck and shoulders.
It is essential to incorporate upper and lower spinal mobility exercises to avoid future pain and joint issues.
Here are some basic exercises designed to do after your ride – just 15 mins, and a great time to just breathe and stretch out the major muscles groups. Try not to be distracted by laughing at the actor!
If you would like a more personalised regime or are have bike related stiffness/pain please don’t hesitate to come and see me.