Author Topic: Tips for avoiding back pain at night  (Read 956 times)

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Offline Saburo

Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« on: May 18, 2013, 07:51:49 pm »
On my few tours so far, I haven't had a problem with my back while riding but I have had extensive pain at night.  No matter what I can't sleep through the night due to lower back pain and stiffness.  I use a Therma-rest pad but it doesn't seem to help with comfort.  I have trouble sleeping on my side or stomach though I tried that.  Any tips would be great because that's really the only thing I don't like about touring...

Offline John Nelson

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2013, 08:25:39 am »
I use a 2.5" thick air mattress and cannot sleep well with anything thinner. Back pain is such a tricky thing. You'll probably need to experiment with different pads and different firmness of inflation.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2013, 11:22:12 am »
I'll emphasize the comment about right level of inflation.  For me that means just enough to keep me from bottoming out., but no more.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #3 on: May 19, 2013, 11:59:38 am »
What's causing the pain?  Is it back muscles that aren't used to long days in the saddle?  If that's it, a stretching routine every evening might loosen up the muscles and help you sleep better.  Is it cramping because you're dry and need salt?  If so, the obvious answer is to drink more and eat more salt.

If none of the above, you might want to experiment with motels every second or third night, and see if sleeping in a real bed helps.  Of course, you can bet that most motel beds won't match your mattress at home.

Offline Saburo

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2013, 05:49:50 pm »
Thanks to all.  To answer the questions posed... I don't have any problem with my back during riding and usually my back feels better once I'm on the bike or up and moving.  Stretching couldn't hurt though.  (Most likely anyway.)  I haven't had any problems with cramping.  Usually the first night on the ground starts the cycle of poor sleep and waking up with soreness, feeling better on the bike and then the second and third nights the back is shouting "no mas" everytime I lay down on the ground.  Hotels wouldn't be a bad thought but I'm usually trying to travel cheap.

What kind of air mattress have you used?  Any particular brands that are lightweight and holdup well?

Offline mbattisti

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2013, 06:22:20 pm »
I use a pillow (or wad of clothing) under my knees when sleeping on my back and between my knees when sleeping on my side.  I'd try experimenting with one.

Offline janetanorth

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #6 on: May 19, 2013, 10:14:29 pm »
try getting a bike fit at from a bike shop
ride less miles
pillow under or between knees, under neck (laying flat is awful for a tight back)
cyclobenzaprine 10-20 mg (flexeril, a mild muscle relaxant)
ibuprofen
massage
it sounds like you're getting in to a tightening habit that doesn't get any relief
good luck! i find 10 mg. of flexeril and 400 mg. of ibuprofen for a few nights early on in a tour keeps me from getting in to bad habits from over exercising and poor sleep.
janet

Offline bogiesan

Re: Tips for avoiding back pain at night
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2013, 07:35:30 pm »
I enjoy the services of a physical therapist in Boise ID who is a bicylce racer and marathoner. He understands everything about sports injuries and sports-induced pain, weighs it against your age and fitness levels, pokes and prods and forces isolated bands of muscles to fire and let go and then prescribes a set of exercises.
Phyical therpaists are not chiropractors. I am almost 60 and I have seen Mchael Devitt no more than fifteen times in twenty years.
You want to find a guy like him. A PT like Michael won't tell you to get a pillow. He or she will isolate the precise location of your issue, find the root cause, and go after that cause. Then it's up to you to do the exercises.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent