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Old 05-02-2008, 04:20 PM   #1
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Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

I have SI Joint and L5-S1 facet joint problems in my lower back. I havent had an MRI yet, so for all I know it could involve more levels and disk. I am just to the point of getting steroid injections in the facets. I have been riding a recumbent exercise bike for about 14 months. Do you guys think that could be aggravating the situation? I dont know what other aerobics I can do. I had a neck fusion a little over a yr. ago and the treadmill is too much impact for me. I think leaning forward on an ellipical might hurt my neck, upper back and lower back. Geeez, I am 52 and need to do SOMETHING for an aerobic workout. I really love that recumbent bike a lot. Any ideas???????

 
Old 05-02-2008, 04:41 PM   #2
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Hi, for myself, I cannot do any of the bikes because it hurts my whole rear/seat area too much. I know cyclists can get some sort of problems in that area because they ride alot, so I'm just guessing here, but maybe it can be affecting you too. The recumbant for me is too much pressure right on the sacral and tailbone areas. When I've done the regular exercise bike, I can't lean forward b/c I get terrible neck pain, shoulder pain and spasms. Ideally, the best exercise would be swimming b/c you dont have all that pressure on your spine or other joints, but yet you have resistance from the water which gives you a good workout. Also, I've never tried one of these, but there are these pilates units, maybe that might be another option. I think there is something else that might be better, but i'm sorry I just cant pull it up from my memory right now.

 
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Old 05-02-2008, 05:14 PM   #3
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Its so frustrating because I bought a recumbent bike and its the one exercise I really like. I really look forward to it and get to read when I am on it. But I know its making things worse. f I look back, I have gotten worse since I bought it. It hurts my husband's lower back too. He has arthritis and bulging disks. The not good thing about the recumbent bike is that you dont get an upper body work out, so it doesnt tone that part. Plus its not weight bearing, so for ladies my age, (52) its not as good for trying to prevent osteoporosis. Oh boy, it never ends, does it?

 
Old 05-02-2008, 05:43 PM   #4
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Yep, it doesnt ever end, unfortunately. And sitting puts the most pressure on your spine, and when you sit on that bike, most of your bodys weight is all on the tailbone and sacral area. And everything in between gets compressed, which make things worse wtih spine arthritis. And on the recumbant, you are not even bent forward either. So that is alot of pressure on the whole spine. Maybe someone else will think of another option to suggest.

 
Old 05-02-2008, 06:20 PM   #5
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Hi,
I sure do understand the frustration here and felt compelled to reply.
I too, have back issues and was given an exercise bike a year ago I tried and had to give away. it about killed my back, just can't do it with my problems.
(spondy, and osteopenia, arthritis, disc problems).

I have found the ONLY thing I can do for exercise is walk. so that's all I do.
i've tried water aerobics, and walking in the water on the beach, even on the sand, it hurts my back, just too much strain on the lower back I guess.

Maybe a treadmill? That seems safe enough, but those aren't cheap, and that's why I guess I try to just walk everyday.
good luck, hope you find something that helps, and boy do I understand this delemma.

 
Old 05-02-2008, 07:45 PM   #6
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Thanks for the replies. I really do appreciate it. I own a treadmill, but having had a neck fusion, the impact is just too much. It really makes my upper back spasm. I was told not to do it. All I want to do is keep my heart healthy, naturally, and also help myself lose weight. I dont want to add to my woes by being less healthy due to not doing aerobics. What a pain.

Last edited by SKZ; 05-02-2008 at 07:46 PM. Reason: typo

 
Old 05-02-2008, 07:52 PM   #7
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I there with you and I am sorry you are going through this. Esspecially if you just bought this bike. I was told that it would make my sI joint worse and so I had to stop. Like the others have mentioned, I can only walk and go into the pool. I do an aerobics class in water, at the local community pool. I actually have to do the class for those with arthritis, as the reg. classes were too much for me. But the Arthritis aerobics is just right for me and I don't even realize I am getting a work out. I am 45, but was menopausal at 30, so the Dr. says I am about 15 years ahead of my age. Since I started loosing my estrogen 15 years early, all the health issues like ostioporosis will hit me sooner and I will have them longer. So, I am really trying to do what I need to. I already have osteoporosis and have fractured my spine in 2 areas. I truly wish I could use the treadmill like I use to or use the bike. It is a difficult thing to change out habbits, once we are use to a certain excercise regimine.

Best of luck,
Lorie
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Old 05-02-2008, 07:58 PM   #8
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

I read somewhere that if you do the water aerobics, that if the water is not wam enough, it will cramp you up and make you spasm worse. if I knew for sure its OK, I would join the ole "Silver Sneakers" class and and at least it would be aerobic.

 
Old 05-03-2008, 07:28 AM   #9
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Hmm, if you go somewhere that has like, aqua therapy, then I don't think that water would be that cold. I can't be sure but I dont' think water at a local pool or gym would be that cold either. I know when I was younger without problems and went swimming in the ocean, even if the water was at 68 degrees, I would start cramping up. I would even feel like it was hard to breath. But my guess is that most pools used for therapy would be on the warmer side. I dont' have one near me , otherwise I would try it b/c I sure am not losing weight any other way.

 
Old 05-03-2008, 09:16 AM   #10
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

If you look around you should be able to find a club or Y that has a special pool for the arthritis-approved activities, usually called a "therapeutic" pool. The one at my club is kept at 88-90 degrees. They are usually smaller pools, about 3 1/2 ft - 5 ft. deep that are mainly used for exercise. They are really too warm for any real swimming and too short for lap swimming, but great for water therapy and exercise.

I too was told to skip the recumbant bike as the position put excess pressure on the SI joints. I was told I could ride an upright bike though. I haven't tried it. I too just walk as much as I can...and doing all the exercises from the PT is practically a full-time job.

 
Old 05-03-2008, 03:21 PM   #11
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

well, I officially give up on the recumbent bike. I joined a rec center close to my house today. I got the Aquatics schedule, and yes they do have an arthritis class. I am going to make it my business to try them all out (Actually they only have Aquacize and the Arthritis class) and go a min. of 4 times a week, maybe 5. I also tried an ellipitical machine and that didnt bother me (yet). I am going to bring the whole schedule of water and regular exercise classes and have my PT go make recommendations. And that is that! :-

 
Old 05-03-2008, 03:24 PM   #12
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

Hey, that's great! I think probably any of those aquatic classes would be good, and a big plus is that it's nearby. And it's good thinking to ask your PT about it, too. Good luck with it!

 
Old 05-03-2008, 03:56 PM   #13
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Yes, the pool I go to for my arthritis aerobics is warm. I don't know the actual degree, but it is comfortable to get in. It's not anything like in the 80's and 90's, I don't think, but it feels good and I feel like rubber when I get out. I go to a county recreation center, but they also have the clasess at the Y and at the community center.

Good luck to all of you.

Lorie
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Old 05-03-2008, 05:49 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

I've been told by several physical therapists that the upright bike is the way to go..with back problems it's important that your shoulders and hips are aligned over each other..The recumbent bike puts MORE stress on the spine...When you think about it even though you are seated the spine is on a un-natural angle,somewhat tilted back..this apparently puts alot of stress on the spine...

You might try the upright bike it might seem more natural.

Good luck...

 
Old 05-06-2008, 06:48 PM   #15
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Re: Riding an exercise bike with lower back issues

As a cyclist with SIJD, and owning both recumbent and upright bikes, my experience is that both work, but that I have to switch it up. SI pains and secondary effects vary from day to day/week to week. Sometimes the recumbent stationery is perfect, but only if I'm corrected/aligned. Sometimes I have to ride sitting straight up vs leaning back onto the seatback. Other times, my upright mountain bike is best. For most folks, I'd recommend an upright, "comfort" mountain bike. Today's adjustable handlebar & stem angles allow you to customize a fully upright position. Most shops will let you ride them for an extended test ride; try it. You can buy a great bike for $250-350 and with attention to bike fit & your ongoing riding position (posture), it's an excellent option for low back sufferers. Your spine can basically stay in a static, upright position.

Lastly, for me, walking has always been an option - just never on hills (no hils on bikes either).

But of course, every SI sufferer has different needs. I would think swimming laps would be great (I've no access to a pool).

 
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