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Discussion Starter #1
Recently lowered the bars and shortened my stem. Did that because I had moved the saddle rearward a few months ago. The bike is fitting better I think. I rode it a couple times with no problems. However, yesterday I rode the bike at lunch and when I dismounted I could barely walk. I can still ride ok though. Lower back muscles are just clenched. Any of you guys have tips on how to get things better?
 

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Two skinny J's
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I'm betting core strength. I think the lower you go, the more your lower back/core strength need to be an issue :D
 

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or you messed up your bike fit completely. Never make drastic changes all of a sudden. Revert back to the original fitment and see if that works better. Then start off slow.

In my opinion, seat movement forward and back is related to the cleat position and has no concern with the length of the stem.
 

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Two skinny J's
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I did the same. To many bar and seat adjustments. Moved bars back up but I had just rolled mine down to far. I had already moved the spacers up. I was comfortable with that
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Moved the seat myself. Felt like I got more power. Bike shop friend checked the knee to pedal spindle and looked good. Had problem with numb hands. He said we should move the bars back with a shorter stem. My flexibility is pretty goos and I told him my back never hurt on the bike so we put in more drop. May have to re think that. I will try it once more but it looks like it will be in a day or two before that happens! Lower back pain is un-cool!
 

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Alright, lets see if we can get this sorted out! Lowered bar + shorter stem + seat further back, and the back went south. Couple of questions:
1) What are you doing off the bike in terms of exercise?
2) What was the goal of the new set up? Power? Speed? Better climbing?
3) When was the last time you had a professional fitting?
4) What exact area of the back went south? The entire low back? One side more than the other?
5) How does lower body flexibility compare right/left for the:
- hip flexors
- quads
- hams
- glutes
- calves
6) How does shoulder flexilibility rate left to right?

If you get me those answers, I may be able to ballpark a reason as to why your back went south. Core strength is great, but we want to rule out anything else. If you can get me video of you on a trainer, from the sides/back, even better. Post it to the site and I can easily break down your posture.

This new position may have flexed your spine, and that's not optimal. As far as the changes go, my understanding is you shorten the stem and usually leave the seat alone. Depending on the ratio of stem length change to amount of rear adjustment of the saddle, you may have broken even in terms of where your measurements ended up.

Shorter stems are usually put on when a fitter wants you in a more upright position to open up the hip angle between the shoulders and the knees. They will take spacers out/flip the stem to get someone a little lower with the hope of the low back muscles providing the support so the glutes get more involved. If the low back erectors aren't ready for the job, they will protest quite a bit, which is what you found out.

Moving a seat back is usually done to lengthen someone's reach to the pedals to get tension out of the quads, and put it into the hips, this is done under the assumption the spinal erectors are ready for that and the person has adequate thoracic spine mobility to keep the back straight. The stem length is generally left alone to spread the rider out more so you're not moving two things in the same direction.
 

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Not necessarily, if you stretch the wrong areas, you may do more harm than good. Stretching, while a very useful tool, applied the wrong way, won't help.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for the input guys. I have been stretching just a bit. Cat/Cow kind of thing and keeping shoulders flat on floor and rotating knees across. Lying still and resting is working though. I can walk pain free sometimes.
INTEGRATE thanks again. I'll try and answer your questions
1) Just gardening, woodworking, lawn care, playing with kids and dog, etc. Since the separated shoulder I stopped pushups, yoga, ball crunches, etc.
2 &3)Bike shop fit me and I rode the bike for a couple years. I bought the Specialized Romin Evo saddle and kept the setup. Started noticing I was constantly scooting back in the saddle and hands were getting numb. Scooted the saddle back myself. Thought I had more power. Scooted the saddle back again ( only just a touch each time) and liked it again. Numbness the same so I figured if my hands are gonna fall asleep with the bars up high (they were above the seat a good ways) I was gonna lower the bars and have asleep hands. Went to bike shop for their advice on fit. They check front of knee to pedal axle. Was good. I felt like the back of the seat was too high so they tiled up the front just a bit. Said since the seat went back, we should move the bars back. He just wanted to try dropping the bars to see how I liked it. I tested it and everything felt good. Went on my way.
4)I'm pretty sure the back injury is an old one. In my mid-twenties moving back to college, a muscle or something on the right side of the back felt like someone plucked a guitar string. Got really sore for a while and got better but always a bit troublesome. The back did hurt all the way across but now that it's a bit better I notice a concentrated twinge to the right of the spine right at or just above the rear of the pelvis.
5) All I can say about flexibility is that I can touch the floor with my legs straight and can't quite get my palms on the floor. I'm typical mid forties guy. I can't say right to left, etc. I can crawl around the cramped attic, and do all my other activities fine.

I'd love to get you a video. I only have rollers and once I get confident to ride the bike on them I'll get a video.

Again, this advice is awesome. Thank you very much. Sorry for my ignorance or inability to explain everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey, just to clarify, before the current problem, I was fine. Just had a bit of a sore back once in a while. Every few years I might have trouble like this. The walking pain free thing just applies to yesterday and today. I walk pain free all the time otherwise.
 

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Lie flat on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front like Superman. Try to lift your arms and legs off the floor. Hold. Repeat.

Lay on your back, pull one knee up to your chest, repeat, do the other knee, pull both knees up.

On your hands and knees, raise left hand and right foot Superman style, Form counts. Raise right hand and left leg.

Lay on your back on a firm surface with knees raised until you feel better. You can put pillows under your knees and one under your head. Some hot tea might be nice.

Sleep on your side with lower leg bent.

When you feel better you can start doing some exercises to prevent recurrence.
 

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mars_yeldir said:
Hey, just to clarify, before the current problem, I was fine. Just had a bit of a sore back once in a while. Every few years I might have trouble like this. The walking pain free thing just applies to yesterday and today. I walk pain free all the time otherwise.
Yeah, let's definitely wait on the video until you get something solid underneath you! So my next thoughts are for you to find someone who does ART (active release technique) muscle therapy in your area, as well as get a check under the hood from a sports chiro who has SFMA credentials. The numbness in the hands could denote a cervical spine disc issue/alignment problem. Normally I'd recommend some self myofascial release (rolling out) to help, but with the numbness, I'd want to rule out anything else.

Does the issue present itself with computer work, particularly mousing?

As far as almost touching the floor bent over with the hands, when I trashed my back sneezing last Nov, I was still able to get my palms flat with legs straight. And then, in an MRI the next week I learned I had a pretty significant L5/S1 degeneration, bulging, herniation and some annular tearing and continuing to do so would blow out the disc and eventually require surgery. This while being A-symptomatic during my evals.

And that's the trickiest part about the spine. You can exhibit zero to very few symptoms, and be full of issues.

Luckily, a lot of us 40's fellas are former athletes ( or still think we are until our wives remind us otherwise!!), who insist against (common sense) and still want to hit it the same way as we try to give gather time the bird, ;-). Relearned this the hard way last week with some softball players I work with.

We were on the diamond running around hitting/throwing, and I felt great! And then I woke up the next day a little stiff as my body "thanked me" for doing something it was completely unprepared for. But, on the diamond, 30+ years of programming kicked in, and it was business as usual in my mind!

I know I point to getting looked at when you guys bring up numbness/tingling ad nauseum, but with what I've experienced, having too much info (while not cost friendly and I get that) is better than not enough and being in some nasty pain!
 

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When you can't lay on your back, sit up straight with feet planted firmly on the floor.

Do not bend over to pick something up.

Do not bend over.

Do not pick anything up.
 

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qmsdc15 said:
Lie flat on your stomach with your arms stretched out in front like Superman. Try to lift your arms and legs off the floor. Hold. Repeat.

Lay on your back, pull one knee up to your chest, repeat, do the other knee, pull both knees up.

On your hands and knees, raise left hand and right foot Superman style, Form counts. Raise right hand and left leg.

Lie on your back on a firm surface with knees raised as much as you can until you feel better. You can put pillows under your knees and one under your head. Some hot tea might be nice.

Sleep on your side with lower leg bent.

When you feel better you can start doing some exercises to prevent recurrence.
Q, normally sound advice, if it came right after an eval from a trainer, sports chiro or physical therapist who saw that as the right course of action given the individual issue.

Some of that which you mentioned if applied in the wrong situation could cause impingments leading to potential muscle spasms and more. Stuart McGill, Professor of Spine Biomechnanics at Waterloo University (considered the industry's leading expert on the subject) has said the knee/knees to the chest stretch only temporarily relieves discomfort, and could very well do more harm than good, and is contraindicated. Especially in patients with lumbar disc issues where flexion in that area would not be beneficial.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Numbness only happens when cycling. No other time. I've been to a chiro who x-rayed the spine a few years ago. One disc was getting a bit thin. Was in the lumbar but that's all I remember. Thanks again guys.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
mars_yeldir said:
Numbness only happens when cycling. No other time. I've been to a chiro who x-rayed the spine a few years ago. One disc was getting a bit thin. Was in the lumbar but that's all I remember. Thanks again guys. The disc was thin on on side. Spine curved and on the inside of the curve was the thin spot.
 

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NDAIDS, stay away from those too. They can do a number on the liver and kidneys with enough use.
 
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