Is A Recumbent Bike Good For Back Pain And Spinal Stenosis?
Watch the video to learn why a recumbent bike is good for back pain and spinal stenosis and how to use it to recover from back pain and spinal stenosis as quickly as possible.
Why Is A Recumbent Bike Good For Back Pain From Spinal Stenosis?
Walking is one of the most common problems that people with spinal stenosis have.
Conversely, exercise is one of the best things that you can do for lower back pain.
Walking or other forms of aerobic exercise improve the blood flow to your spine, to your nerves, to your discs.
Blood carries the nutrients and oxygen that your spine needs to heel. However, you're not going to be able to heal as quickly if you can only walk for a few minutes at a time.
Therefore, exercise that don't require standing for long periods of time can help you recover. A stationary bike is one such for of exercise.
Upright vs Recumbent Bike For Back Pain
When you ride an upright bike, you have to have sit up tall with your back arched.
However, that jams the facet joints in your spine together and narrows the spaces where the nerve roots exit your spine.
This in turn can contribute to spinal stenosis symptoms such as back and leg pain.
So you DON'T want to have your back arched when riding a stationary bike.
Now given the alternative, an upright bike is probably better than walking if your symptoms are really bad, because at least your spine isn't as arched as when walking.
Benefits Of A Recumbent Bike For Back Pain
The nice thing about a recumbent bike is it allows you to rest your back into the backrest.
That's why they call it a "backrest"... because it allows your back muscles to rest.
It allows you to kind of get your spine into a little bit more rounded position, which opens up the spaces between the joints and opens up the spaces where your nerve roots come out.
That way you can exercise and get the nutrients and oxygen and blood flow that you need to help you recover from back pain and spinal stenosis.
How Do You Use A Recumbent Bike To Help Back Pain And Spinal Stenosis?
You want to make sure that you're all the way back up against the backrest so you can allow your muscles to rest into the backrest. Allow yourself to "sink" into the backrest, almost as if slouching slightly.
That also opens up the spaces between your joints and opens up the spaces where the nerve roots exit your spine so you don't get back and leg pain.
What NOT To Do When Using A Recumbent Bike
If you're too far away from the pedals, you really have to reach to for the pedals.
That creates a gap back here between your back and the seat, which you don't want.
So you want to move the seat close enough that you can reach the pedals with your back flat against the backrest.
That in turn helps open up the spaces between your spine where the nerve roots come out.
That way you can exercise longer without getting the pain and burning in your legs that you might get when walking.
Is A Stationary Bike Better Than Walking For Spinal Stenosis?
Ultimately, we don't live on recumbent bikes. We stand and walk through the world.
If you want to be able to stay independent, go out in the community, go to the grocery store, and take care of your home, you have to get back to walking eventually.
So how do you do that?
When you're walking, you just want to walk up to the point that you start to develop symptoms and then sit down and rest.
Now, you may have to break up your walk into a few shorter periods, say maybe 3 to 5 bouts of five minutes apiece.
So instead of walking for 15 minutes or 30 minutes, you might start out at just doing three sets of five minutes and then build up from there.
Either add more sets of five minutes or stretch the 3 sets sets of five minutes into six minutes or seven minutes as you progress.
Over time, you'll be able to get back to the 15-30 minutes an hour that you want to be able to walk.
Now, if you can't get as long as you want to, and you still need to make up some of that exercise time, then walk the duration that you're able to, and then make up the rest of the time on a bike.
That way, you get the functional ability to walk and also get your full exercise duration in order to get the nutrients and oxygen that you need to be able to heal properly.
Disadvantage Of A Stationary Bike For Back Pain
One of the bad things about a recumbent bike is that it does make your hip flexors stiff.
That's true whether you use an upright bike a recumbent bike because you don't get all the way out into full hip extension like you do when you're walking.
But the good news is that after you use the bike, your muscles are more warmed up, and you can stretch your hip flexors a little bit easier.
Muscles are a little bit more flexible after they've been warmed up.
So after you use the recumbent bike, that's a good time to stretch your hip flexors.
What's The Best Recumbent Bike For Back Pain And Spinal Stenosis?
The best recumbent bike for back pain and spinal stenosis is the one you'll use. Often that comes down to convenience. If your gym is far away or you find it hard to motivate yourself to go to the gym when it's cold outside, then you're not going to bike as often as you should.
Plus, if you're only going to ride for 15 minutes, you may not want to spend 10 minutes in the car each way going to and from the gym.
Therefore, having a recumbent bike at home makes it convenient for you to use the bike whenever you want.
If you're looking for the best recumbent bike, Life Fitness makes really high-quality recumbent bikes.
If your looking for a home recumbent bike on a budget, this one by Schwinn is pretty good too.
Hopefully after reading this, you now understand how to use a recumbent bike to help with back pain and spinal stenosis.
However, recumbent biking alone in unlikely to be a complete solution to back pain and spinal stenosis, especially if the pain has lasted longer than 3 months.
If you'd like to find out how you can relieve your back pain and spinal stenosis so that you can stand longer and walk farther without back and leg pain, we'd be happy to help. Just tap the button below to request an appointment with one of our specialists.