Back Pain

Hello Everyone!

I’m finally riding my 26" :astonished: for about 25 to 30 minutes non-stop.
(For all of you who thought I would surely throw in the towel by now, no that is not a typo!:D)

The thing that tires me out is lower back pain. This has been happening on the 24" also.

I did a search and found the following from JFatSmokes in 2001:
I just finished an eight mile ride on my coker, and I realized where my
minor back pain has been coming from. After longer rides, my lower back
begins to hurt, and I DO have my seat at the correct height. The only
thing that I can think of that may be making my back ache is my posture
while riding. I slouch a little bit when I ride, but if I sit tall in the
saddle, I have a harder time keeping my balance. Any suggestions would be
greatly appreciated. -Dave

I think my seat is high enough.
However, as I ride and attempt to fix the problem, I do wonder whether I am sitting up straight enough, and I also get the feeling that if I sit back any further I will lose my balance.

When I was first learning, I noticed that the more tired I got the more I seemed to be unable to sit up straight. This is no longer a problem.

Does anyone else have back pain problems DURING the ride?
When I stop to rest, the back pain goes away.
The pain is only there DURING the ride.

Also, I have noticed that the pain gets better DURING a TURN!!!
I am not an accomplished turner, but I seem to look forward to turning so I can rest my back for a few seconds.
Obviously, my posture is slightly different during the turn… in either direction.

Both the 24" and 26" are Torkers.
The 26" has 137 cranks.
The 24" also had 137 cranks. Now it has 127s. I haven’t ridden the 24" with the 127s much yet because the 26" was feeling much more stable after I shortened the cranks on both unis.

If not for the back pain, I could ride a whole lot longer.
Any ideas?


In the past I started this thread regarding my lower back “fatigue”. I didn’t want it to sound like I had a vertebrae or nerve injury. It feels like fatigue… my lower back muscles just get tired and start screaming at me.
Is this the same for you?

I still have lower back fatigue sometimes. I’m still not sure what exactly causes it as there are so many variables involved. I think it’s a combination of things.

Not sure if you’re riding muni or street, so some of this might not apply, but consider trying these things:

  • Stretch well before riding.
    I should probably do this more consistently myself. But when I do I often do arm/leg raises, bridge, roll my back on a yoga ball, roll on my back holding my knees on a mat, bend over and touch my toes (can’t actually reach that far).

  • Try to remember to sit up straighter when you ride.
    Tougher trails make it harder for me to control this. Take advantage of the easier sections and stretch your back and shoulders while you ride, when you can.

  • Lower your tire pressure.
    I’m not 100% sure, but I think a softer tire on bumpy trails helps remove the need for so many micro balance adjustments that can lead to back fatigue. At times I’m running my "35-65psi " at 25psi or less.

I hope you find something that works for you!

+1 on link :sunglasses:

when I do I often do arm/leg raises, bridge, roll my back on a yoga ball, roll on my back holding my knees on a mat, bend over and touch my toes (can’t actually reach that far).
I have a standard minimum I must get to before I Muni (the biggest that causes back pain for me. )
30 leg lifts left, 30 right; 60 narrow scissor kicks; 60 “swimming” (see above link) and repeat for 30 min. When I’m working up to that level I do it once in the morning & again at night every day. For maintenance twice per week is good.

  • Try to remember to sit up straighter when you ride.
    Tougher trails make it harder for me to control this. Take advantage of the easier sections and stretch your back and shoulders while you ride, when you can.

Yeah make sure u aren’t arching your lower back, if so rotate your hips forward. If its your upper back, pull back your shoulders & make sure your head is straight. For me this was hard to do regularly so I practiced in a chair while eating every day. After a month it was automatic.

These are great answers and thanks for the link MuniOrBust. Not meaning to thread jack but the last few rides my lower back muscles just got tired and start screaming at me too. This is something I will focus on in preparation before my next ride. Thanks for the thread 57UniRider and the info MuniOrBust and skilewis74 :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:

Improve core strength and flexibility with at least some stretching and doing “the 100” from Pilates.

That’s a good one, but I prefer “roll ups”, also siscor kicks. For extra hard do your arms too, licke “swimming” but face up.

Another thing to do is work up to it. Eg, if u can ride for 30 min but not 45. Ride as often as possible up to before you’d get sore (say 35 min) as often as possible, preferably daily and slowly up the time. Every few days or week add ~10%.

Or break up the ride w/ breaks, again before you’d usually get sore.

Surprisingly, a good remedy for back pain is targeted weight training, as it strengthens the muscles which support the back.
I know of a case in the UK, where a middle aged taxi driver had had severe back problems for years. He was recommended to a local weightlifting club, where he was given a specific course of weight training. In short, within a relatively short time his back problems were cured.

That’s encouraging.My back is messed up from skating and snowboarding.When I rode bicycles a lot it didn’t really bug me.Was hoping the uni would help w/ it in my core strength.I do the roll in a ball thing,but do sit-ups,crunches help?

If not done properly some exercises can make things worse instead of better, like this machine, if I wasn’t careful of my technique or pushed my max it agravated my back.

This one one the other hand I had to have REALLY sloppy tech to bother my back.

Doing a couple of sets regularly of the routine I posted above cured any of my occasional back soreness. To eliminate all soreness w/ Muni I had to work up to the 30 min ~ 6 sets (took me almost two weeks).

Hello Everyone!

Thanks for all of the great suggestions!

MuniOrBust… I did find your thread when I did the initial search, but since I am doing street riding rather than muni I thought it might not be as applicable as the post I cited.
Of course, I am not riding a 36" either.

SkiLewis… You said “Yeah make sure u aren’t arching your lower back, if so rotate your hips forward.”
I tried working with that idea, and I believe it helped a bit, but I was having trouble figuring out exactly how to achieve it.
Do you mean push the lower pelvic forward?

I haven’t yet tried everything you all have suggested, but I will.

Thanks a bunch!

As you cycle,try tilting your front bumper forward and point your toes downwards.This should bring your hips forward.You will feel like your weight is resting more into your hips and stomach muscles thus taking some pressure off your back. When going downhill you will have to lean back more for balance obviously.

Hope this helps.

I tend to get back pain on my mountain bike and not so much on the unicycle. When I’m climbing on the unicycle, I sometimes get some lower back pain when hanging on the seat handle for long stretches. It only affects the left side of my lower back (I hold the handle with my left hand). I’m instantly relieved when I let go. Sitting more upright helps, but I lean forward when climbing.

Now I am having different back pain. I was goofing around, doing wheelies, on my mountain bike. I looped it and ended up on my butt/back. I now get to wear a stupid brace for a stupid compression fracture of my vertebra, and have officially screwed myself out of riding all summer :angry: . What a giant dork. I’m glad it’s at least a temporary problem.

Take care of your back!

I did a similar thing but from 15’ up (skiing) and now have a permanent brace :roll_eyes: (compression fracture of L1, hence my avatar)


:astonished: 15 feet isn’t all THAT similar. Mine is just 3-4’ which is bad enough. Is your brace for back or leg? It looks like it has a bend for your foot.

Oh. I see it says Stupidity…2 of these. Legs. Why do you need leg braces for an L1 fracture? Is it numbness (of legs, not brain)?

Both. The permanent one is the rods and bolts on my spine. I also have a pair of AFOs (Ankle Foot Orthodic)

Partial paralysis below L1. ~ 25% digestive system & core muscles, 60-80% hips, 80% glutes, 15% quads, 25% hamstrings, 90-95% below knee. (Left side is worse)

Also a bit numbness of the brain :p:( (multiple mild-moderate concussions)

Hey MuniOrBust!
I’ve read your response more carefully.
YES! My lower back muscles are “screaming at me” about 10 minutes (or less) into the ride!

This is on a flat street.
There are no hills or trails near where I live.

I have tried (am trying) to move my lower pelvis forward as suggested by SkiLewis, but I can’t feel much difference.

If not for the back pain, I think I could ride several miles without stopping. As it is, the back pain finally gets so bad, I have to stop. As soon as I dismount, the back is better. After a short rest, I can go for another few minutes before the back pain kicks in again.

I have been practicing yoga for the past year. The yoga stretches don’t seem to be improving my back during riding.

The back pain only started about the time I felt like I FINALLY conquered the riding. I am not exhausted, the crotch is fine, I am not experiencing UPDs…just an awful lower back pain which gets so bad, I have to stop.

This is on a Torker 24" and a Torker 26"…both with 140mm cranks.

Hello 57, I think road camber may be the cause of your back pain. Do you find yourself having to twist your upper body around to one side as you cycle in order to stop the unicycle from drifting off to one side.

If so, this might help. Instead of twisting your body, stretch your trailing arm behind you as you cycle. This will greatly reduce the back pain your experiencing.
Hope this helps,

Hi unibokk,

Thanks for the suggestion about holding the trailing hand back. I tried that this morning. I can’t say it solved the problem, but it may have helped a bit. I’m going to experiment with that more, hopefully in weather that is not so blazing HOT! I’m sort of combining the “trailing hand” suggestion with suggestions from skilewis, MuniOrBust and others here.

Any other suggestions are plenty welcome!