Unicycling helping my back pain

I’ve had low back pain for years. Unicycling has been so effective at reducing it that even if I hated everything else about unicycling, I’d keep doing it just for the way it seems to be healing my back. Anyone else experienced this?

Yep! Mostly because of the core strengthening, but UPDing doesn’t feel great.

Yep! Doc once told me that the only way I was going to avoid back pain, was to keep my core strong or surgery. Yay unicycles! (weird bone formation in my spine)

YES! I’ve had lower back pain on and off for over 8 years and unicycling seems to be the best treatment :slight_smile:

I think it’s the combination of strengthening all the small muscles so the pressure on spine is reduced later when not unicycling, plus the movement of the spine moves fluid through the discs (as opposed to the fluid being squeezed out when sitting for hours).

I think if you don’t have acute back pain, then unicycling is about the best thing for the back!

I unicycle at least once a week (usually commute 2-3 days) for my back (and it’s fun too of course)!

Definitely YES!

Absolutely! I’ve had bad discs for 30 years, and constant back problems. Almost NO problems since I started unicycling 3 years ago. The more I ride the better I feel.

Likewise here. I really wonder what would be found if someone did a serious study on the specific health benefits of unicycling.

I don’t suffer with back pain, well unless I fall off that is. But I’ve now got abs of steel from learning. Saving a fortune on gym fees and feeling generally way better all over. I started for the challenge but I’m going to stick with it for the other benefits.


I herniated my L4/5 and L5/Sacrum disks in 4-wheeler mishap back in 2009. Even after years of chiropractor visits (2-3x/wk), daily inversion therapy, and bicycling about 100 miles/week, I was still experiencing recurring pain and very susceptible to lumbar strains. This spring, I started unicycling more frequently, increasing from 8-10 rides/year to almost daily. After about 2 weeks of daily riding, I noticed I was sleeping through the night and waking up in the morning pain free. I figure the fast-twitch muscle response from balancing while pedaling promotes uniform core strength and is the perfect exercise for lumbar spine support. I’ve had no lower back pain this summer - the first summer in six years. And my inversion table is now a laundry rack. :smiley:

You’re preaching to the choir! I first noticed the benefits to my back when getting out of cars. I felt like I was rising up, out of the seat, with no effort.

+1: it’s time to suggest this topic for poor students looking for a PhD thesis subject!

  • crowdfunding to sponsor this scientific project?


I had bad back problems for >20 years following badly lifting a lawn mower. My back muscles atrophied as I tried to “protect” it. I then got knocked off my bike by an uninsured car. The UK Motor Insurers Bureau, to whom we all pay a part of our car insurance for cases like this, gave me £3000. I got physiotherapy till I was strong enough to take up unicycling (at 50) and have had few back problems ever since. When my back starts to hurt from my sedentary job, I know it’s time to go for a ride to strengthen the core muscles again. My weekly uni-hockey is vital too.

I was told that the little muscles at the base of the back (multifidus) can lose a significant proportion of their strength within a few days due to lack of use.


@ JerryAttrick. That’s a great avatar you’ve got there. It brings a smile to my face. :smiley:

And a great forum name too! :slight_smile:

Yep, i hadnt ridden in over a week and my back, legs, shoulders, neck, heck lets just say my whole body feels like s##t. Was back on the wheel this morning for a couple of hours, all healed! Darn its a euphoric drug, despite the crotch pinch.

So unicycling helps some health issues but I’m finding it creates others.

About six months ago I tweaked my shoulder during an assisted mount. Over time it’s gotten worse. No more assisted mounts for me. I also avoid catching the seat with that arm. Today I got an MRI which revealed some problems and got referred to a shoulder specialist. While looking over her website I noticed it mentions that she mountain unicycles! Hopefully she’ll have some answers (and not ban me from riding).

I have a pretty significant scoliosis and people say I walk tilted forward and off to one side. It has gotten less obvious according to many people. I myself have noticed much less lower back pain and am sleeping better. If I do strain my back and am feeling back pain (lower in my case) a unicycle ride really helps. It surprised the heck out of me the first time I forced myself to go for a ride with a sore back and came back feeling much better.

I suppose back exercises could be equally benificial but I’ve never had enough ‘backbone’ to stick to them( a pun in case it wasn’t obvious )

Of course unicycling is back exercise, but without the obvious exercise and with the fun. :slight_smile:

My wife had spinal fusion on her L5/S1. Afterward, doctors caution against road biking in the standard riding configuration because it can be hard on the lower back. Fortunately she was already a recumbent rider. Lots of people on recumbents ride them due to back issues. They are comfortable!

My back bothers me sometimes also; probably a damaged disc. Riding unicycles generally seems to shore things up, though sometimes my back twinges after a long Road ride (36" with long handlebar). Muni or “regular” riding seem to be better for the back than bent-over riding.

I’ve also had a nagging problem with my left knee since last year’s Muni Weekend. After getting back from our recent vacation it was really bothering me. I was walking with a limp and worried about finally getting back into the saddle for a Road ride on Monday. But afterward, it felt much better! :slight_smile:

My 2009 injury resulted in a slight lumbar extension (toward the front). My chiropractor actually recommended a forward riding position to help correct it. He also recommended lumbar stretching to loosen the back muscles. While I don’t think this “prescription” made things appreciably worse, it might have slowed my recovery and definitely didn’t provide the dramatic improvement I experienced from regular uni rides.

Found this stuff (Joint Renewal) for my wife when she complained about her glucosamine/chondroitin supplement causing nausea. She’s now a big fan (for knees/ankles): http://www.newportnaturalhealth.com/offers/joint-renewal-offer-nahe018/

A colleague suffering lumbago was recommended to ride unicycles for the benefit of his back by his physician.

Being a long term unicyclist I never had back problems, but my knees always feel like they are on the verge of becoming a problem. Cross-training seems to help, but I don’t do it.