The deal: Sharp pain deep in the hip or in the lower back can be caused by any number of things, Koch says. “Diagnosing the specific problem is hard even for the trained eye,” he says. “It could be 20 different things, but all that stuff is usually related to spine. Sometimes we feel like a sacroiliac joint clinic.” Back pain usually originates from somewhere else—typically the hip, says Bryan Hill.
First aid: Figuring out the cause is important. A professional bike fit will ensure it’s not your cycling mechanics. “Flexibility is key,” Hill says. “If you work on hip mobility, the back pain will likely decrease. Alternate heat and ice, and warm up and stretch before and after workouts—especially rides.”
Prevention: “Spinal mobility is important,” Koch says. “This means improving your core strength and the mobility of the pelvis and spine.” This is particularly important if you have an office job and are stuck in a chair all day. “When you’re sitting, the pressure on the discs in your lower back is up 30 percent compared to when you’re standing,” he says. The solution? Get up from your chair on the hour, walk around and perform a few light stretches. A proper bike fit and a look at your swim and run mechanics by a professional are also great preventors.