Cycling and facet joints

Lcc86 Member Posts: 30

Hi all

I have facet joint syndrome and for the most part have worked out roughly what to avoid and what is good in terms of exercise, although still a bit hit and miss at times.

My other half has just bought a bike so wants to go cycling. I've been twice and have some low back pain after, but am unsure if this is just because I've not cycled for ages or if it's bad for my back. Anyone got any experience and knowledge as to whether it's a good thing or not? I've been thinking about an electric bike for ages to help get me out of the car for short journeys but don't want to take the plunge yet, so just using a bog standard mountain bike atm.


  • Ellen
    Ellen Moderator Posts: 1,565
    edited 12. Apr 2022, 13:59

    Hi @Lcc86

    First of all I checked in with my Dr before I started cycling.

    I changed my bike to a 'sit up and beg' type which i find much better for my back not having to lean forwards. I got it 2nd hand in one of those shops which reconditions them?

    Also play about with the height of your seat so you are not overstretching??

    and finally I bought me a padded seat and some padded shorts to wear under clothing. Bliss.....

    Electric bikes are expensive so you need to be sure you are going to be able to cycle regularly.

    Do let us know how you get on 🙂


  • Mike1
    Mike1 Member Posts: 1,992

    I used to have a push bike and a motorbike, as my Degenerative Facet Joint disease took hold I too would get pain in my lower back; further on as things got worse I had to give up both as the pain became too great; I now ensure that my back is at about 45 degrees when sitting in my recliner or wheelchair and I lean forward at about the same when hobbling around my bungalow on my crutches. I concur with Ellen, check with your GP and if the pain becomes too much reconsider using your bike. It is really depressing when DFJD and OA takes hold and one cannot do what one used to do, keep going as long as you can.

  • Lcc86
    Lcc86 Member Posts: 30

    Thank you both and sorry for the delay in replying! I will check out the link you posted and have a good read, and also speak to my doctor and physiotherapist when I go next.

    I have been out on the bike a couple more times, only for 30 minutes or so each time, and it seems to be okay, no pain afterwards. I'd like to make it a more regular thing so will definitely speak to the doctor about it as soon as I can.

  • Fif
    Fif Member Posts: 109

    It's an expensive option, but one way to cycle comfortably may be an electric assist recumbent tricycle. I have one which I got after falling off a 2 wheeler and having a THR. I wasn't confident to go back on a normal bike but the trike is great. I've since been diagnosed with RA which is mainly affecting my hands and knees, but once I 've got things stabilised I'm sure I'll be able to trike. It's much more comfortable and stable. Highly recommend.

  • DebbieL
    DebbieL Member Posts: 63


    I’m 55 and have Osteoarthritis in my lower back. After having over a year off exercise with back pain, I went back to cycling as the specialist back physio I was eventually referred to said it would be fine. On one of my first rides I took a break after about 15 mins but found when I set off again I experienced a lot of back pain - so now I don’t stop and it’s fine. I also found I have a limit of about 45 mins and cycling longer causes me pain later. I can live with that although I will keep trying to stretch the time - maybe as I get stronger I will be able to cycle for longer.

    I think you just have to listen to your body and push a bit but at the same time be sensible