Last Updated on July 14, 2021 by JP
It is often asked if a recumbent bike is a good form of exercise, and people often look to using recumbent bikes for pain relief from sciatica.
Recumbent bikes are widely known for their ability to tone your legs or improve your cardiovascular fitness.
You might be wondering how this is possible for such a simple bike to do when sciatica is such a complex condition.
Read on to see why they can be considered a hidden gem in the world of sciatica treatment, and why exactly a recumbent bike is so good for someone with sciatica.
Why Use a Recumbent Bike for Sciatica?
One of the worst symptoms of sciatica is the pain that it causes in the lower back and lower limbs.
There are two particular muscle groups, the gluteal and abdominal muscles, that can help ease sciatic pain when strengthened.
Both of these muscles happen to be part of the main muscles worked with a recumbent bike, and provide an example of why a recumbent bike is useful in treating sciatic pain.
A recumbent bike works your glutes, which provide stability to your torso, and essentially your lower spine.
Strong glutes help to decrease the pressure placed on your lower back, which can help alleviate pain caused by sciatica.
A recumbent bike also works your abs, which is beneficial in subduing lower back pain, as a strong core helps to stabilize your torsos and spine.
Strong abs also help to return your spine to a neutral position and correct muscular and structural imbalances that may lead to lower back pain.
Benefits & Drawbacks of a Recumbent Bike for Sciatica
Here we’ll go through the various advantages and disadvantages of a recumbent bike and why this helps with sciatica pain relief.
Low-impact, Stable, and Safe
If you have sciatica, it is recommended that you adopt a low-impact exercise regimen to decrease pain and prevent flare-ups.
It is also recommended that you stay away from sports and exercises that can cause sudden movements, jerks, or vibrations.
Due to the stability, very minimal impact, and balance a recumbent bicycle provides, it makes this bike the ideal activity to help prevent and alleviate pain caused by sciatica.
Good posture and Lower Back Positioning
Correct posture and positioning of the back are essential to prevent sciatic pain from worsening.
The backrest provided by a recumbent bike allows you to maintain good posture for prolonged periods, which helps to protect your lower back.
Normal upright bicycles place you in a position that requires you to lean forward for lengthy periods. This places a lot of strain on the lower back, leading it to become aggravated, which may essentially lead to sciatica flare-ups.
The backrest of the recumbent bike eliminates the need to lean forward, which puts very little strain on the lower back, and helps to protect it and relieve sciatic pain.
Exercise Can Decrease Recurrence of Sciatica
Aerobic exercise, which is what recumbent biking is classified as, is beneficial for those suffering from sciatica, as it helps to strengthen and condition your trunk and spinal muscles.
Exercise also helps to decrease the risk of sciatica recurrences over time.
A recumbent bike is a good form of cardiovascular exercise, making recumbent bike cycling extremely beneficial for those suffering from immense sciatic pain.
The reclined position and support provided from the backrest make you feel more like you are lying down than sitting, which is a much more comfortable position for many people with sciatica.
A recumbent bike is thus more comfortable and enjoyable and helps to lessen pain from sciatica.
Long Periods of Sitting
It is often not recommended to sit for an extended amount of time when you have sciatica, as it places 40% more pressure on the spine than when standing, and can lead to an immense amount of pain.
Unfortunately, recumbent bike exercise consists only of sitting, albeit in a reclined position, so it may not be wise to make use of one for prolonged durations.
Minimal Weight Loss
Losing weight can help to relieve sciatica. Excess weight can pull your spine out of alignment over time, increase the amount of pressure placed on it, and add to sciatic pain.
However, a recumbent bike does not burn many calories per hour, making weight loss with a recumbent bike difficult.
It is clear that there are many benefits in using a recumbent bike for the treatment of sciatica. There are very few negatives surrounding the use of a recumbent bike for sciatica, which, without a doubt, makes it a very helpful tool in the management and treatment of sciatica and the pain experienced as a result thereof.