The aim of this study was to examine lower lumbar kinematics in cyclists with and without non-specific chronic low back pain (NS-CLBP) during a cross-sectional cycling field study. Although LBP is a common problem among cyclists, studies investigating the causes of LBP during cycling are scarce and are mainly focussed on geometric bike-related variables. Until now no cycling field studies have investigated the relationship between maladaptive lumbar kinematics and LBP during cycling. Eight cyclists with NS-CLBP classified as having a 'Flexion Pattern' (FP) disorder and nine age- and gender-matched asymptomatic cyclists were tested. Subjects performed a 2 h outdoor cycling task on their personal race bike. Lower lumbar kinematics was measured with the BodyGuard™ monitoring system. Pain intensity during and after cycling was measured using a numerical pain rating scale. The NS-CLBP (FP) subjects were significantly more flexed at the lower lumbar spine during cycling compared to healthy controls (p = 0.018), and reported a significant increase in pain over the 2 h of cycling (p < 0.001). One-way repeated measures ANOVA revealed a significant main effect for group (p = 0.035, F = 5.546) which remained just significant when adding saddle angle as a covariate (p = 0.05, F = 4.747). The difference in posture between groups did not change over time. These findings suggest that a subgroup of cyclists with NS-CLBP (FP) demonstrate an underlying maladaptive motor control pattern resulting in greater lower lumbar flexion during cycling which is related to a significant increase in pain.
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