As part of my degree in sports therapy, I completed a research project on lower back pain in cycling.
The research showed that a smaller trunk angle (being lower and closer to the bike) and younger age were associated with non traumatic lower back pain, however this was not a statistically significant result.
Trunk angle data was shown to be normal, however pain scores were skewed towards lower scores. This may have been because pain is very subjective, asking people to remember their experience of pain from several months ago may be unreliable or the questions asked may not have been well structured. It may also be that the nature of chronic low back pain is that it persists at a lower level and this allows people to continue to exercise. Pain science continues to be a complex but equally fascinating subject!
Future research would focus on using a stratified random sample (focusing on just those with lower back pain) and a larger sample size with equal numbers of males and females. Participants could also use a diary to make self reporting more accurate.
The age result was surprising, as lower back pain has been shown to increase with age in the general population.
Unfortunately we were not able to persuade equal numbers of male and female participants to take part and lacked female participants, particularly in the road cycling group, so it wasn't possible to draw too many conclusions here. There is the potential for pain experience, as well as hip angles, to be different between men and women but we can't study it without willing participants!
This study may act as a pilot study for my final dissertation, which I hope to submit in May 2020.
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