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自転車

自転車と腰痛の複雑な関係

自転車

自転車と腰痛とは複雑な関係があります。
「自転車に乗ると腰痛が和らいだ」という人と「自転車に乗り続けて腰痛が悪化してしまった」という人がいます。

実はこれ、どちらも正しいのですが、ここでいう「腰痛」の症状と原因はそれぞれに異なるものなのです。

自転車にのると和らぐ腰痛と、自転車で悪化する腰痛について、それぞれについてご紹介いたします。

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自転車による腰痛

朝の空

自転車は日本でもっとも普及した乗り物の一つです。バイシクルライフを楽しんでいる方もたくさんいることでしょう。自転車乗りの人は、腰を痛める人も多いことはよく知られています。

なぜ自転車乗りの人は腰痛を感じてしまうのでしょうか。その原因はいろいろとありますが、自転車の動作が腰痛を生み出す原因について、以下のようなことがよく言われます。

  • 前傾姿勢による過度の腰への負担
  • 長期間サドルを漕ぎ続けることによって仙骨を変形させてしまう
  • ペダルをこぐ動作が骨盤の歪みと離開を生じさせる

自転車にのる姿勢と、ペダルをこぐという動作は非常に不自然なのだということはいえるでしょう。仙骨は骨盤を形成する骨で、その後ろには仙腸関節と呼ばれる関節があります。

ペダルを漕ぐ動作を続けていると、この仙腸関節を含む骨盤が歪みやすいことは事実としてあるでしょう。しかしながら、適度な運動が可能であることや、ストレス発散にも自転車をこぐことは有効であることが知られています。

腰痛を生み出しやすい漕ぎ方

自転車を漕いで腰痛を生み出してしまう理由は、自転車一般にいえるものでもありません。実は、「自転車の種類」と「自転車の乗り方」にも関係があります。

ママチャリと呼ばれるタウンサイクルなどは、背筋を伸ばして乗るように作られていますが、ロードバイクやダートバイクと呼ばれるスポーツタイプの自転車は「前傾姿勢で乗る」ように作られています。

腰痛を生み出しやすいのは、実はこのロードバイクのような前傾姿勢のバイクに多いのです。力を効率的に伝えることができる前傾姿勢型のバイクは、腰や仙骨への負担が非常に大きいことが知られています。

しかしながら、「腰痛が楽」なバイクもまたロードバイクなのです。一見矛盾するようですが、実はこれ「腰痛」の種類によるのです。

椎間板ヘルニアと自転車の痛み

自転車に乗っているときに腰痛が緩和されるのは、実は「椎間板ヘルニア」などの背骨に原因がある腰痛の場合なのです。椎間板ヘルニアは、椎間板の髄核が飛び出てひどく痛む病気ですが、椎間板が押しつぶされた時に痛むことが知られています。

椎間板ヘルニアや狭窄症などの場合には、「背骨を曲げたほうが楽」なことが多いのです。背骨を曲げることで、椎間板が圧迫されることが少なくなります。そのような状態が続けば、背骨の状態も安定してきます。

この点から、腰痛を解消する効果が期待されるのです。また、長時間の有酸素運動により肥満が解消されて、腰への負担がへることや、腹筋や背筋をバランスよく鍛えることができ、筋肉の衰えを防ぐ。腰椎周りの筋肉が鍛えられることで、腰椎の間隔が開き、痛みがへることなども挙げられます。

つまり、腰痛の種類によっては、自転車に乗った姿勢をとることで楽になることがあるのです。中には「自転車に乗っている時だけ痛みがない」という極端な症例もあります。このような症状は更年期の女性に多いと言われています。

正しい姿勢で乗る

それでは、どのようにしたら腰痛を引き起こさずに自転車にのれ、また辛い腰痛を感じている時に自転車にのることで楽になれるのでしょうか。

そのためには「正しい姿勢で自転車にのる」ことが重要です。また、ロードバイクがきつい人は前傾姿勢にならないママチャリに乗るのがよいでしょう。ママチャリの乗り方であれば腹筋や背筋を使わないので長時間乗っていても腰痛になりにくいとおもわれます。

サドルの高さの調整も重要です。ペダルを踏み込んで一番下に来た時に膝が少し曲がるぐらいの高さに調節しましょう。

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まとめ:正しく自転車を利用して腰痛を改善

自転車と腰痛との関係については様々な意見が交わされています。
たしかに自転車には腰に悪い状態になる姿勢になることが少なからずありますから、「正しい姿勢」で乗ることが重要です。サドルの高さの調節などをするだけでも、ずいぶん楽になることもあります。

また、自転車にのって走ると気持ちが良いですし、運動にもなります。自転車に乗った時に楽になるか、腰痛を感じるかまず見極めることが大事でしょう。

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