It looks like the number of cyclists on the road is set to continue its upward trend post the Olympics after having been given a huge boost by the Team GB cycling team and the Tour of Britain.

The rising popularity of cycling is not a new phenomenon however.  Last year saw the biggest ever increase in cycling on the UK’s National Cycle Network, with 40 million extra journeys made on bike than in 2010, according to a recent report by charity Sustrans.

If you are considering dusting your bike off and going on a healthy bike ride this weekend, think about protecting your lower back where back pain can occur aggravated by cycling, particularly if you are not a seasoned cyclist.

Here are six top tips to help avoid back pain from leading Surrey chiropractor, Tone Tellefsen Hughes, from Luck’s Yard clinic.

6 tips for relieving back pain whilst cycling

• Make sure your bike is the right size for you and not too long. Raise the handlebars so you are riding more upright. If you buy your bike from a good bike shop they will make sure it is properly fitted to suit you.

• In addition to a good bike fit, make sure your helmet fits properly.  If you wear your helmet too far forward on your head, neck problems can occur.

• Check your cycling posture.  If your back is curved when you grip the handlebars, practice leaning forward with a straight back.  Similarly, your shoulders may be bowed forward, but they should not be tensed or hunched.  Do not allow your back to sag downwards as this can cause lower back pain.

• Cyclists’  lower bodies tend to be far more developed than their back and neck. Make sure you build up strength in your neck and shoulders as this additional weight will help keep your back stronger.

• A good warm up exercise is the “reverse shrug”.  Pull your shoulders up to your ears and then back down behind you in a reverse shrug.  This helps to keep the shoulder and neck muscles flexible when you are cycling.

• If you do experience lower back pain, you can reduce inflammation by applying ice to the lower back.  Wrap the ice in a towel or plastic bag and then hold the ice on the affected area.  A warm towel or heat pack can also help to ease pain.

Tone advises:

“Cycling is a fantastic way of maintaining health and fitness.  Novice cyclists and those that don’t cycle often should take care that they practice good exercise habits and warm up before getting out onto the open road.   Lower back pain can be very debilitating so by stretching your muscles out and really preparing your body before a bike ride, you should  enjoy many years of happy cycling.”

For more help and advice on how to combat back  pain or to find out more about the range of health services on offer at Luck’s Yard clinic contact the Luck’s Yard Clinic on 01483 527945, e-mail  enquiries@ or visit www.