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Real Life Fitness Questions Answered

Kelly Marshall
Fitness Consultant

Posted 27 Jun 12

Can I cycle with my lumbar stenosis?

Hi, I wonder if you can advise, I have lumbar stenosis, facet joint arthritis with spurs and a forward slipped disc all of which are causing nerve pain on left side. I find walking difficult most days but I do manage about 5000 steps on average. It hurts whether I do something or nothing so I figure I might as well do something and enjoy the feeling of wellness mentally if nothing else. I wanted to know if cycling is likely to make things worse or not. I find on my bike I don�t notice the pain as much, well not till I get off lol. I have adjusted my bike to make it more comfortable and generally do 20 - 30 minute stints. I'm assuming cycling is actually beneficial would you agree? Thanks, Jan

Our expert says...

Hi Jan,


Firstly a massive well done to you for keeping active and trying to work around the limitations of your pain. The benefits to being active and as you say mentally well far outweigh the short-term pain of exercising. This said a balance need to be found so you can exercise and gain benefits without exacerbating or worsening your symptoms. Cycling is essentially a good, non-impact option (as long as you don’t suffer for doing it after), as is the walking.


There is long-term benefit to keeping the body moving and the muscles working to maintain quality of life so just make sure whatever you try and do you listen to your body and adjust accordingly. If you feel pain from doing a particular exercise but it settles very quickly and doesn’t make your general level of pain worse then it is reasonable for you to continue if you enjoy it. Have more restful days if you need too to allow your body to recover but otherwise just keep going as you are and stay strong.


Kind regards,



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