Over the past month I’ve worked hard on addressing the source of my seemingly ever-worsening back pain. I’m making progress but of course it’s not as instant as I had hoped . Also sorry for no photos but there’s an embedded one below at least.
Here’s what I’ve done:
1. Switch the crankset on my Kestrel 4000 tri bike from size 170mm, to size 165mm for a short period, and then ultimately to size 160mm. My hips feel more open and my glutes more engaged in the pedal stroke.
2. Associated tri bike changes: raised the saddle and the bar height both by 5mm.
3. Switch the crankset on my Trek Superfly mountain bike from size 170mm to size 165mm.
4. I’m still settling on the associated MTB changes, which thus far include a -24 degree stem (looks kinda like this one). I’m re-visiting Retul on Friday of this week to refine the fit.
5. Gradually, over the course of 4 weeks, removed the lemond wedges under my right road and tri shoe cleats that amounted to 2mm of lift. I’ve had them since 2005 but over the past few years have been told I don’t actually have a leg length discrepancy.
6. Beefed up strength training to specifically target my glutes and hip flexors.
It’s all been pretty good, these are methodical changes that should help alleviate my pain in the long run, but in the short run my “back” (which I put in quotes because what hurts also includes my hips and abdominals) is still in a lot of pain, during and outside of training. For example it takes me several minutes to be able to unfold and stand up straight after cycling, regardless of which bike I am riding.
I think I’m set on equipment changes for now, but I still need to see a specialist, in order to better understand what is going on, how it reached the point of being this excruciating, and what will fix it. Thanks so much to everyone for your generosity with advice, time, and understanding.