back problems, anyone else have them? advice needed

A light bike doesn't replace good fitness.

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by sneeeky

so i have been having back issues for about 1.5 years now and in january i finally got an mri, which indicated a 3mm bulging disc between L5 - S1. my symptoms consist of constant tension in my low back on my right side, when i ride it migrates to my right hip and upper quad. it is exacerbated by sitting, never bothers me when im standing or working. worst of all is that it gets aggravated most by riding. i have been getting massages(which needless to say has cost me much $) almost every week to week and a half to help loosen up the tension. the massage helps but after a few days it goes right back to the same old thing. 2 weeks ago i got cortisol shots in my spine, went for my first ride on saturday and it felt a bit better but still got some of the usual symptoms, maybe not as bad but its hard to tell at this point. sorry for the long winded explanation but i wanted to see if anyone could relate.

if anyone has gone through anything similar please share how you worked through it. any advice would be appreciated, as i have barely been on the bike in 1.5 years and am going nuts. thanks

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by HillRPete

In my familiy there'd been a severe case of "herniated disk", he even had to give up work for a while. What fixed it was getting into yoga several times a week. It takes a lot of perseverance though, and chances are that once you stop, the problems will come back. The silver lining is that he's now really "functional" (in the sports med sense).

An other acquaintance of mine have been trying to keep it under control with swimming and pilates.

Myself, I want to take up rowing, as a complementary exercise to cycling, and the hoping is that it'll fix the occasional slight back pains as well.

The key is to find something you like, because, say, 30min once a week is probably not going to cut it.

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by taina

Twenty years ago I had a 2-year-long back pain episode, triggered by an injury from bad weightlifting form. MRI showed a disc problem. Eventually I tried experimental laser surgery. My best guess now is that the disc problem was asymptomatic, and that my problem was psychogenic, along the lines described by John Sarno in his books. Divorce cured my back pain, but I don't recommend it for everyone.
Saura mon coeur que mon cul poise.

adapted from Rabelais

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by motorthings

If you were in my area (St. Louis, MO), i'd recommend an AMAZING back pain specialist team (doctors, trigger point therapy, spinal surgery, PT, etc) who have done wonders for me. If you want, PM me, and I can get you their contact info. Maybe they could make a referral to someone closer to you?

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by NealH

Therapy is probably your best bet, and I'm sure you doc has already prescribed this. Stick to it. Maybe back off cycling a little and have a good fitter take a look at your position on the bike.

A bulging disc is common in people, especially as they get older. Surgery is virtually never called for in the case of a bulging disc. Therapy is your best friend right now. A bulging disc will subside but they don't do it overnight. It takes months. You might have to limit your bike riding for a couple or three months while you focus on therapy. Maybe try some swimming too, or some other exercise that is easy on the joints.

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by Juanmoretime

S1 and L5 are my issues too plus toss in disc degeneration and C6 and C7. As others have mention physical therapy at first helped and doing yoga once or twice a week keeps it very tolerable. I also find since I have good flexibility a low position on the bike decompresses the spine giving me no back pain on the bike.

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by backflat

what to pro athletes and motorcycle trick riders with back injuries do ?

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by jmilliron

Physical therapy did wonders for me after I compressed a vertebrae. A year later, my back was healthier then pre-accident. Got to keep up on it though.
2013 Wilier Cento1 SR || 2009 Ridley Crossbow || 2011 Yeti AS-R 5 Carbon

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by Thirstyman

herniation t1/t2, bulge l5/s1 bulge c6/c7 as the result of a car accident 1.5 years ago. 6 months of intense PT. What has really helped me is 45 minutes daily of foam roller, trigger point self-massage, stretching and core exercises. It has helped so much that I am truly afraid to stop. I do see a trigger point therapist for massage every week or two. This is helpful to avoid spasm and to allow for good progress on the other work. Increased core strength with the flexibility is the key and really takes months to get there. I still need to be careful about lifting things and do not do situps and extended sitting can take a toll. However, I am much more flexible than I was before and much lower on the bike. for me the key to on the bike comfort has been to keep a very straight back and only bend at the hips. A stretched out position that is moderately low feels best for me. tight low back muscles and hamstrings will cause hip flexors to become tight and may cause the issue you describe with your hip/upper quad. Get some books on trigger point therapy from the library. the best ones I came across are Trigger point self care Manual by Finando, the tirgger point therapy workbook by Davies, and trigger point therapy for low back pain by sauer and biancalana. With these muscle all locked up my rhythm was completely off and and i would fatigue quickly. Now I'm back to where I was before the accident in term of strength on the bike. You can get there too.
Last edited by Thirstyman on Sat Jun 16, 2012 12:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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by HillRPete

What I said above may sound like I'm not recommending therapy, so let me paraphrase. Therapy is very helpful to alleviate pain quickly, but after that your best bet for keeping things going long-term, specific exercise is probably your best bet.

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by sneeeky

thanks for all the input!
i am currently looking for a good physical therapist, been traveling a lot for work so i havent really had time to get started with PT. im going to go visit a few different PT's as my insurance only covers a limited number of visits so id like to find someone good. after a few weeks the epidural basically did nothing for me, except somehow stopped a sore shoulder(not quite sure how that happened).

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