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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a close friend who has recently been diagnosed with lower back problems and am looking to help him get back in the saddle sooner rather than later. One of the specifics that I'm seeking opinions on is how to relieve sit-bone pressure. This may seem an unusual goal as the sit-bones are made for...well...sitting...and saddles are designed almost entirely around the ability to do so, but my friend experiences a good deal of pain in his left sit bone even when sitting in a chair too long. I'm curious if anyone knows of, or has had experience with, any types of saddle designs that may aid in the relief in this specific area of the body? We have already looked into the Thudbuster ST suspension seat post and it looks like a viable option to reduce the amount of shock on the back but want to take it a step further and nip the problem "in the butt" :) Sorry...I had to... Thank you in advance for any suggestions that you might have!
 

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How about a recumbent?

There are some things you can do with positioning and bar height, and experimenting with saddles may help (a Brooks B-17 helped my minor problems). How about having him try a recumbent, though? There are 'bent forums on the net that can steer him toward a good choice, and there may be a shop in your area that's knowledgeable. The owner of an LBS here in Reno used to race them, but most shops don't seem to know much.
 

· Frog Whisperer
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Cory said:
There are some things you can do with positioning and bar height, and experimenting with saddles may help (a Brooks B-17 helped my minor problems). How about having him try a recumbent, though? There are 'bent forums on the net that can steer him toward a good choice, and there may be a shop in your area that's knowledgeable. The owner of an LBS here in Reno used to race them, but most shops don't seem to know much.

on the topic of Brooks....good idea but the B-17 may not be the right one either, I ride a N-7 N because I require a narrower saddle.. (at a smaller price than a swift let's say)

one thing for sure, I have never had sit's bone pain...

If possible, I would recommend a frame that allows a threaded headset and get a Technomic, TALL...more upright.....However, TOO upright can also be an issue with the "shock absorbing" capabilities of the spine being limited to the discs.

I have lower back pain and FORTUNATELY riding is one thing that DOESN'T bother it..(unlike laying in bed or lifting or.....yeah...even sex)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies guys. Unfortunately recumbants aren't as popular as they should be in my area (I don't remember seeing even one in any of the four bike shops in town) and I don't think replacing the entire bike is a financial possibility. I am curious though, what is the "rave" behind brooks saddles, why are they first that come to mind, and why would you recommend them for the problem?

I invite others to "chime in" if they have opinions/info to add to the thread also. Thanks!
 

· Frog Whisperer
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one of the draws to Brooks is the fact that in reality it is a "suspension" saddle....it is leather stretched from a metal "horseshoe" in the rear, to a metal nose piece up front....like a hammock. It absorbs a LOT of road shock.

Besides...we brooks riders are an odd, almost rabidly loyal bunch.....

edit...I have a serious problem with a suspension seatpost because the height actually varies depending on load.....that would put too much strain on MY knees....
 

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Has he tried riding a bike even for short distances to see if there is an issue with his situation.

Sitting in a chair your full upper body weight is directly over the sit bones.

On a bike your upper body is pitched forward at roughly 45 degrees. This disperses the pressure of the upper body weight over your arms, shoulders and butt - he actually may find some relief from this position Further your legs are pushing on the pedals. Both help alleviate direct pressure from the full force of the upper body on the sit bones.

Further it depend on the type of lower back problem, body alignment, disc or vertabrae issue, muscle. etc. For these you need a medical pro familiar with sports and cycling in particular.

I say try to ride for short distances and if he feels a little better build up the distance over time. If he feels worse than start looking for alternatives.

Regardless try to get him to stay active - swimming whatever. Nothing worse for a person than muscle attrition to make matters worse - been there it was a waste of time and quality of life.
 

· Colorado Springs, CO
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+1 The Brooks. I have Brooks Professional and it is the nicest saddle I have had. It looks and feels like a block of wood, but it doesn't let the nether regions get numb like happened to me with other saddles. It did take some getting used to (about 100 to 200 miles).

Instead of a two wheel recumbent, how about a tricycle recumbent (www.cattrike.com). I have seen some people riding these on organized rides here in Colorado and also around Colorado Springs. It's low to the ground and from what I have seen, people just scream down the hills on them. It looks like an absolute hoot to ride one of these. May be difficult to get on and off since it is so low to the ground though.
 

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Postscript to Previous: How are your friend's core muscles? Maybe he needs some PT and formal strength training to help him through the lower back issues. Your back muscles and abdominal muscles work like guy wires on a tent pole. If one or both sides are "slack" the tent pole can bend ,,, and ... ouch! PT person should be able to recommend some exercises to work around the issues. +1 the swimming. Easy on the body and joints. Hard on the cardio system if you really push it (which is not a bad thing). I'd recommend a personal trainer after the PT for a few weeks to keep him going.

What is the real underlying issue? Herniated disc? Sciatica? Treatment options vary widely for back issues. Putting your buddy on a bike and having the road pound his butt may not be a nice thing to do.

I got sciatia once on vacation. Pain in the butt, then shooting pains down my hamstrings. It's cause be the nerves getting pinched (misalignment) in the coccyx area of your back (i.e., what left of the human acenstral tail). Doc gave me some exercises and did some technical pushing/pulling/stretching (wasn't really too much either) of my lower back. The exercises were ridiculously simple and I was mostly pain free within a day or so. I continued with the exercises for about another four weeks and it hasn't come back -- this was 5 years ago. Of course, I am now riding on a regular basis (3x a week 100 to 150 miles) the last 4 years, doing free weight/exercise ball work two times a week too (core/abdominal training), and sessions on a spin bike twice a week too.

I'd really examine what the issue is first and have him talk to his doctor. Even a suspension seat post/bike is going to exert some pressure -- and many do more harm than good. This might be as easy to fix as doing some assigned PT or sitting still for a week or so or ice packs and ibuprofen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We're talking about a guy who ran an ironman a couple years back, and has signed up and has high hopes of doing it again this year, so there isn't any issue with core strength or physical training. He's been swimming as he doesn't want to quit his physical activity altogether and has been doing well with it. My understanding is that he has a possible fractured disc...and there is probably more to the issue that I either don't remember or know about. He's willing to give up running but from talking to him cycling is out of the question. I'm going to encourage him to hop on here himself and take over the thread if he is interested so he can ask more specific questions. Thank you all for the info that you have already provided. It is greatly appreciated!
 

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mikespug said:
We're talking about a guy who ran an ironman a couple years back, and has signed up and has high hopes of doing it again this year, so there isn't any issue with core strength or physical training. He's been swimming as he doesn't want to quit his physical activity altogether and has been doing well with it. My understanding is that he has a possible fractured disc...and there is probably more to the issue that I either don't remember or know about. He's willing to give up running but from talking to him cycling is out of the question. I'm going to encourage him to hop on here himself and take over the thread if he is interested so he can ask more specific questions. Thank you all for the info that you have already provided. It is greatly appreciated!

Possible fractured disc? Doesn't he know, or is the diagnosis inconclusive? If he hasn't seen a doctor yet,I'd urge him to go there first. If he has, the doctor should have recommended a course of treatment and that could involve just sitting still for a while and let everything mend up. If this were my back, i'd be making certain that I knew exactly what was up and not trying to resolve possibilities...
 

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Thanks for the Ideas!

Hello Everyone,

This is jay mcnabb, mikespug’s friend with the back problems who is trying to “get back in the saddle.” Thanks Mike for posting this thread. All the ideas and suggestions have been really interesting and I’m going to look into them.

I’ll explain my condition a little bit for clarity sake. I did an Ironman race in Florida in Nov. 2006 and was planning on doing the one in Louisville, KY this Aug. But for the past 2 years I’ve had severe Piriformis Syndrome-like symptoms and have aggressively tried to rehab it with PT and Chiropractic. My condition hasn’t changed much, so my local Chiropractor finally told me to go get an MRI, which I did. The results revealed a bulging L5 disc with a possible stress fracture. Upon getting second opinions from both Chiropractors and Orthopedic Neurosurgeons, the chance of having a stress fracture is slim.

My dad is a Chiropractor out in CA and upon his recommendation; I am going to try Spinal Decompression as a non-surgical solution. Over the counter drugs don’t touch the pain, only a TENS unit (electrical stimulation) is able to manage the pain. In the mean-time, I have been using an Inversion Table, where you hang upside down, and that seems to bring relief on a consistent basis.

What about the bike you ask? Well, some days are more painful than others when I ride, but I’ve decided to keep pushing through it. Based on my sporadic riding over the last 2 years, I am convinced that it will not make my low back problem any worse. Running on the other hand is what I have decided to give up for the time being.

I will look into the Brooks Saddle and I plan on trying the suspension seat post (thudbuster), in the hopes that I can be able to do the bike portion of this year’s Ironman in Louisville. Thanks again for all your thoughts and advice on this matter! If I find any amazing solution to my back problem, I’ll post it here.
 
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