Road Bike, Cycling Forums banner
1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
354 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So...been diagnosed as having a slipped/ herniated disc, sciatica, pinched nerve. Pain like I have never felt (this, coming from a guy who has broken almost every bone in his body)... This situation seems to be exacerbated by cycling (especially road). I know that the Ortho (who I will re-visit today) will suggest PT, anti-inflam meds and eventual 'pain management' (pills, epidoral (sp)) .
Anyone have any experience on REPAIRING the situation rather than masking it with meds? I have tried PT (excercises, stretching) and got minimal results.
I have already lost 2 weeks of cycling due to this...can't even go to the gym...walking seems impossible at times.
Just looking for some ideas from others who may have had similar condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
Mri !

Yep. unfortunately I have got experience. To answer your question about what to do - here where I live I got myself referred to a Surgeon and had an MRI. Following that I had an emergency discectomy (sp?) If you don't know thats a keyhole op to relieve the disk pressure on the nerve ( my purely amateur and unqualified understanding of the op). After the OP I had no more pain to date (3 years)

If I was you I'd at least get a specialist/surgeons opinion. In my case my GP left it too late
and I lost a lot of feeling and strength in my leg. I remember forcing myself to walk to build back up wasted muscle and I did not notice I was slamming the heel down so hard that it burst through the shoe - there was blood all over the house when I got back. You'd be surprised the damag eyou can do when you have no feeling.
It could have been worse - for a few weeks I had very little feeling below the waist and believe me this is common if the condition is not dealt with. I am not saying this to scare you or others but no one told me or I'd have been a lot more careful - I came close to no sex lifeand wearing diapers. If you start to notice any lose of feelings then move quickly on this.
Good luck!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,055 Posts
I had major sciatic pain about 3 years ago and this past Xmas. First time visited my doctor and he prescribed some meds and rest to see how things went. I never had an MRI ot Xrays, since my pain was not extreme. I could still function, but things were tender. I continued to ride, MTB at that time, and worked on core strenght and stretching. It took a while for the pain to go away completely and I'd get flare up every so often. Basically I was pain free after about 9 months.

This year it happened again after carrying a 17" CRT monitor around. I skipped my doctor and went straight to my chiro. She did a thorough work-up and concluded I had disk problems and performed Flexion/Distraction on my back. After about 3 sessions the sciatic pain was greatly reduced and basically after about 2 months it was completely gone and I never had any flare ups...

You might want to look into a chiropractor for a non-evasive/non-med treatment, it worked for me.

Rich
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
189 Posts
My Experience

I had a herniated disk / sciatica between L4/L5 or L5/S1 (can't remember which) last July after carrying and bouncing my 40 lb son on my shoulders (it was a Friday). I noticed the pain the very next day (Saturday) on a ride which I eventually cut short because of the pain. It slowly worsened over the next week but I still did nothing about it.

I went on a 3 day business trip the 2nd Monday after I carried my son. I had to drive an hour and a half both ways and was miserable the whole time there. I could hardly sleep, stand, sit, or walk the entire trip. I had my wife call my doctor to get me in the day after I got back. It took me 15 minutes to get from her car to the office it hurt so much to walk. When I got there, my back finally seized up. I had EXCRUCIATING, AGONIZING, UNBEARABLE pain from my lower back down my right leg to my foot. I was screaming and crying on the floor of the doctor's office it hurt so much. I wouldn't wish that kind of pain on my worst enemy.

Anyway, long story short. The doctor prescribed some sort of generic vicadin to kill the pain and it worked well enough to get me back on my feet. I then had an MRI and went to a neurosurgeon. He gave me three options after seeing the MRI results. 1) surgery - obviously invasive and not guaranteed to work, 2) steriod injections - not as invasive but also not guaranteed to work, 3) PT. I chose PT.

After a month and a half of PT, lots and lots of stretching, and NO heaving lifting, I finally felt well enough to get back on the bike and (knock on wood) I've been pain free since. I can't say enough good things about the PT that I saw. I was a little skeptical at first because I had been to the same practice (different office) 5 years earlier and had terrrible results but this guy knew his stuff and I'm grateful for it. I guess what I'm saying is... dont' rule out PT... it worked wonders for me... hopefully it can for you too.

Best of luck.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
My two cents......

I had surgery for a herniated disc about a year ago and just started riding again within the last two months. My story started in the gym, had lower back pain but wasn't sure why at the time. I suspect that my weight combined with poor back and abdominal strength did me in. At some point I lifted something extremely heavy and started receiving sciatica. I went through the whole field of treatments. Started with Motrin and taking it easy. Encouraged not to run or do situps although riding and swimming was fine. That continued for four months without relief. Next went to PT and did exercises as well as traction, encouraged to continue swimming. No relief, in fact the swimming made it worse. Then went for MRI and had positive findings in the L4-L5 region. Went to pain management and had two epiderol shots first one helped slightly, second one hurt like hell and didn't do a damn thing. Went to nuerosurgeon, he told me without a doubt I had a herniated disc and that I had two options; 1. I could have surgery or 2. I could wait 4 years (actually 3 since by this time it had been a year) for the disc to heal itself. I went with surgery because the amount of pain I was in. I had dealt with the pain so long at this point that I wasn't sure what hurt and what didn't. My pain started in my hip and went all the way down my left leg. I could only walk for about 5 minutes before I started hurting and standing was excruciating. I had lathrascopic surgery (small cut and used a fiberscope) and recovered fairly quickly from my left side. The doctor said it was one of the most irratated nerves he's ever seen. Pain relief was immediate. The problem I had was that since I had limped on my left leg for so long my body was out of alignment and my right sacral joint was hurting. Went to PT for 10 months for this before I was released and was still told I shouldn't run or do situps ever again.

Deal with this immediately, in some cases it does go away but in some cases (like mine) it just get's worse. I still get a little "ghost" pain every once in a while but the doc says that may occur for the rest of my life due to the nerve damage. Hope this helps. If you have any questions let me know.


Matt
 

·
Fini les ecrase-"manets"!
Joined
·
9,419 Posts
My wife went through all this maybe three years ago. Her problem was that she couldn't sit down. She could lie flat and stand, but not sit comfortably. It got worse and worse. She had a herniated disc.

Her doctor recommended going through all the steps from least-serious to most, culminating in surgery. He said this was a good choice because any one treatment, or even just time, could sort things out before getting to the more serious stuff. She did it all--pain killers, PT, steroid injections and the finally surgery. She suffered for a year before going in for the surgery--partly she was afraid of the surgery, and wanted to exhaust all options first. When all the other options had run out, she was also in so much pain that surgery didn't sound so bad.

She was very lucky, and has found complete relief. Like many others, it's taken her a long time to recover 100% from the effects of being out of whack for so long, but in the last few months, we paid for a personal trainer to help iron out the last problems with core strength, etc., and she's right as rain.

I hope you have good luck with your back--and don't be surprised or put off if you doctor recommends a bunch of stuff that doesn't help much. It's the conservative way to move forward, as I understand it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,643 Posts
Chiropractor helped me.

Only went to him because he was the closest practitioner to my house that would give me an appointment THAT DAY. The pain was so bad I wasn't sure how far I could drive. The first visit got me six inches lower when I tried to touch my toes and some, but not a lot, of pain relief. Each of the next visits helped and, after 4 weeks, I was done seeing him except for occasional - less than once a year - episodes.

I don't advocate chiropractry for everybody, only say that it helped me and shouldn't be dismissed without some consideration. The most important factor in my experience is finding a doc who's a jock. I really don't want to be treated by anybody who thinks that life sitting, laying down or moving slowly 24 hours a day is good enough. I want them to feel the joy of exertion that I feel and understand how much the loss of that joy diminishes my life.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
838 Posts
Try a chiropractor. My husband is one, and has a lot of success with sciatica patients. In fact, I sent him one from this site (or maybe it was MTBR) who was happy w/ his results.

Different conditions cause sciatica. If you really do have a disc problem, this may be a long term problem for you. Not only is the husband a chiro, he's an athlete w/ a chronic disc problem that he has managed conservatively for 20 years. He had to give up doing squats in the gym, but manages fine on the bike. Good luck.
 

·
What the Hell is going on
Joined
·
5,892 Posts
Another Bad back story

I went through the same thing three years ago. The funny thing is I actually felt a little better walking or riding my bike (on a trainer, of course). I ruptured my disc in the L4-L5 region too. Stretching exercises didn't work and vicadin and some kind of condine stuff wasn't enough to dull the pain for me to get a good nights sleep. After 5 months of weighing my options I finally decided on surgery (I was in too much pain 24/7). Relief was immediate on the recovery table. I was released from hospital the next day. The bad thing is I gained 30 lbs. developed type 2 diabetes (bad dietary habits) and high blood pressure.

I'm just getting back into cycling (after healing completely from back surgery I tore my left gastroc muscle which knocked me off cycling for another 6 months) and I'lve lost 30 lbs. and my doctor finally took me off my high blood pressure and diabetic meds. I feel for you and I can't say enough about surgery.

Good luck and get well soon.
 

·
Non Non Cyclist
Joined
·
5,779 Posts
Another option

Look for a physiatrist. They are generally orthopaedic physicians who specialize in non-surgical treatment options like therapy, epidurals, diskectomy, radiofrequency ablation, etc. Many of them specialize in disorders of the spine. I am a nurse and used to work for one in the Atlanta area.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
237 Posts
I felt your pain...

Here is the deal. I had been doing the pain/can't move stuff for a number of years, and I had always recovered, and had even been pretty active in the periods between layups.

The body can heal things, but beyond a certain point surgery is just about all you can do. My doc said we had two options: we could do surgery (actually pretty minor surgery, considering it involves your SPINE) or I could take it easy, manage the pain and inflammation, and the body would remove the offending, nerve crunching tissue in a matter of months, provided I didn't continue to aggravate the area.

I was leaning toward not doing surgery, but then things got seriously worse--very difficult standing, walking, sleeping, living. I had to go with surgery.

I think that most of the PT/chiropractic "solutions" are likely analogous to my own repeated periods of recovery. They simply overlap in time with natural bodily healing processes, perhaps aiding the healing processes and hastening recovery.

My take on this is that you wait it out, while minimizing your pain, or that you do the damn surgery. Good Luck.


AlanS said:
So...been diagnosed as having a slipped/ herniated disc, sciatica, pinched nerve. Pain like I have never felt (this, coming from a guy who has broken almost every bone in his body)... This situation seems to be exacerbated by cycling (especially road). I know that the Ortho (who I will re-visit today) will suggest PT, anti-inflam meds and eventual 'pain management' (pills, epidoral (sp)) .
Anyone have any experience on REPAIRING the situation rather than masking it with meds? I have tried PT (excercises, stretching) and got minimal results.
I have already lost 2 weeks of cycling due to this...can't even go to the gym...walking seems impossible at times.
Just looking for some ideas from others who may have had similar condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
495 Posts
It is amusing how much Chiropractic is disrespected and misunderstood. I'm a chiropractor as well and have treated numerous patients with this exact problem. I've only had one patient not make a complete recovery, and he doesn't even count because he only gave his body 3 days to heal and then he was laying on the surgeons table. I dont' even get concerend when I see a sciatic patient because I know they will get better. What most people don't realize is that these problems are the end result of long term spinal issues. Stop treating your body based on pain. How many of you think drinking/smoking/being over weight is good for you? You can get away with any of those for many years before you start developing symptoms. Same thing goes for you back, we ignore it for years if not decades until it completely falls apart on us then expect it to heal over night. I guess you guys would trust me more because I've been a jock and a cyclist my whole life eh? Your spine could really care less. Find a good chiro, give him/her time to actually fix your spine, not just relieve the pain. If you don't, you will pay for it in the long run. Avoid surgery until all other non-invasive options have been exhausted! Of course, you could just ignore me because I'm a quack. Ignorance is bliss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
192 Posts
No offence intended

Sub
When I advised MRI & surgeon's opinion I did not mean to dismiss other opinions or procedures.
I went to a chiro for a long time - he is well recognised here and a former International rider. I also attended a physio who is also a competing cyclist.I don't disrespect these people at all nor doubt that they are professional. But if you read my initial reply you see that I left it too late to see a surgeon. If I had seen him even a month let a lone a year earlier I would not have lost the feeling and strength in my leg. For a time before /after the Op I was so bad that I didn't know whether I needed to use the toilet - this latter symptom just happened out of the blue. During this period and for aprx three months after I could not get an erection. Needless to say this scared me and I would not like to see anyone go through it.
When I was in hospital I met a man who landed in a wheel chair for the same reasons.
My Surgeon wrote a letter for the Physio after the op - when I read that he reckoned I was making "a better than expected" recovery that also scared me. I would urge anyone with serious sciatica to get the MRi ( xrays apparently don't show everything) and speak to a surgeon - then base your decision on the surgeons advise.
 

·
BS the DC
Joined
·
1,426 Posts
I'm a chiropractor. I treat this type of problem every day. After doing a neurological exam to rule out severe nerve compression (ie. muscle weakness), I usually proceed with a combination of spinal manipulation, McKenzie maneuvers, and spinal decompression (traction). Mild cases usually respond well to this treatment fairly quickly. Moderate cases take longer and usually require a round of oral steroids. In severe cases, I give them two weeks to show some significant improvement. No improvement, means a trip to the surgeon. I rarely recommend epidural steroid injections. I don't find them to be very effective except in specific cases (annular tear of the disc).

Cycling is usually out for disc patients. Cycling puts your lumbar spine in a flexed position, which compresses your discs. Most patients get relief from extention (ie. McKenzie extention biased).

Many doctors and therapists make the mistake of putting an acute disc patient through stretches and exercises too early. This can often exacerbate a disc patient. If your therapist did this, don't give up on conservative care. Find someone who might be better at managing disc injuries.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,643 Posts
Trusting jock docs is about more than competance

Sub said:
. I guess you guys would trust me more because I've been a jock and a cyclist my whole life eh? Your spine could really care less. QUOTE]

Patient "It hurts when I go like this."

Doctor "Don't go like that."

I've been to doctors who react much that way, especially as I get older. Pain free without doing what I love doing appears good enough for them, but it isn't good enough for me, yet. The value I place in jock docs is in their understanding the importance I place in getting me back in the game. The only thing my back or foot knows is the treatment it receives, but picking the best treatment for an individual requires understanding both the medical condition and the goals of the patient.

When I had to see an orthopedist for a shoulder injury I made it clear that I expected to continue running and riding my bike and he came up with a treatment plan to accomodate what he understood to be inevitable. Sitting on my ass with my arm in a sling wasn't going to happen and didn't need to. He gave me some suggestions for protecting the soldier and regaining range of motion, some meds, and a timetable to monitor my recovery. Two years later I saw him riding a 300k.
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top