Fifty Plus (50+) - Paging Blackberry
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07-22-06, 02:04 PM
I read in the Rogue's Gallery that you were recovering from a bulging disc. I'm getting over 3 of them that had my right leg weak, nearly uncontrollable, and throbbing at night. I was a runner until this happened and the doctor said bike, but no running until he says so. The pain went away in a week or so but I haven't ran since May 30. I was off to a good season too. In age division competition (50-54 y.o.), I placed 3rd in the Mississippi Marathon and had 3 wins and a 3rd in the 4 local 5k's I got to run before the injury hit.
I'm doing the McKenzie exercises per the doctors orders and hope to be back running soon. I'm making the biking fun though, with 2-3 daily rides of 14-15 miles and my weekend long ride is up to 47 mikes. As of now, I'm riding a Wal-Mart mountain bike that my son lost interest in. I put road tires on it but that's the only thing I've done.
If something prevents my return to running and I continue to bike, I'll look for a more appropriate ride.
So tell me about your disc. Where were your areas of pain?
07-23-06, 06:31 PM
Sorry for the delay in getting back with you. I've been out riding.
Here's my story. Last year was probably the most active of my cycling life. I was riding hard and riding a lot. I guess I was over-doing it. Starting sometime in late September or early October, my back suddenly went on strike.
My pain was on the lower right-hand side of my back and radiated down my right leg to a little bit above the knee. The pain was very intense, to the point where I needed crutches to get around and would use an electric shopping carts in the grocery store. I even got a short-term handicapped parking placard for my car. I couldn't lie down in bed and had to sleep on the floor with my legs propped up on a couch.
It took me about six months to recover to about 90 of where I was at this time last year. I did that basically by resting, doing the Mackenzie exercises, and by strengthening my core (or transversus abdominus) muscles. The TVA muscles, as I understand it, create something like a girdle that protects your spine. Engaging these muscles requires movements in which you bring your navel toward your spine. I've been googling around the web trying to find a good description of these muscles and how to get them firing. There are any number of exercises, but the ones in the attached story can be done simply at anytime by any one.
I've been able to build up my miles on the bike, but I spin in a moderate gear much more in the past. In addition, I'm trying to make sure i sit and stand with better posture. Sometimes I get very slight twinges in my back that tell me to ease up. I was probably getting these last year and just thought of them as mild muscle aches. Actually, I now believe they signaled the early signs of the disc issue.
The good news is that when I think about the intense pain I was in I am amazed that the body's ability to recover. Good luck, and please let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.
07-23-06, 09:06 PM
Thanks for the reply Balckberry. My pain started about July of '05 and it was in my groin. It only hurt after a run when I got runner's cough. By the end of '05 it was bad enough that I went to a doctor. He put me on a month of Voltaren and I was pain free during that time. Once off the meds, the pain returned and he sent me to a sports medicine orthopaedist at the University of Ky. Sports Medicine Clinic.
The first trip to him involved an exam and xrays. By the second trip, the disc had bulged and the other symptoms were present. They did an MRI that time, told me to stop running, and put me on a muscle relaxer.
The leg and back pain went away inside of a week after I stopped running. The right leg regained it's strength after about 3 weeks. The groin pain is back however, but it's minimal and only felt when I sneeze. The spine guy said it's caused by a tear somewhere in the disc. He said it may take a year to heal.
Although I'd rather be running, I'm lucky in the sense that I can ride the bike totally pain free.
07-23-06, 09:35 PM
Be careful out there--and if you've been given exercises to do, stick with them!
07-24-06, 01:33 AM
When I had to stop running years ago because of chronic knee problems I thought my personal world was in ruins-- pretty much. I grudgingly started riding while hoping to strengthen and recover my knees. Gradually got into bike culture. One day I realized running was past, would never return to it......the speed, rhythms and lore of cycling were my new home.
If you can't return to running (and I hope you can), there are worse pursuits. (A better bike will make a dilfference...would you rather run in penny loafers or Nikes?)
07-24-06, 01:28 PM
WOW! This stuff sounds all too familiar. I've been experiencing severe pain for about two months now and just got back from the DR's office after having been diagnosed with one bulging disc and one herniated disc. The MRI showed that the disc is impinging on my spinal cord which is the cause of the sharp, stabbing pain in the right buttock and traveling down both the front and back of my right leg.
Can't get comfortable in any position I try...except when I'm on my bike if you can believe that!
It must be that the riding position stretches the vertebra just enough to relieve the pressure on the disc.
Doctor said that riding is great for my problem but to avoid rough road surfaces...not a problem since the streets I ride are smooth as glass.
Anyway, it's physical therapy three times per week and hopefully I can find some relief from the pain.
Wish me luck.
07-25-06, 08:32 PM
CrossChain, thanks for the kind words. I've already came to grips with the fact that cycling can be a great new sport should I not be able to run anymore. I'm prepared for any of it and I'll gladly play the hand I'm dealt and come out a winner.
SepmerFi, explain to me the difference between herniated and bulging. My doc said they are synonymous. Anyway, you're having the same issues a few of us have faced. Even in the worst of my pain, I felt great while running but when the right leg went weak, I couldn't go very fast. It was while speeping (or trying to) that I paid the biggest price.
Do what the doc's say and be prepared for anything. Don't let it rain on your parade.
07-25-06, 08:42 PM
explain to me the difference between herniated and bulging..
Something found on a google search:
"Bulging is a lesser degree of disc herniation. You can think of a disc herniation in four stages: bulging, protrusion, extrusion, and sequestration. In the first two cases, the annular ring is intact, whereas in the last two cases, the annular ring is disrupted.
You can make an analogy to a rubber tire. You can have a small bulge or bigger bulge which can be called a protrusion. If the tire wall is ruptured, then you have an extrusion. Sequestration means that the content of the disc is now freely floating outside the tire."
-- Sherman Nam Tran, M. D.
07-26-06, 11:19 AM
I was about to explain the difference between the two. Additionally, the bulging disc still retains its gel like fluid without rupturing while the herniated disc has broken open, lost its fluid, and has spread into the area occupied by the spinal canal and nerve roots.
07-27-06, 05:35 AM
Thanks guys. Doc referred to mine using both terms. On my next visit, I'll get some clarificaion. Since my symptoms weren't nearly as severe nor long lasting as some of yours, I do hope that bulging is the correct diagnosis for mine.
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