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  1. #1
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    Siatic nerve pain .

    I ride a bike once in awhile but because i am getting seriously overweight 50 lbs to be exact i'd like to buy a better bike and ride everyday . Due to hockey injury 1 year ago i have a lot of siactic nerve pain on and off in my right leg . I am affraid that riding a bike an hour or two a day will make it worse but maybe i'm wrong and it could help me . Any comments ?? I'm going to turn 55 this year . Thanks

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    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Last year, February '12, I developed SI induced sciatica in the left leg. Prior to and during the time I was getting physical therapy, I was riding a bike(hybrid/comfort) bike and it never made the sciatica any worse. The physical therapy eventually eliminated the problem and I rode all the while during treatment. I even got a Road bike and started riding that--no problems. But, you will want to get the opinion of your doctor. I did find though, especially before starting therapy, that it effected my pedaling while standing and when starting off, but as I stated, cycling never made it worse.
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    a77impala a77impala's Avatar
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    I have sciatic pain occasionally and biking helps me relieve it.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member climberguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bikey Mikey View Post
    Last year, February '12, I developed SI induced sciatica in the left leg. Prior to and during the time I was getting physical therapy, I was riding a bike(hybrid/comfort) bike and it never made the sciatica any worse. The physical therapy eventually eliminated the problem and I rode all the while during treatment....
    I am experiencing the same problem, so far with no relief. I would agree that cycling does not seem to make it worse, but would advise taking it slowly at first, and monitoring it carefully to see if it is painful while riding or if it aggrevates the condition.

    To Mikey, I would like to hear more about your experience with this issue, your course of PT, and how you were able to eliminate the problem. I can PM if you prefer.
    And I did it all clean.

  5. #5
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardg40 View Post
    I ride a bike once in awhile but because i am getting seriously overweight 50 lbs to be exact i'd like to buy a better bike and ride everyday . Due to hockey injury 1 year ago i have a lot of siactic nerve pain on and off in my right leg . I am affraid that riding a bike an hour or two a day will make it worse but maybe i'm wrong and it could help me . Any comments ?? I'm going to turn 55 this year . Thanks
    Cycling has relieved my mild siactic pain completely. I've had sciactic pain most of my life, running or long periods of inactivity always brings it on.

    You should check with your MD, but cycling is low impact and should not make it worse.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member David Bierbaum's Avatar
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    My lower back pain is relieved by bicycling as well. I don't understand how it works, but my back never felt better than when I finally restarted bicycle riding to lower my cholesterol and my gas bill!

    In fact, right now I can feel the lack of regular bicycling these last few wintery weeks, when my back starts giving signs of that feeling of tightness that means the next time I turn or bend over could end with that horrible crackling noise followed by that horrendous debilitating pain that lasts for days... I wish that stupid jet stream would get off it's butt and MOVE already. I'm tired of the arctic conveyor belt bringing wave after wave of snow and cold. Though I'm happy for the drought relief. Just not for my back.

  7. #7
    Seat Sniffer Biker395's Avatar
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    I had sciatica for a while back in my 30s, and the prescribed PT didn't help at all. What did help was not carting my kids around as much and sitting in more ergonomically designed chairs.

    And for me, the cycling actually helped. I like riding in the hills, and that's a pretty good way to strengthen your lower back.
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    I developed sciatic nerve pain after doing the Assault On Mt. Mitchell last year. After much research, I concluded that my problem was brought on by the fact that I had done so much training in the weeks leading up to the event. It wasn't the training itself that did it, it was the fact that 90 % of the climbing I did was seated. I tried physical therapy and chiropractic to alleviate the pain to no avail. Finally, I had an epidural and within a week I was pain free. I eased back into cycling slowly after that. Now, in addition to thorough stretching and core strengthening routines, I try to alternate sitting and standing while climbing as much as possible. A year has passed since then and so far, all is well.

  9. #9
    Senior Member CACycling's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a77impala View Post
    I have sciatic pain occasionally and biking helps me relieve it.
    +1

  10. #10
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    Biking is my doctor.

  11. #11
    Older I get, faster I was con's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Bierbaum View Post
    My lower back pain is relieved by bicycling as well. I don't understand how it works, but my back never felt better than when I finally restarted bicycle riding to lower my cholesterol and my gas bill! ..............
    It could be like mine, caused by L5 disc problems. I have had surgery once already. Prior to my surgery about 15 years ago I could hardly even move. I was pain free for many years but the last couple of years the pain has started again in a much milder form. The surgeon told me I would get about 10 years out of the surgery.

    On a bike the forward bend position opens up the space at the back of the two vertebrae adjoining the disc and it tends to relieve the pressure on the nerve.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Bikey Mikey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by climberguy View Post
    I am experiencing the same problem, so far with no relief. I would agree that cycling does not seem to make it worse, but would advise taking it slowly at first, and monitoring it carefully to see if it is painful while riding or if it aggrevates the condition.
    Yeah, don't push it. I was initially told by the doc in a box to stay off the bike for a week while I was taking steroids. I went to my regular physician and he wanted an MRI, but insurance wouldn't authorize it. I was back on the bike and it didn't get worse, no better, but not worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by climberguy View Post
    To Mikey, I would like to hear more about your experience with this issue, your course of PT, and how you were able to eliminate the problem. I can PM if you prefer.
    I'm not sure what brought the SI sciatica on. Since insurance wouldn't authorize the MRI the doc wanted, I had to go to PT. It seemed that my left pelvis was a bit forward because of the spasms and such. The PT, pulled and pushed and jerked the leg, gave me some exercises to do at the therapy and at home with a band to strengthen some muscles to pull back the hip to proper position(elastic band(on knees and spreading the knees), squeezing a rubber ball with the knees, pulling the knee to the chest, and some others I don't quite recall)). I also got some electric stimulation the glutes to relax the muscles and some electrodes on the lower back. After about 2 or 3 weeks I was released from PT and did the exercises at home for an additional 4 or 6 weeks. I've a had a small twinge or two since then, but it was always very temporary and gone in hours. Really haven't had any issues since.

    I did suffer from Sciatica from a ruptured L4/L5 disc in 2000, but that had to be fixed with surgery(of course after suffering with it for 6 months through medication and therapy, and then an MRI which confirmed the disc rupture). That was in my right leg and I've not had any issues with that since.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member climberguy's Avatar
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    Thanks, Mikey, I appreciate the details. I've had an MRI which showed an L5 disk bulge possibly affecting the nerve. Doc is unsure if it's that or an inflamed piriformis. The hope is it will go away with ice, anti-inflamatory meds, time, PT and stretching, but it's been over two months with little improvement.
    And I did it all clean.

  14. #14
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    I suffered a permanent injury to my back 5 years ago and there are no surgical measures that a presently able to correct what is a neurological issue... cycling has been the best therapy to relieve sciatic pain and neuropathy which would probably be worse if I had 100% sensation down my lower left side.

    Will say that pain is better than no pain... it lets you know you are still alive.

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    Pedals, Paddles and Poles Daspydyr's Avatar
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    I was diagnosed with Sciatic pain for years. Turned out to be hip degeneration. Get a doctor to do a full Xray of the region to confirm the problem. I had both hips replaced and then found BFs to learn about recovery. Been hanging around here ever since.
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    Had siatic problems in my 30's and 40's.Now in my 50"s no siatic pain at all.Cut out heavy lifting at the gym and on the job.I was told to loose the belly fat it pulls on your (my) back when standing and strenghten the abs.Also carry my wallet in front pocket.I ride every week and it has not aggravated the nerve.

  17. #17
    Over forty victim of Fate Cougrrcj's Avatar
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    Wife has had Sciatic pain in her left leg since a pregnancy (it changed the shape of her pelvis) pinched the nerve. Sleeping on a waterbed has helped for a number of years. If she sleeps on a hard regular mattress, like when we go on vacation, the pain comes back and lingers for weeks.

  18. #18
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    I've had back issues and sciatic pain on and off for 25 years probably stemming from a trampoline accident in my youth. I am convinced that continued movement (even just walking) helps to reduce and absorb the offending disc bulge. I still ride a lot (commute every day) and play golf (can still walk and carry 36 holes), but sitting for extended periods or even laying down too long brings it back. Heavy lifting will send me into weeks of pain, however. Ice does wonders and so do NSAIDS. I'll be the test case for taking Aleve twice a day for 10 years. All this is anecdotal for you. See your doctor --but participate in the diagnosis and also do your own research. Several times I've had to override the doctors and suggest my own next treatment. Each time they admitted I was right (not an easy thing for doctor to do -they are so self important).
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    Senior Member gif4445's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by con View Post
    It could be like mine, caused by L5 disc problems. I have had surgery once already. Prior to my surgery about 15 years ago I could hardly even move. I was pain free for many years but the last couple of years the pain has started again in a much milder form. The surgeon told me I would get about 10 years out of the surgery.

    On a bike the forward bend position opens up the space at the back of the two vertebrae adjoining the disc and it tends to relieve the pressure on the nerve.
    Ditto on the forward bend position. As long as I cycle, my back is in good shape. When I can't bike, my back lets me know. Went to a back specialist a while back that explained how it worked. Just what you said con. And I thought I was the only one!

  20. #20
    Senior Member GeorgeBMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by richardg40 View Post
    I ride a bike once in awhile but because i am getting seriously overweight 50 lbs to be exact i'd like to buy a better bike and ride everyday . Due to hockey injury 1 year ago i have a lot of siactic nerve pain on and off in my right leg . I am affraid that riding a bike an hour or two a day will make it worse but maybe i'm wrong and it could help me . Any comments ?? I'm going to turn 55 this year . Thanks
    I have 3 bikes and I can get some back pain from each of them on occasion. But I try to do stretching & strengthening exercises for my back every day. When I do them, I have little or no pain...

    But, last summer I rode my friend's mountain bike with an upright position (instead of the lean-forward of my bikes). My back ached for 2 weeks after I gave it back to her...

    ... I don't think that there are any magic formulas or intrinsic right or wrong.

    But, where possible, I am a strong believer in stretching and strengthening: The spine is really not much more than a tower of blocks piled one on top of another. The real work keeping everything straight is done by the muscles and tendons. And, when we get a back ache (especially those that clear themselves in a week) they are caused by those muscles squeezing on a nerve (rather than the bones or disks that we here so much about).

    I would say try the bike -- but get one that fits well ... (and the comfort bikes may not be the best for you -- they aren't for me.)
    And take care of your back as best you are able with careful stretching and strengthening ...
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  21. #21
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    Lower back pain yes, but never shooting down the legs.
    Lost some weight + worked on abdominal strength and as long as I keep moving it stays at bay.
    Wore a T.E.N.S. unit everyday for almost two years while working as a HD truck diesel mechanic because of my lower back pain. I know pain.

    You might want to buy a used TENS and give it a try as per your MD.

  22. #22
    Bicycle Repair Man !!! Sixty Fiver's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pursuance View Post
    Lower back pain yes, but never shooting down the legs.
    Lost some weight + worked on abdominal strength and as long as I keep moving it stays at bay.
    Wore a T.E.N.S. unit everyday for almost two years while working as a HD truck diesel mechanic because of my lower back pain. I know pain.

    You might want to buy a used TENS and give it a try as per your MD.
    I have a TENS unit... keeps me off the stupid drugs a good deal of the time.

  23. #23
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    I have it now, second time (first time about 20 yrs ago when I was 31). Was worse back then and I just dealt with it until it gradually went away. This time, it flared up this past October (I'd call it a mild-to-moderate case), the day after 2 consecutive, particularly tough days of very hilly riding on the bike. As with many ailments for those in the 50+ group it slowwwwwwwly gets better (compared to our younger days). It is starting to subside lately, thankfully. I've ridden my usual twice-a-week rides, and 3x/wk jumping rope all along. Unable to lay/sleep too long on my back b/c of sciatica but it's not too bad. Strangely, it doesn't bother me at all while riding. Bothersome while walking sometimes. No meds all along. At this pace, I'm thinking that it may be totally gone by end of summer 2013, I hope! Good luck with yours.

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