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  1. #1
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    Experience with riding after a herniated disk?

    I am planning to start biking on a regular basis as a means of transportation, exercise and general recreation, but I have some concerns and questions regarding riding after a herniated disk.

    This past December I herniated a disk in my lower back while playing tennis, went to the ER and they told me to suck it up and go home. It never felt quite right after that, and then in March I re-herniated it, again while playing tennis. This time they gave me some muscle relaxants and I did the whole physical therapy bit (mainly strengthening core muscles and doing stretches). Problem is I can still feel that it's "off," by this point I've conceded that it is never going to be 100% again and I'm sure it is going to herniate again. At only 18 years old, that really sucks. I'm not playing tennis competitively anymore, only hitting around once in a while.

    Anyway, I'm worried about the constant leaning forward positon that it seems like you have to hold on most bikes (I haven't been on a bike since I was about 10), is most of the weight on your arms/shoulders, or do you have to use your lower back muscles a lot?

    Has anybody on the forum had a herniated disk and found it affects riding?

    As far as bikes go, I'm not sure what kind I should be looking at. I will be mainly riding on the road, but will also need to go on some gravel/rocky roads and I will be pulling a trailer most of the time. And suggestions on what type of bike I should look into would be great as well.

    Thanks in advance,
    Corgi

  2. #2
    Team Poseur RyanHJMS's Avatar
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    I have three herniated lumbar discs. I've tried many different things to relieve the pain including prescriptions (vioxx ruled), acupuncture and physical therapy. Nothing worked for long. Now, five years after I got hurt, I decided it wouldn't ruin my life anymore, so I got back on my bike. I used to ride all the time and I gave it up. Now, the time I spend on the bike is about the only time I don't feel some discomfort in my back. I ride both a mountain bike and a road bike, neither seem to bother me.

    My advice to you would be 1) Find a better doctor and 2) as long as it doesn't make your back worse...RIDE

  3. #3
    It'll be fine... Recess's Avatar
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    I killed a disc in my lumber back in January from too much rowing/running/weights followe by sitting at a desk for the next ten hours.

    A couple of months of visits to a good chiropractor, a month in the swimming pool - all led me to realise that sitting in a car for my 45 min commute didn't help much either. So, still in pain, I hopped back on my bike for the commute. And thank *insert your preferred deity here* I did.

    Complete relief from pain WHEN cycling, and a faster recovery than before when off the bike. This coupled with a once a month visit to the back-crack doctor, and I'm happier (pain-management) than I have been for a long time.

    Herniated? Who knows, but from a really bad slipped disc, my 26 mile commute has helped a lot.

    John
    Recess (aka John)
    www.recess.co.uk

    "I feel sorry for people who don't drink. When they wake up in the morning, that's as good as they're going to feel all day."
    Frank Sinatra

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanHJMS View Post

    My advice to you would be 1) Find a better doctor and 2) as long as it doesn't make your back worse...RIDE
    Agree with above. You CAN get better! Bicycling helped me a lot, as a better diet, loose weight, stretching, stretching, stretching. There are many of good books on recovering from back pain - check your library. Even if you can't "cure" your disc, by strengthening your muscles and increasing flexibility, you can lead a normal pain free life. It takes time and commitment. You might also looking into Dr John Sarno's books. His is a back doctor big on mind-body healing and his book "Healing Back Pain" (1991) helped me a lot with reducing pain. The main thing is not to be afraid to move, because that becomes a catch 22. The less movement, the stiffer the muscles and the more pain. As long as it is not painful, not just uncomfortable, then do it. Core exercises helped me also - pull ups, push ups, and especially squats. Just start slow and carefully. You CAN get better!

  5. #5
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    I was bedridden from 01-03 with 2 badly torn lumbar disks. I've been improving ever since, and last summer i was able to ride across the country.
    www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/2391

    My back likes my road bike more than my more-upright mountain bike. I think it's because when your leaning forward, your spine opens up, and your disks get more space, with little or no compression.

  6. #6
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Good info on how to manage a herniated disk...........

    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/herniated-disk/HD99999

    Life has to go on.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
    I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

    Originally Posted by krazygluon
    Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
    Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?

  7. #7
    Senior Member Ranger63's Avatar
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    Herniated discs

    I've got two. (Caveat is I get epidural injections every 6 months)
    I cycle on a traditional frame and in 40K of cycling have had NO problems.
    However; I cannot sit in the hammock style Recumbents for 20 min. without serious discomfort.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Corgi View Post
    this past December I herniated a disk in my lower back while playing tennis, went to the ER and they told me to suck it up and go home. It never felt quite right after that, and then in March I re-herniated it, again while playing tennis. This time they gave me some muscle relaxants and I did the whole physical therapy bit (mainly strengthening core muscles and doing stretches). Problem is I can still feel that it's "off," by this point I've conceded that it is never going to be 100% again and I'm sure it is going to herniate again. At only 18 years old, that really sucks.
    Have you had an MRI to confirm injury? There are many different treatments for back pain, and nerve damage, some require a good deal of time to heal, but your indication, return to same activity cause same condition, indicates what ever you did corrected the the symptoms, but not the cause.

    Poor posture, weak muscle groups, and poor posture, can lend to back ailments masking a herniated disk.

    A close friend suffered back pain and problems all is life, learned recently a cracked/broken rib, that likely was result of childhood fall, that was never realigned was causing his issues, as he was always leaning shoulders different direction than hips. Ortho doctor observed and treated.

    I would seek other opinion. 18 is young.

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