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  1. #1
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    Bulging disk in neck.. any stretches/advice?

    Okay, I realize that you guys are not doctors - which is why I have seen a bunch of them lately. I have three bulging discs (4 mm at the worst point, c4 in my cervical spine - the middle of my neck) that aren't really that serious. The problem originally manifested itself as a terrible muscle spasm, but a chiropractor has had that under control for over a year. The only problem I have is that I can't look straight up; cycling probably doesn't help this. I have my bike setup as neck-friendly as possible and I stay out of the drops as much as possible, and during rides the endorphins kill the pain anyway.

    So my sports & medicine doctor as well as my chiro recommend yoga stretches/exercises to help strengthen my neck and shoulder muscles and take the stress off my spine itself. Does anyone here have any similar problems/solutions? Any exercises that I can do to strength those core neck muscles? I have been doing shoulder shrugs and use home-traction devices on a daily basis, and am about to start taking that.. chondritin? I think it is called, the medicine that supposedly helps restore lost cartilage. I'm only 24 and i refuse to give up the road bike unless this becomes extremely serious, but that doesn't seem to be the case. So basically, I just want to get rid of the last remaining bits of pain. I've had an MRI done and so forth, and have been recommended to a neurosurgeon - but all that surgery could do is remove the bone spur that caused the muscle spasm.. but the chiropractor already fixed that, so I nixed that - seemed too extreme.

    So. Any advice, fellow cyclists? Any links to Yoga pages or stretches that can build these muscles?

  2. #2
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    I had a fusion @ C6/7 in 1999 by a very good spine surgeon. I was back on the bike in 8 weeks. Never had another problem. All things considered, back surgery doesn't get much better than that.

    On the other hand my lumbar fusion did nothing to relieve my pain. So it goes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad View Post
    I had a fusion @ C6/7 in 1999 by a very good spine surgeon. I was back on the bike in 8 weeks. Never had another problem. All things considered, back surgery doesn't get much better than that.

    On the other hand my lumbar fusion did nothing to relieve my pain. So it goes.
    Ooo a Vonnegut quote. You're my hero. I've heard your whole back pain story actually and it has helped inspire me and my neck pain situation, not to mention cycling got me drug-free (opiate addiction)... though ironically they have me on tramadol, which is as weak as opiates get, right now. The pain tends to manifest in my shoulders, which sucks. I try and keep them slack but it seems like the best answer is to work on my arm strength so that I can keep them bent properly and relieve all stress from my shoulders and put it into my biceps/triceps. Right now I cycle every other day and spend the days I'm off the bike stretching and working those muscles that cycling neglects.

  4. #4
    Peloton Dog patentcad's Avatar
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    Neck surgery is higher % than lumbar spine surgery. Unfortunately the higher you go up the neck (mine was C6-7, very common surgery, often very successful) the lousier the odds and the dicier the surgery.

  5. #5
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    I also have 2 disk in my neck fuse. One exploded and the Doc took all the fragments out ; replaced with a disk from the bone bank and fuse
    Any way ; you being so young you would not have seen the Andy in Mayberry where Barny need to pass a physical and he too short. So he get a harness to hang himself ; to make him taller.
    That what I use also; to take pressure of my disk and it work for me.
    As been said upper back surgery is a good thing; lower back is Ivie
    Good Luck and Hang in there
    Jim

  6. #6
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    Last year I had some issues with my upper back (between shoulder blades) that could cause my shoulders to numb. A few chiropractor sessions and exercises to move my shoulders back and down (imagine getting your shoulder blades to touch) solved the problem. I also had a tender spot in my lower back for a few months (due to a couple of nights on a sleeper sofa), and this problem was solved by hanging upside-down for a few minutes nightly using a inverter table.

  7. #7
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    I had a severely ruptured disc in C4/5 back in 1992 and had to have anterior cervical fusion using a bone graft to repair the damage. I also have 3 bulging lumbar discs as well as degenerative disc disease in those discs. I have benefited from stretching, strength training and inversion therapy among other things. Staying active by cycling, running and swimming seems to help a lot as well.

    The ABSOLUTE #1 thing I can recommend to you is to work closely with a reputable and skilled PHYSICAL THERAPIST. They can identify tight muscles in other areas that can exacerbate your neck symptoms. They also know how to treat those areas with tissue work and or stretching and exercise. You should be very careful with your neck! The last thing you want is to turn a bulge into a Herniation/Rupture. In my opinion doing shoulder shrugs for example would be the last thing I would recommend doing. That exercise creates a compression effect in the cervical spine which is not advisable in my opinion. I guess if you use extremely light weight it might be OK, but that is why you need a professional to evaluate these things for you. It's not worth the risk if you ask me. For me cycling helps keep my neck strong and limber. I am careful not to extend my neck to severely when looking up and ahead from the dropped position. Other than that I don't seem to have any problems from cycling. I sympathize with your situation and hope this helps.
    "How are you going to keep them down on the farm once they've seen Karl Hungus?" JL

  8. #8
    mamafitz RoadToNowhere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wirelessness View Post
    Staying active by cycling, running and swimming seems to help a lot as well.

    The ABSOLUTE #1 thing I can recommend to you is to work closely with a reputable and skilled PHYSICAL THERAPIST. They can identify tight muscles in other areas that can exacerbate your neck symptoms. They also know how to treat those areas with tissue work and or stretching and exercise. You should be very careful with your neck! .
    There it is.

    You're young. Don't mess around with this. I know.

    The best advice is to listen to the people who are telling you to seek out a solid PT and docs who support the active lifestyle you want to lead and not just their own course of treatment.

    Beth

  9. #9
    Certified Train Wreck mloywhite's Avatar
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    I've had three different anterior cervical discectomys with fusions (not to mention four shoulder surgeries and brain surgery) all since Bush was elected . I would discuss what types of stretching your MD suggests, and get him to send you to a good physical therapist to help you figure out what works best for you. I have had any number of stretches prescribed over the years, but some exercises made my neck hurt a lot worse. You should certainly be able to get over it and ride, but you may need a little shorter stem or to flip it up. Good luck with it.

  10. #10
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    I had been having neck problems in the cervical area for several years-traction/pt etc. Finally C6-7 ruptured and I had a Prestige Artificial Cervical disc put in with good success. Also, C5-6 has been bulging during the same period and symptoms come and go. I have been riding and do fine as long as I stay out of the drops for the most part and i had my bike setup changed to be neck friendly. The neurosurgeon said riding in the drops, looking to the sky and lifting anything over my head could be a real problem. Stretching and lifting weights seems to be trial & error. I would also agree with wirelessness. Good luck

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