So I go to the back doctor...
And I'm alot worse off than I thought! I've had lower back pain most of my life, but lately a few hours in the saddle has really been painful. I've tried all the stretches, most all OTC pain pills, yada, yada. Plus, I'm an auto mechanic by trade, so that certainly doesn't help matters; leaning over the hood for long periods, bending, flexing, & being on my feet for 8 hours a day. I decided to call the ortho office that did my knee, & set up an appointment for this morning.
I get there, talk to the doc, & give her my run down. So, we do the xrays next. The last time I had an xray, they were printed on a film - pretty cool that now they're a jpeg!My spine looks like Hulk Hogan got ahold of me for a while. Geez. I definitely have Scoliosis; she pointed that out from the xray. But I also have an issue in the L3 area, where it's almost bone on bone. I have an MRI ordered for next week, & she'll give me another update when she gets the films.
She pointed out that I probably won't need surgery, but the MRI will be the judge of that. She did mention spinal decompression may help. My question is, has anyone else been thru this? Did it help? Hinder? Will I need a longer headtube from being stretched out? Thanks all!
Last edited by Philcycle; 01-24-08 at 08:13 PM.
Fattest Thin Man
I've been a mechanic for most of my life too. I think being on the concrete floors all the time is worse than the bending over. Now I've got arthritis in my lower back.
About the only thing that gave me relief was the traction machine at PT. Unfortunately, this was not covered by insurance, and was quite a ways away from home. (and not an easy ride by bike) The relief was also pretty temporary, lasting maybe most of a day.
So I did some brainstorming and figured that an inversion table would be about the same for my back as the traction machine at PT, and picked one up. Works great. Any time I get a flare up, I hop on the table for immediate relief. If it's chronic, the table gets used 2-3 times a day. After about a week to 10 days of regular use, my back is like new. Being in shape and losing the extra weight helps too.
Unfortunately, I also have neck problems, and the inversion table doesn't do much for the neck as my head (my head is hollow, YMMV) doesn't really weigh enough to stretch the neck out.
But it does wonders for the lower back. The table is also good for inverted situps.
Make sure you get the table though and not the boots. The boots are really difficult to use.
Nice to know I'm not the only one, then. I've tried standing on one of those mats that are supposed to help standing in place for long periods, which doesn't help when your constantly moving! Setting the rack is what gets me the most - I use one of those gardening knee mats to kneel down on every time! Everyone else laughs, but it does help. I thought about what you're talking about with the table, but now I'm not so sure it will help; the disk is pushing inward, & I don't think stretching out the same direction will be of any benefit. My buddy has an Ab Lounge, & it about kills me to use it!
I just hope this isn't the end of cycling for me, though...
I have a similar issue with my T3-T4 area. I also use an inversion table with some success for pain relief. Functions similar to traction - relieving the pressure on the disk equates with pain relief. There is not alot of scientific data to support traction as an effective treatment but anyone with back pain knows that when the pain is bad, you will try anything.
I would also suggest reading the McKenzie Method regarding back health, stretching, etc. During flair-ups, I fnd the exercises and stretches very effective.
Scoliosis occurs at a very young age, typically between the ages of 5 to 15yrs
and can progress in degree with age. Because of the curvature, (side to side
curving) there is unavoidable 'bone on bone' on the inside of the curve at one
or more levels. There is a great deal of voodoo in the treatment of chronic
back pain and determining the real cause is NOT straight forward. 30% of the
general population has 'herniated discs' and most are completely oblivious to
the fact. Japanese studies with serial MRI scans have documented variations
and regressions of herniated discs over months to a year or so. Surgery for
pain control is the area where the greatest amount of voodoo practice occurs.
The surgeon has little to lose doing surgery and a great deal to gain, the opposite
is frequently true for the patient, especially if any implanted hardware is involved.
Scoliosis repair is best done on teenagers. MRI can be helpful, but frequently
reveal changes that ultimately have no real significance and that chasing after
can do a great deal of damage. You should be aware that bone always heals by
hypertrophy, ie, the chiseled, fractured or otherwise injured bone when healed is
invariably larger than it was before, so hacking away at hypertrophic bone/ligament
calcified complexes that impinge on a nerve root can result in hypertrophic scarring
that replicates 5 years later what was chiseled out or removed initially.