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Old 08-26-20, 08:43 PM
just another gosling
Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Everett, WA
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Bikes: CoMo Speedster 2003, Trek 5200, CAAD 9, Fred 2004

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I'm 75. Normally I've kept my back pain in check by riding lots and working the heck out of my back at the gym. Enter Covid. Since there weren't any events or group rides to train for, I decided to get a saddle sore fixed which I've had for years. Unfortunately, the dermatologist misdiagnosed and mattreated it, hamburgered my butt so that I've been off my bike since May. And my gym closed of course. I started running to try to stay in some sort of shape, but after a month of that - sciatica! Bad, like paralyzing, shooting pain, the whole thing. I found some stretches which helped a lot, and an opioid a few times when I couldn't sleep for the pain.

Anyway, after a couple weeks of stretching, it eased off enough that I could walk. I took up walking full tilt boogie, like I do everything, walking 3-5 miles most days. I developed a method of walking with major 360 hip rotation on each side. That hip movement is fixing my sciatica, like magic. My doctor ordered an MRI for me. So there are 2 causes of sciatica, inflammation and structure. Either thing can mess with the nerve and cause pain. My case is structural, no inflammation. I have a slightly bulged disc which is pressing on the nerve. I have no idea why my walking makes the pain go away but it does.

Back to the subject of this thread. I'm anxious to get back to cycling again! I have a 10-day backpack with my wife coming up next week, 52 lb. pack for me, 42 for my wife. We've been training with day hikes and weekend backpacks besides the frequent neighborhood walks. I think I'll be fine on it, just getting really tired. We'll take a PLB with us just in case we need a helicopter to take the body(ies) out.

But seriously, we'll start riding again when we come back from our backpack. My guess is that I won't have any trouble on the bikes, single or tandem. I think position is key. I rotate my pelvis forward so that my back is straight from shorts top to neck. Other than that, back strength is really important to keep one's spine in line and free of inflammation from overwork. Thus I've been a gym member since 1979 and as I said, I focus on back work. We don't have a gym now, so I've purchased two sets of dumbbells from Amazon and we're using those, which is working well enough.

I should add that there are no clinical trials which show that chiropractic does anything for sciatica in spite of their claims of efficacy. There was one patient who has been written up who obtained some relief after 60 sessions over a period of 45 weeks. I think sciatica is something one has to deal with. First thing is to get an MRI, find out what the problem is. Second thing is to try exercises to see what makes you feel better and your core stronger. Almost every morning, I do this routine:

I start with these stretches: IT Band pain (during ride)
Then I do McKenzie Method stretches:
These ones, holding each stretch for a count of 100:

Then I do one set of pushups to exhaustion, currently 30.
Then I plank for 2 minutes.
Then I do these six special sciatica stretches, which are easier to do after doing the above:

This all takes about 30 minutes, time well spent.
Results matter
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