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Any Advice - Back issue forces me to stop biking.

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Any Advice - Back issue forces me to stop biking.

Old 04-21-13, 10:24 AM
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Any Advice - Back issue forces me to stop biking.

Hello,

Im a clyde in the 290lb area. Ive been biking pretty regularly for a few years now. Usually 50 miles or so per week. Just before christmas I was riding home and I felt a pain at the base of my lower spine (to the left). I rode home and forgot all about the pain as it went away at home. The next day I could not walk. It took two days for the pain to subside and finally I got back on the bike. i switched from a road bike to a hybrid to go easier on my back. The pain would come and go but was more like toothache pain than anything else. Full-forward to last week; Im training for the WA 200-mile ride to Portland this summer. I went on a 30 mile training ride, got home feeling fine and went to bed. Monday morning, same thing, back pain like you wouldnt believe. This AM (Sunday) its still very painful after 6 days.

The pain is at the base of my spine and travels all the way down my left leg. I cant ride - I cant even walk properly. I know this is an internet forum and all advice is taken "as is", but any ideas on relief? I tried the exercises for sciatica but too painful. If I heat the area, the pain subsides for 15 mins or so and then builds up. Im slowly regaining weight-loss as Im now getting zero exercise.

I also cant visit the docs, I had a medical issue last year ($25,000 - $6000 co-pay) and just finished paying the bills. Financially, I cant do that again.

thanks all.
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Old 04-21-13, 12:11 PM
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See if you can find a physical therapist to look you over then. Get a doc to write you a prescription.

I don't know what you expect - you have debilitating pain and won't go see a doctor. Unfortunately, that is the only advice you'll get that's worth a hill of beans.
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Old 04-21-13, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
See if you can find a physical therapist to look you over then. Get a doc to write you a prescription.

I don't know what you expect - you have debilitating pain and won't go see a doctor. Unfortunately, that is the only advice you'll get that's worth a hill of beans.
Its not a case of 'wont' but a case of 'cant'. I just paid-off my last visit to the ER after being hounded by collections all over Christmas. I dont have the $ to visit a doc. Simple as that.

I agree 100% with what you say. Its just not financilly possible right now.
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Old 04-21-13, 12:39 PM
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You might try alternating cold with heat. Probably too soon for back exercises if they hurt.

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Old 04-21-13, 12:55 PM
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I have a lot of sympathy for this, because I suffer with random and sometimes debilitating pain from a diagnosed disc hernia in my lower back as well. I believe my problem stems from an injury sustained when I was in my teens. Every few years, it comes back in a bad way... most recently this morning. Your injury sounds very similar to mine - the pain in your leg would be from the swollen or misplaced cartilage pinching your sciatic nerve. I AM NOT A DOCTOR, SO TAKE THIS AS YOU SEE FIT: 1) Get a diagnosis. I have no insurance, but I had a doctor refer me to a radiology clinic and paid out of pocket. A good x-ray in combination with a couple of in-office tests enabled the doctor to give me a solid diagnosis. 2) Get some serious bed rest, on your back, not your side or your stomach. Don't stretch until you're pain-free - stretching can further exacerbate the problem and lead to longer healing times. If you must stretch, speaking from my personal experience, do leg stretches that don't involve bending over or rotating your lower back. 3) Take ibuprofen regularly throughout the day. This isn't for pain, but to reduce swelling and increase blood flow. Follow the bottle instructions unless you can speak with a doctor, who may advise taking more than the "recommended" dose. I only say this because the doctor I went to advised just that, and it helped, but you've got to get a professional opinion. 4) Once the pain is manageable, rather than debilitating, walking helps. Take it easy, but get your muscles moving again.

I'm only saying all this because it worked for me and you sound like you're in a similar situation. At the very least get a diagnosis. Don't push yourself! I feel your pain. Good luck.
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Old 04-21-13, 01:28 PM
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OP, You have a medical problem.

Not a bicycle problem.
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Old 04-21-13, 02:12 PM
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This is not medical advice, but you wanted something other than go see the doc.

I have two pieces of advice. Get serious about losing weight, or get serious about dealing with back issues. You have been riding for two years and are still at 290.

I found once I got and stayed below 240 (at 6'5") my back issues more or less went away.

Get serious about core work and stretching. Nothing better to help the back while riding than good core work, and flexibility. Plenty of how to's for cycling on the interwebs.

Make sure your fit on the bike is good....upright alone is not a fit, proper seat seat back, height, etc coupled with stem length...again if cash is an issue there are plenty of decent fit articles with some rules of thumb on the interwebs.

I am not saying at all you dont need medical treatment, however, since it has come and gone, I think its at least reasonable that you could improve your condition with what I wrote above.
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Old 04-21-13, 07:36 PM
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Thanks vesteroid,gold and 'Father. Good information from you. I fully admit my eating isnt the best and Ive kind of used the biking to reward myself to eat stuff I shouldnt.

It looks like Im going to pull out of the 200 mile ride in July. Its over 2 days but at my weight and my back pain Im concerned that Im going to do some permanent damge.

I sat with a hot pad on my back for all of today and Iv just gone for a walk around the yard with much less pain than the previous days.

I may switch my 'training' to eating better and smaller portions and sticking to 20 mile rides until the weight drops. I think any 40+ mile training rides while in the 260+lbs is going to be a problem.

Perhaps, this plan will get me on the road to a healthier 'me' instead of obsessing on long-distance riding training. Might be time to get backto riding for the sake of it instead of riding to reward myself - with garbage calories.

Thanks everyone.

Last edited by JackoDandy; 04-21-13 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 04-21-13, 08:03 PM
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Depending (a lot) on the exact type of back problems you are having, a recumbent bicycle may be an option for you.
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Old 04-21-13, 08:18 PM
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I don't know what kind of work you do but if you are a chair bound desk warrior something else to consider is your office chair. I used to have back pain all the time (lower back stiffness, nothing like what you describe) and between getting fitter and buying a really nice office chair I haven't had a lick of back pain in 2-3 years. It used to lay me low about 1 week out of the year, so I'm pretty happy to be off that program.
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Old 04-21-13, 09:44 PM
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Originally Posted by TrojanHorse
I don't know what kind of work you do but if you are a chair bound desk warrior something else to consider is your office chair. I used to have back pain all the time (lower back stiffness, nothing like what you describe) and between getting fitter and buying a really nice office chair I haven't had a lick of back pain in 2-3 years. It used to lay me low about 1 week out of the year, so I'm pretty happy to be off that program.
I am a cubicle guy. Thanks for the tip on a switch of chairs. I will try a diff chair tomorrow.

BTW - I just requested a refund on my reg fees for the 200 mile ride Always next year I guess when Im 50lbs thinner
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Old 04-21-13, 10:00 PM
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You need to increase your core strength. Get onto youtube and look at the "roman chair" exercise. Also look at sit-ups.
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Old 04-21-13, 11:13 PM
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Originally Posted by 009jim
You need to increase your core strength. Get onto youtube and look at the "roman chair" exercise. Also look at sit-ups.
I wholeheartedly agree that core strength and general fitness are very important for maintaining a pain-free lower back. But if the OP has a similar injury to mine, certain exercises (like situps) may have the potential to do more harm than good. I've had serious back-pain flareups due to exercise. Situps and crunches are poor options for me. I find that the best way to work on my core is with leg lifts and other moves that keep strain off the back. A physical therapist would be very helpful. Especially while healing, rest is essential.
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Old 04-22-13, 08:11 AM
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Originally Posted by JackoDandy
Hello,

Im a clyde in the 290lb area. Ive been biking pretty regularly for a few years now. Usually 50 miles or so per week. Just before christmas I was riding home and I felt a pain at the base of my lower spine (to the left). I rode home and forgot all about the pain as it went away at home. The next day I could not walk. It took two days for the pain to subside and finally I got back on the bike. i switched from a road bike to a hybrid to go easier on my back. The pain would come and go but was more like toothache pain than anything else. Full-forward to last week; Im training for the WA 200-mile ride to Portland this summer. I went on a 30 mile training ride, got home feeling fine and went to bed. Monday morning, same thing, back pain like you wouldnt believe. This AM (Sunday) its still very painful after 6 days.

The pain is at the base of my spine and travels all the way down my left leg. I cant ride - I cant even walk properly. I know this is an internet forum and all advice is taken "as is", but any ideas on relief? I tried the exercises for sciatica but too painful. If I heat the area, the pain subsides for 15 mins or so and then builds up. Im slowly regaining weight-loss as Im now getting zero exercise.

I also cant visit the docs, I had a medical issue last year ($25,000 - $6000 co-pay) and just finished paying the bills. Financially, I cant do that again.

thanks all.
What you have is a slipped disk in your spine. if you have a chriopracter re-adjust if back into place your pain will go away.

If you leave it untreated you risk permanent nerve damaging paralysis of the injured side. I kid you not!!
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Old 04-22-13, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels
OP, You have a medical problem.

Not a bicycle problem.
+1.

OP: If you are not willing to spend the money to possibly prevent permanent and/or more serious problems that could end up costing you far more money in the long run, I would at least take that refunded registration fee and try to see a physical or massage therapist why might show you some exercises and stretches, such as bridges, that might relieve the pain. At least Google something like "stretches for lower back pain."

When sitting at your desk, make sure your back is not below your thighs. Sit straight, not contorted. Never sit back with your feet on your desk like a tycoon of industry. I am quite fond of doing that, but it causes havoc with my bulging discs.
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Old 04-22-13, 08:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Nightshade
What you have is a slipped disk in your spine. if you have a chriopracter re-adjust if back into place your pain will go away.

If you leave it untreated you risk permanent nerve damaging paralysis of the injured side. I kid you not!!
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
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Old 04-22-13, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Thanks 'infay' and 'night'. I agree - its probably a disc issue. Unfortunately, the $70 refund and visiting a chiropractor would be like throwing a deckchair off the titanic. I just cant afford another major medical visit. Im not unwilling, I just cant afford it as Im still paying off last years medical escapapde.
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Old 04-22-13, 01:11 PM
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You didn't state your age. You didn't state your general physical health (it seems poor). You didn't state what type of bike you ride and what type of riding you do. You have no idea what is wrong with you or how the injury (if an injury) was caused. So the advice offered is like the question asked... vague and most likely useless.

Anywho, if you are over 40 years of age, and have been heavy for a long period of time, you most likely are suffering from one sort of degenerate disc disease. We all have it or will get it. It's a normal part of aging and can be aggravated by being overweight. If you refuse to get help and cannot do any movement, then seriously dude, you need to stop eating and lose weight through a reduction of calories. I am hearing alot of excuses for this and that... I have not only a bad back (degenerative disease and arthritis plus a cyst) but a bad hip and weak knees and still I move everyday. I just work through the pain. Aleve and heat pads are my best friends.

Now if you think it's an injury and acute, then take Aleve and Tylenol, use heat and rest until pain goes away. If this is a chronic issue, then learn to deal with it. Take medication, use heat and do your stretching exercises. Stretching is suppose to hurt. Stay away from chiropractors - if you can't afford a real doctor don't waste money on a quasi doctor.

And frankly the only time my back doesn't hurt (it hurts now as I sit typing this) is when I am riding. I would go back to the road bike as the Hybrid maybe the cause - a more upright position puts more pressure on your spine. A road bike geometry is like doing stretching exercises and is better for bad discs... it take the pressure off. My ortho has recommended riding and he's right.

I AM NOT A DOCTOR nor should my advice be taken seriously. If the pain is debilitating and keeping you from exercise, then save money up and go see a doctor. It doesn't cost that much (do you have a Smart phone and expensive data plan, cable TV, expensive car - if so, drop those and save the money for important things like medical problems). It's better to hurt now in the wallet then have greater health risks later on because of weight gain and lack of exercise.

Sorry for not being that encouraging but sometimes a slap in the face is a form of encouragement! If you were overtraining then slow down and come back gradually, make sure position on your bike is perfect and make sure after riding, you stretch and take some Aleve to avoid swelling and inflammation.
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Old 04-22-13, 02:02 PM
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Originally Posted by JackoDandy
Thanks 'infay' and 'night'. I agree - its probably a disc issue. Unfortunately, the $70 refund and visiting a chiropractor would be like throwing a deckchair off the titanic. I just cant afford another major medical visit. Im not unwilling, I just cant afford it as Im still paying off last years medical escapapde.
How so? You might benefit a lot from one visit. It may cost you a little more than $70, but it could also prevent a trip to the emergency room and subsequent treatment when, for example, you can no longer control your bowels and/or bladder due to nerve damage or when the pain causes you to fall down the stairs and break something. And you earlier said you have already paid that off. I really think you are playing with fire and likely to cause yourself more financial pain in the long run. But suit yourself.
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Old 04-22-13, 04:48 PM
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First off, very sorry to hear about your condition(s), health wise with the back, and financially.

If you've been riding regularly for some time, and the pain is a recent thing and asymmetric, then it's not likely cycling induced, and then that probably means, it's caused by something else. Pinched back nerve, ruptured disc perhaps, even a kidney stone. Whatever it is, we're all just guessing and really, the only solution you have is to go see a good doctor and get a good diagnosis. They're going to have to do some exams, and likely blood work and maybe some xrag/CT/MRI scans. It's going to cost money for sure. But what is your health worth? It's priceless. Given a choice of health or money, I'd pick health over money.

I think you already know what you need to do, and most folks have suggested the correct course of action - go see a doctor and get it checked out. I'm in agreement with all those folks. Please take care!
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Old 04-22-13, 05:33 PM
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I hate to put too fine a point on it, but not seeing a doctor is kind of like this knight saying "It's just a flesh wound."

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Old 04-22-13, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Pamestique
Stay away from chiropractors - if you can't afford a real doctor don't waste money on a quasi doctor.
Quoting for emphasis.
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Old 04-22-13, 08:32 PM
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Screw the money, go so a qualified doctor. I would consider streamlining it and going right to a highly recommended sports physical therapist to start.
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Old 04-22-13, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by goldfinch
Quoting for emphasis.

i am sorry, but I completely disagree with the concept chiropractors are quacks.

Some are, beyond a shadow of a doubt. Some however are not.

When I was heavy, I hurt my back about once a year or so. I would be in such pain that I couldn't stand, or sit. Laying down was about a 50% relief. One time on about the second day of suffering at work, my boss forced me to go see his chiropractor. In one session I could tell a difference. In 3, it was night and day. What made him good, was the fact that after the third visit, he looked me in the eye and told me not to come back, he had done all he could. If I got hurt again, call him, but otherwise I was done.

When I moved cross country, I hurt it again, and went to find one here. This guy tried to get me on 3 days a week, for 3 months....he wanted to xray and measure, and what not. I left after the second session of trying to milk both myself and my insurance dry.

Not all these guys are bad, and the right one can make an enormous difference.
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Old 04-22-13, 08:50 PM
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Thank you all for your concerns and advice. Im in my late 40's and I think fairly fit. Ive been biking for some time and can 'easily' knock out 30-40 mile rides, even in the 290lbs.

Pam, I appreciate your thoughts - sounds like we are in similar situations - age and pain etc.

I really do "get" that I should see a doctor - I really do. I just cant afford it. Let's be honest, we are not talking about a $100 or so, in my experience any kind of visit leads to bloodwork, tests, x-rays etc and my deductable is $2500. I cant afford $2500. I had collections calling me day and night for the remainder of the $6000 I owed from last fall. I paid it, but paid it using credit cards etc - so I havent really 'paid' it yet.

I have a princess (my daughter) that will always come first. She needs clothes, shoes and a safe,warm home to live in. I cant justify going into debt when we have just spent 6 months and a 'tough christmas' to handle debt form last years procedure. I know she also needs a dad but as dads do, I will roll the dice so that she gets what she needs and cross my fingers that its nothing serious. If its my back or her shoes there's no contest.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for your concerns. Today the pain has subsided and Im back to a dull-ache at the base of my spine. Its still painful and showering this AM was a challenge. Interesting thoughts about the riding position of a road bike vs a hybrid. This pain began just after I bought the hybrid.

Thanks again.

Last edited by JackoDandy; 04-22-13 at 08:57 PM.
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