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Riding While Having Sciatica Nerve Inflammation

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Riding While Having Sciatica Nerve Inflammation

Old 06-09-13, 01:37 PM
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BenJones
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Riding While Having Sciatica Nerve Inflammation

Can anyone provide me any info or advice on riding my bike while having moderate sciatica nerve problems? Have had a couple of major train wrecks over the past few years with a horse and an auto accident which has left my back in a mess. I pinched my L5 (degenerative disc) (for the umpteenth time) several weeks ago and have been miserable with pain in the right hip and down the leg. Taking Aleve, ice packs, doing my stretches and core exercises, and on the inversion table every day and it still hurts! I have only ridden a couple of 8 milers in the past couple of weeks- the pain goes away and feels great while I ride and/or walk but within 30 minutes after sitting down the pain starts again. I am 62 years old, overweight and trying to get back in shape but this is definitely hampering a regular schedule of riding. Ride a Giant Sedona DX. Any suggestions appreciated.
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Old 06-09-13, 01:49 PM
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Welcome and you have my sympathy.

Prior to my L4-L5 fusion 2 years ago (all went well and I am doing great) the only relief I would get was in the "stretched out" position of a road bike. My mountain bike hurt because of the upright position, but the road bike position was great.

I am 73yo

YMMV

Good luck

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Old 06-09-13, 02:09 PM
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Never sit on your wallet! That is my only advice for sciatic pain. I know it can take time to dissipate so be patient.
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Old 06-09-13, 02:21 PM
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I've had lower back issues since I was twelve. You're doing everything that has always helped me (NSAIDs, stretching, ice, riding, weight loss). My experience, which may be different from yours, was that keeping the weight off is a huge help. I know that is difficult when your back hurts too much to exercise, but we can always follow Arnold Schwarzenegger's tip: do push-aways, as in push away from the table full of food. I love to eat, but I hate back pain even more than I love food, so I have had to restrict my eating to match my riding (hence my habit of riding very long distances).

My other advice is for you to work on your cadence and keep it above 90 rpm at all times. You can generate the same power with lower peak loads on your lower back by spinning a higher cadence. Do it up hills too.

Oh, one other thing. For me, but maybe not for you, when my back is having an episode, I find that it is best to not do things like inversion tables or stretching until things calm down. Oh, and I don't sit in a chair after a ride. I get on the ground and stretch. YMMV. Good luck.
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Old 06-09-13, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jdon View Post
Never sit on your wallet! That is my only advice for sciatic pain. I know it can take time to dissipate so be patient.
After he discovers n+1, his wallet will be so thin it won't make a difference.
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Old 06-09-13, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by jdon View Post
Never sit on your wallet! That is my only advice for sciatic pain. I know it can take time to dissipate so be patient.
My wallet never caused my Sciatica when I had it. Some have "wallet" sciatica, but mine was cause by a ruptered L4/L5 disc back in 2000(right leg). Last year I developed SI induced Sciatica on the left side(nothing to do with the wallet(in right rear pocket)--PT fixed that. I rode during that time and it didn't interfere(PT cleared me to keep riding). We never really figured out what exactly brought that on, but it wasn't the wallet(my opinion, the PT's opinion, and my doc's opinion). You could try putting the wallet in the front pocket and see how that goes for you though.
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Old 06-09-13, 04:04 PM
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I've had the same issue off and on for 20 years. I need to get an MRI before I have insufficient QALY to merit it, and just git 'er done.
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Old 06-09-13, 04:39 PM
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I have similar, but milder issues. Yes, the wallet is a killer. But fortunately, it's not a problem riding.
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Old 06-10-13, 07:13 AM
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Thanks to all for the advice. My problem is caused by a degenerative disc caused by all of the trauma to my back from the two accidents mentioned in the original above. I wish my problem was just a "fat wallet"! Part of my problem is my "fat a--"! LOL Life has a way of humbling a soul doesn't it?
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Old 06-10-13, 08:15 AM
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I too have degenerated disks in both C and L sections (as do most aging people) and every now and then have sciatic problems. Like Denver above, I get relief in a stretched reach on my road bikes. I also find core strength, or lack thereof, directly impacts sciatic pain. As a long haul pilot (seated 14-17 hours), anything in my pockets can irritate the sciatic nerve. The wallet comment was a joke as that is what my doc first suggested to me. Good luck with it Ben. It is a pain in the ***!
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Old 06-10-13, 09:29 AM
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I don't have these problems, so I disqualify myself from thinking I have your answer. But for me, sitting down after exercise is a real bad idea. I'll typically do a long stretching routine or get active doing something else for a few hours. If I go right from running or biking to a sitting down or laying down position, or driving a car, I will get up with a variety of pains...and they are usually in the hip/back area. If I stop and sit during a ride I try to do some dynamic stretches before riding again, like squats, leg lifts, boxing duck and weaves...that whole area can get as tight as a snare drum, I need to release the tension.
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Old 06-10-13, 10:29 AM
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Like in your other post , invest in a decent suspension seat post.. ala Cane Creek Thudbuster ,
[I have their long travel]
sells a variety of elastomers for rider weight.. up to a max [250#]

there is a short travel model too if bike fit does not leave a lot of seatpost showing..

http://www.canecreek.com/products/seatposts

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Old 06-10-13, 12:02 PM
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I found that my first reaction was to try and sit in a more upright position. So, I raised my handle bars. As it turns out I had much more relieve by lowering the bars and moving the seat back a few mms. It stretched my back more, and that was a good thing.
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Old 06-10-13, 01:20 PM
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Had on-off sciatica for 25 years. Heavy lifting kills me every time but bicycling seems to help almost as much as walking long term. I find flare ups that are even highly visible on an MRI eventually get reabsorbed and settle down as long as I keep moving. I've been taking aleve every day for 10 years (don't recommend). But the hugest miracle I get relief from is ice packs. Pic below is end of day (a bent year) with waist strap holding ice pack against lower back. (Alcohol also helps a lot)



From 07 version of annual WI trip: The "joke" that year was that I was riding a wheelchair and was clearly eligible to take that parking spot.
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Old 06-11-13, 09:59 AM
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I am a 60+ Clydesdale. I have problems with Sciatica as well. Seems to be related to core strength/ lower back stability. When I am having problems with it I favor riding my (hard tail- 26in) mountain bike in a moderate position. I think the biggest relief comes from large tires (2.1-1.9s) at moderate inflation (-10% max inflation) to eliminate the bumps and vibration transmitted to my lower back. I even ride 38mm tires on my cross bike/29er for the same reason. This approach helped me, hope it can work for you.
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Old 06-12-13, 02:02 PM
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Well.....solutions are all pretty personal. Structure from person to person is grossly similar. But by the time a person gets to our age structure is different in detail. With that in mind it might not be a bad idea to get a current medical evaluation including MRI and CT. With those in hand and with the advice of a medical provider whose focus is on keeping you moving you can have a plan. Maybe will include surgery in the near future, maybe in the far distant future, maybe never.

In the meantime, as you mentioned, working on that weight is an excellent idea.
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Old 06-13-13, 09:40 PM
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Great ideas. I have had some problems this week with lower back pain. I am going to gym tomorrow to work on my core strength. I will not over do it.
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Old 06-18-13, 09:55 AM
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Thanks to all for the advice and related problems. At least I know I am not the only one hurting! LOL
BTW called my rehab bro yesterday and as usual he worked me in on a short notice. He checked me out and confirmed my suspicion that I needed an alignment/adjustment. My L-5 was out of alignment and pinching every time I stood up. He worked on me a while and I am feeling better already. He said that I must have pulled down hard and twisted to the right when I originally hurt it this time- sure enough that was the movement that caused the start plus I have injured/irritated it further by mowing/weed eating and pruning every Saturday! Yep, I am my worst enemy! Doc did tell me some great news! The best moderate exercise I can do without further injury to my lower back is mild to moderate biking and then as soon as finishing slap on an ice pack. If any of you ever need rehab call me and I will put you in touch with the best! Dan is highly respected and known as the best rehab center in Boone, NC.
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Old 06-18-13, 10:02 AM
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I am going in for some re-alignment and adjustment today.

I have permanent nerve damage at my L5 and cycling has provided the most pain relief and kept me in the best physical shape possible... standing and walking cause axial loading issues and I cannot do either of these for long.

I have a TENS unit to stimulate my lower back muscles without loading up my back and also use this to block pain.

My doctor and physiotherapist advise that I exploit the good days and by doing this they feel my long term progress has been better than many people who have had surgery (which is not an option in my case).
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Old 06-18-13, 10:16 AM
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I'm allergic to surgery so I've tried to find some other relief. A hot tub helps as does Robax. I think you are correct that you need to get ahold of your weight - especially if it is in your gut area. The other trick is to work as much as you can on your 'core muscles' - which in most cases means your abdominal muscles as the core supporting the spine is difficult to address directly.
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Old 06-18-13, 11:14 AM
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Originally Posted by Mountain Mitch View Post
I'm allergic to surgery so I've tried to find some other relief. A hot tub helps as does Robax. I think you are correct that you need to get ahold of your weight - especially if it is in your gut area. The other trick is to work as much as you can on your 'core muscles' - which in most cases means your abdominal muscles as the core supporting the spine is difficult to address directly.
I wold suggest bridges, planks, pull downs.
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