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-   -   Anyone riding with pinched/inflamed nerves (neck and/or back)? (https://www.bikeforums.net/general-cycling-discussion/1035976-anyone-riding-pinched-inflamed-nerves-neck-back.html)

Hardrock23 10-25-15 10:59 AM

Anyone riding with pinched/inflamed nerves (neck and/or back)?
 
I just started riding in the summer but iv had issues with the nerves in my lower back and my neck for a couple years. I never considered this when starting to ride again though, and didnt think about it until my leg gave out on me again the other day.

My neck is worse/constant but im starting treatment soon for that. But its still up in the air about my lower back. I mentioned i started riding during my last appt but my doctor didnt comment on it either way. Ill be asking right out this week though when i go in.

Anyway, im just wondering if those who have the same/similar issues have noticed, or know, if riding can generally help or make it worse?

hueyhoolihan 10-25-15 12:46 PM

my trapezius muscles always hurt after about 40 miles. as do my piriformis mucscles and sometimes my knees. i live with it. when it bothers me too much, i take some ibuprofen and/or lay off the mileage for a few days.

i figure, at my age, i'll be dead in about 20 years :), so i'm willing to suffer a little bit until then...

Doctor Morbius 10-25-15 01:04 PM

I have problems with my lower back which cause my legs to go numb after standing for about 5 minutes. Oddly enough, riding a bike or sitting doesn't put any pressure on the affected area. That's the good part. The bad part is my neck will hurt pretty bad if I ride for too long. I keep my rides to about 45 minutes to minimize the problem.

RonH 10-25-15 01:10 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I was diagnosed with lumber spinal stenosis this past summer. My spine doc, who is a keen cyclist :thumb:, said my 2015 Cannondale SuperSix EVO carbon did not offer as comfortable a ride as my back needed so he suggested I sell it and get a nicer bike. I took his advice and picked up a 2014 demo bike, a Cannondale SuperSix EVO Hi-Mod Team bike. Way more comfortable than the 2015.
He said a so-called comfort bike (sitting upright, hybrid) was the exact opposite of what I needed. Riding leaned over on my road bikes stretches out my spine and relaxes the "squeezing" of my nerves in my lower back. :)
Here's my doctor-recommended "comfort bike". :thumb:

http://bikeforums.net/attachment.php...hmentid=484429

Hyperventilate 10-25-15 01:27 PM

Had a little accident a while back. Two neck operations later were a number of vertebrae were fused I bought a hybrid and start cycling. Every time I cycled my hands would go numb and I would develop a migraine, all within a 100 meters of my starting point!

So on the advice of my doctor I started rowing to strengthen my shoulder and neck muscles and got a bike similar to RonH.
It works, now I do 2 to 3 hour routes without any pain.

FBOATSB 10-25-15 05:38 PM


Originally Posted by Hardrock23 (Post 18269159)
I just started riding in the summer but iv had issues with the nerves in my lower back and my neck for a couple years. I never considered this when starting to ride again though, and didnt think about it until my leg gave out on me again the other day.

My neck is worse/constant but im starting treatment soon for that. But its still up in the air about my lower back. I mentioned i started riding during my last appt but my doctor didnt comment on it either way. Ill be asking right out this week though when i go in.

Anyway, im just wondering if those who have the same/similar issues have noticed, or know, if riding can generally help or make it worse?

Hi hardrock, when I read about your leg "giving out" on you I had to chime in. When my leg "gave out" on me, last year, I had spinal fusion surgery 30 days later! But sounds like you're not ignoring that. To address your question, you might have take some "healing time" off the bike after whatever your treatment is. Work with your doctor and I presume you will be going to a physical therapist also so you can work riding into that. You might have to change riding style and duration for a while also. I couldn't ride with drop bars after my surgery and had to change my bike to upright bars. Next year I should be able to change back to the drop bars. Good luck and keep posting with your progress!

rideorglide 10-25-15 06:08 PM

Yes, I've had some major neck herniations (C-5,6,7 and some issues with T1, plus numeros other cervical bulges and degenerate discs) over the last 10 years, and still have residual effects from pinched nerves in the neck. also some nerve issues in the legs, but not as painful or debilitating.

It has kept me off the bike for periods of up to a year and a quarter of physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractor, meds, whatever it took to get well. Probably missed at different times, 3 years of cycling out of the last 10 due to cervical nerve issues, over 4 different episodes.

At worst it was a 9/10 constant day in day out pain in the arm, shoulder, biceps, triceps, hand, index and middle fingers and thumb. Numbness, burning, and constant muscle spasm like my biceps and triceps was locked in a tightened C-Clamp ... Neck muscles were the first to de-spasm, but the nerve affected all of the above, plus pectoral and upper back.

I am still not symptom free (last epodes was 2 years ago I can no longer surf without major risk, the prone position aggravates it but I can ride so I am immensely thankful for that.

Long and the short of it, I am limited to about 1.25 to 1.5 hour rides max. I avoid cycling in the drops for extended periods.

02Giant 10-25-15 06:50 PM

I think I have a sciatica issue with my lower back/left leg. Staying off of the bike helps keep the pain away but is difficult to do. I need to get in to my Doctor to have it checked out.

JohnDThompson 10-25-15 07:04 PM

I had a problem this summer that kept me off my bike for the entire month of July. Arthritis in my spine impinged on my right ulnar nerve to the point where I was unable to ride my bike. A few weeks off the bike and a couple months of physical therapy seems to have set things right again, now.

Gresp15C 10-25-15 09:41 PM

I have had a couple of episodes where a pinched nerve in my neck caused some numbness and pain in my arm and wrists. A trip to the doctor confirmed the root cause, and a physical therapist got me straightened out both times.

Oddly enough I chose a primary care doctor on the advice of a friend, and learned that his specialty was sports medicine. I wondered: Why the hell do I need a sports doctor? Then I turned 40. ;)

I don't race, so I'm willing to modify my bike to accommodate this issue. I bought a longer stem and put it on the bike while my neck was getting better, and I don't ride drop bar bikes any more. Since then I have lowered the stem again, but have stuck with swept handlebars. I don't want the condition to come back, and I find a higher posture to be a lot more comfortable. And I'd rather ride something that looks funny than give up riding altogether.

Doctor Morbius 10-25-15 10:04 PM


Originally Posted by Gresp15C (Post 18270311)
I have had a couple of episodes where a pinched nerve in my neck caused some numbness and pain in my arm and wrists. A trip to the doctor confirmed the root cause, and a physical therapist got me straightened out both times.

I had numbness and pain in my hands and my regular doctor thought it was due to cervical compression. My cervical MRI looks terrible. I went to a specialist who did some kind of test (can't remember the name) where they stuck a lot of very small needles in my arms and legs to check the communication of the nerves. Turned out to be carpal tunnel in both wrists. In the last year I've had 2 carpal tunnel surgeries and the hands have vastly improved.

canklecat 10-25-15 10:11 PM

Splintered C2 vertebrae from a car wreck 14 years ago, along with half a dozen simple vertebrae fractures from the thoracic region to the hip. Frequent severe headaches, neck and shoulder spasms. August was the most painful month I've had since the first year after the wreck, with only three days relatively free of pain.

All that before I resumed cycling again the last weekend of August. I figured it couldn't possibly be any worse. Bought a comfort bike with upright riding position to avoid craning my neck.

Only made it one mile the first ride before nearly passing out from exhaustion. Worked up to 3-5 miles over the next couple of weeks. Going on seven weeks now, and just finished a rambling 15-20 mile ride this afternoon (I don't keep track, just estimate from Google maps).

Best I've felt in years. And taking less OTC ibuprofen daily, and far less prescription pain meds and muscle relaxers - from almost daily in August to once or twice the past few weeks. Endorphins? Post-middle age delusions? Dunno, don't care, feels good. Sure, still have daily aches, but on a 1-10 scale it's down from 8-9 level to 3-5, nearly continuous but tolerable.

I'll never be comfortable again with drop bars, but might gradually reduce the height of my bars (currently a few inches above saddle height). Mostly I just cruise for comfort, errands and a few pleasure rides. Don't care about speed, other than scurrying across a few tricky intersections as quickly as possible.

YogaKat 10-25-15 10:31 PM

I've been in multiple car accidents - not my fault, most happened with people running red lights and one was a complete rollover in air. Scary as hell and painful months/years ahead. Bulging discs here. (Thanks a lot Dallas, TX traffic!)

I did all the physical therapy, etc until released but those are injuries that stay with you. I did find that yoga was an amazing reliever. I traded chiropractic treatments in for yoga practice. Something to take note of is that it is wise to go slow as to not injure further. I prefer Vinyasa style as it's very slow, relaxing and core building.

With all that being said, please consult your doctor first. This is only my personal experience.

Hardrock23 10-26-15 01:02 AM

Thank you all for your replies!

I bought a 95 Specialized Hardrock Sport for my first "real" bike and turned it into a hybrid. Im still pretty upright, but not as much as i was on my previous MTB. Im still working on the fit but its pretty much right. Since fixing the fit issues, i havent had any pain while or after riding, thankfully...but, i did just buy this bike about a month ago so we'll see, as I ride more/longer. I did want to go with a road bike with drop bars but i wasnt quite comfortable with that yet.

I had known about my lower back problems for awhile, but it comes and goes depending on how much im in the car, and the like, so i try to switch things up and take it easy to avoid what i can. My doctor recently noticed how crooked my head/neck was when i was speaking with her one day and saw how inflamed it was and asked to check it, and if i was having migraines and pain in my jaw, neck, shoulder, and arm - I always had terrible pain and migraines. I assumed it was my muscles and that stretching would fix it eventually so i didnt bring it up (not knowing migraines were related). She doesnt like doing surgery right off the bat though - she is going to do a years worth of injections first. Im only 26! She said its most likely from a car accident i was involved in - as a passenger, my head was slammed sideways into the window when our car was t-boned or whatever.

Anyway, so far i havent noticed an increase in pain in my neck except for one day since having this bike. It only lasted a day and i figured it was a flare up or something. I never thought about it when it came to riding - i searched this site and found someone had said that riding helped them, but that was all. It was somewhat unrelated to the OP so i thought i would ask!

I definitely have more questions now that i can ask my doctor this week! Thank you for sharing!

Needles 10-26-15 08:56 AM

Acupuncture.

no motor? 10-26-15 11:32 AM

My neck and upper back issues respond well to chiropractic care and adjusting the handlebars to fit me better. I had the same problem while motorcycling, and I've been able to avoid needing to see anyone with less training than my chiropractor for care of these issues. YMMV.

delcrossv 10-26-15 12:19 PM

Umm. Recumbent?

ooga-booga 10-26-15 09:13 PM

lower back bulging disc which has been (knock on wood) remarkably in remission the last 6 years. did miss out on 10 days of riding in september
though. being on the bike feels better when the back flares up once or twice a year even when doing ridiculous hc climbs/5,000 ft + elevation gained
regardless of pushing a small or large gear. when the back is in a really funky place, there have been times when i've literally collapsed after getting
off the bike however. that said, i've been doing more climbing, longer rides and crazier stuff in the last 4 years. the back problem first appeared 15 years ago.
i'm 47 and riding 6,000+ miles with approx 400,000 ft gained yearly the last few years. my biggest adversary is physical inactivity: sleeping in,
watching too many movies, etc and not riding. back tends to get stiff laying around. i treat with ice packs for 3-4 days when i get flare ups (spasms or nearly so).


have never had it but i understand neck pain is zero fun. have had some back spasm/pain episode where i was afraid to blink my eyelids and coughing or sneezing
would trigger a new round of back spasms. apparently, neck pain is even worse. at one point, i was going to a chiropractor 3x a week + stretching an hour a day
(20 mins after waking up, 20 mins here and there during the day and 20 mins before bed) but nothing helped as well as a new memory foam mattress.
i rarely stretch my back anymore. best wishes.

Hardrock23 10-28-15 11:41 AM

Thank you for the replies! Sorry i'm late! Aside from these injections, i think i will look into a chiropractor also, as many of you have...Actually, maybe i should do this first to see if i even will need the injections.

So far, i havent noticed riding making anything worse...what gets me is being in the car, or in bed, for too long!

canklecat 10-28-15 01:51 PM


Originally Posted by Hardrock23 (Post 18276899)
So far, i havent noticed riding making anything worse...what gets me is being in the car, or in bed, for too long!

Ditto, even trying to sleep a full 8 hours in one stretch usually results in at least a dull headache and neck/back ache. Often I'll sleep a few hours, sit up and read or putter an hour or so, then go back to bed for a couple of hours.

I use a lot of muscle rubs on my neck and shoulders. Helps me, but be careful with the stuff containing salicylates - some folks can react badly, especially when exercising. In rare cases folks can go into shock or develop symptoms comparable to Reye's Syndrome. With the stuff containing menthol and other ingredients, usually the worst that might happen is some skin irritation from using it just before exercising.

I found only one chiropractor whom I'd trust to make neck adjustments, but we're no longer in the same area so I don't use chiropractors anymore. I'm a bit skeptical about the voodoo associated with "alignment", acupuncture, etc. But the massage and joint popping felt good, so that was good enough for me.

Like you, I've been surprised that bike riding hasn't aggravated the neck/back pain or headaches. But I'm attributing some of that to choosing an upright bike position. Years ago, even before the car wreck that busted up my back and neck, I'd get migraines during long rides, especially if I used the drop bars too much. Apparently craning my neck for too long pinched some nerves, interfered with blood flow or both. Hard to tell because migraines are often associated with serotonin imbalances too, and may be independent of anything we do physically.

Speaking of which, melatonin and valerian root may help with some migraine episodes. Probably best to avoid before riding if these make you very drowsy. But to help treat migraines, especially during the aura or early warning stage, they're worth a try. Both seem to have beneficial effects on the serotonin balance, although the research is sketchy. Works for me, though. I haven't needed to take valproic acid or Welbutrin as migraine-preventive prophylactic meds for years.

Nachoman 10-28-15 07:25 PM

A cycling accident a couple weeks ago has kept me off the bike. I'm currently suffering with a very limited range of motion in my neck. I just started PT yesterday and I'm hoping to get back to it within six to eight weeks. If PT doesn't improve my situation, I'll try anything.

ooga-booga 10-29-15 01:19 AM


Originally Posted by Nachoman (Post 18278048)
A cycling accident a couple weeks ago has kept me off the bike. I'm currently suffering with a very limited range of motion in my neck. I just started PT yesterday and I'm hoping to get back to it within six to eight weeks. If PT doesn't improve my situation, I'll try anything.

best wishes on the recovery


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