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Biking and back problem

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Old 03-27-18, 02:46 PM
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DougG
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Biking and back problem

Well, today I'm suffering another bout of a very sore lower back -- the kind where it's getting up from a sitting position that is really painful. This has happened occasionally for a long time, but recently it's been getting much more frequent. I've never been able to pin it to anything that I've done, except a couple times when it happened after I had been lifting or carrying something heavy, which I make a point never to do any more.

Anyway, it started yesterday a few hours after a morning run. I've thought that running might cause it, but last week I went out for two good runs and my back was fine afterward. Just hard to figure out, but I'm thinking of winding my running down even more than I have just in case...

Anyway, I can probably do without running as long as I'm able to keep cycling, but am not sure about any relationship to back problems. I did get a sore back on the 4th or 5th day of a tour a few years ago, but that was only after doing a lot of tough climbs, and biking has not seemed to bother me otherwise. Anyone have any experience in this area? Given where I ride, biking won't give me quite the workout that running always has, but at 71 I'd still like to stay active for as long as possible!
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Old 03-27-18, 03:39 PM
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Sorry to hear this.
I learned in June 2015 that I have lumber spinal stenosis. Running is not good if you have SS. My spine doc (who is also an avid cyclist) said that riding a GOOD road bike (leaning over the drop bars) is one of the best exercises for my back. He told me the Litespeed was an excellent bike for my back but the $2500 CF bike I had at the time was not good. He said it was "low quality" carbon. So I got the super expensive Cannondale bike I've had since Oct 2015.
Have you visited a spine doc for a check up or consultation?
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Old 03-27-18, 04:11 PM
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I am not going to tell you what is wrong with you, I am not a doctor. I can say that as people age, muscles get weaker (atrophy) start to have back issues. I use to have to ride with an upright position on my road bike because of weak back/ hip muscles. For the last year and a half I have had a regiment of three times a week/ 30- 40 minute session devoted to back/ hip strengthening. I feel much better on the bike and have even gone back to the regular road position.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:40 PM
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Originally Posted by RonH View Post
Sorry to hear this.
I learned in June 2015 that I have lumber spinal stenosis. Running is not good if you have SS. My spine doc (who is also an avid cyclist) said that riding a GOOD road bike (leaning over the drop bars) is one of the best exercises for my back. He told me the Litespeed was an excellent bike for my back but the $2500 CF bike I had at the time was not good. He said it was "low quality" carbon. So I got the super expensive Cannondale bike I've had since Oct 2015.
Have you visited a spine doc for a check up or consultation?
Thanks for the post. I have an appointment with my GP later this week and will go from there. He's conservative as far as medical intervention is concerned (minimal meds, etc.) and has always tried to keep me so I'm able to exercise as much as possible. He tells me I'm one of his most boring patients since there's never any changes he can recommend I make for exercise & diet (as opposed to the typical patient that he has to tell "lose weight, exercise more" year after year).

Are you sure your doc doesn't have part interest in a bike shop? It's my back that's low quality, not my bike. But if he wants to write a prescription for a new bike (that I can show my wife!), I'd definitely go for it!
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Old 03-27-18, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
I am not going to tell you what is wrong with you, I am not a doctor. I can say that as people age, muscles get weaker (atrophy) start to have back issues. I use to have to ride with an upright position on my road bike because of weak back/ hip muscles. For the last year and a half I have had a regiment of three times a week/ 30- 40 minute session devoted to back/ hip strengthening. I feel much better on the bike and have even gone back to the regular road position.
I've done some of that in the past. One problem I have to correct is that I really suck at keeping up with a regimen after I've healed. I'll do the work every day, but once the pain is gone, I forget to do any of it until the next time.
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Old 03-27-18, 05:52 PM
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I have all that old-person back crap: lumbar stenosis, arthritic facets, thin discs, fractured vertebra, but no blown disc. The only thing that keeps me operational is hard workouts at the gym. Lots of back work, squats, stiff-legged deadlifts, back machine, plus the usual other full-body stuff. Plus lots of cycling on my stretched-out road bike with bars below saddle.

What works is strengthening your back so that it stays in column. And that takes a lot of work. Shying away from working your back, avoiding back pain, shirking lifting, all that only exacerbates the problem. Yes, it'll get sore. Make it hurt, rest it, make it hurt, repeat endlessly.
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Old 03-27-18, 09:41 PM
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Any correlation between thunder storms and back or joint pains? If so, you may be feeling the effects of barometric pressure changes.

I used to laugh when my grandparents claimed they could feel a "blue norther" coming. They had bad backs (both had badly injured spines in falls, including lumber spinal fusions), bum knees, etc.

I ain't laughing anymore. My back and neck were broken in a car wreck in 2001. Now, at age 60, I can feel t-storms a full day ahead, even before the pressure drops, even when I don't know the weather will change.

We had t-storms all today and I could feel it the past two days. That, in addition to redoing the apartment and moving furniture (modest weight, not very heavy really), and I could hardly move or walk last night and today.

But exercise is the best thing for pain for many of us. If we can move, even just walk, it's good. I've waited all day for my back and neck to ease up enough to do some basic exercises at home, then I'm soaking in a hot bathtub of Epsom salts.

And if the rain eases Wednesday morning I'm going for a bike ride because I haven't since Friday and I'm getting an itchy saddle.
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Old 03-27-18, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by canklecat View Post
Any correlation between thunder storms and back or joint pains? If so, you may be feeling the effects of barometric pressure changes.

I used to laugh when my grandparents claimed they could feel a "blue norther" coming. They had bad backs (both had badly injured spines in falls, including lumber spinal fusions), bum knees, etc.

I ain't laughing anymore. My back and neck were broken in a car wreck in 2001. Now, at age 60, I can feel t-storms a full day ahead, even before the pressure drops, even when I don't know the weather will change.

We had t-storms all today and I could feel it the past two days. That, in addition to redoing the apartment and moving furniture (modest weight, not very heavy really), and I could hardly move or walk last night and today.

But exercise is the best thing for pain for many of us. If we can move, even just walk, it's good. I've waited all day for my back and neck to ease up enough to do some basic exercises at home, then I'm soaking in a hot bathtub of Epsom salts.

And if the rain eases Wednesday morning I'm going for a bike ride because I haven't since Friday and I'm getting an itchy saddle.


Fixing to rain just south of you. I was able to get a road/gravel in before I got rained on I put the vehichles in the garage and under the barn because it might hail. Like you said the rain should be gone by Wed afternoon. My Grandfather could always predict the weather better than the local TV forecast by an aching body part.
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Old 03-27-18, 10:40 PM
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I fought back pain, shoulder pain and neck pain for years. Last October I said that was all I could take. I sat down for about a week. Even though I was a hardcore "roadie" I put my very expensive CF in the garage beside my collection of several types of bikes and closed the door. For years my main exercise was riding because my back, shoulder and neck would tolerate a bike better than anything else. That ended.

Knowing that getting no exercise was not good after only a week I decided to make one last ditch effort. I got out a tadpole trike that I had purchased as a novelty, but did not ride because it looked silly. I rode it a few miles with no pain at all. A couple days later I rode it again a few miles and had no pain. I kept going further each time I rode until I put in a couple 40 mile rides with no pain. I am now a Triker.
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Old 03-28-18, 12:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
I am not going to tell you what is wrong with you, I am not a doctor. I can say that as people age, muscles get weaker (atrophy) start to have back issues. I use to have to ride with an upright position on my road bike because of weak back/ hip muscles. For the last year and a half I have had a regiment of three times a week/ 30- 40 minute session devoted to back/ hip strengthening. I feel much better on the bike and have even gone back to the regular road position.
So in other words this is more of a question of lack of exercise than aging?
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Old 03-28-18, 07:52 AM
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Originally Posted by KraneXL View Post
So in other words this is more of a question of lack of exercise than aging?
I am fifty-seven years old. If I had kept up with/ worked on strengthening my back/ hips when I was younger, it would have taken less time and I would be ahead of the game. Since I am older (and testosterone levels lower) it is more difficult/ takes longer to build muscle. I think if I had worked on strengthening my back/hips 20 years ago. A) It would have been easier and B) Would have taken maybe six months. (currently 1.5 years in progress.) I do not see the end of these exercises in sight. Even though I have gotten back my fully aggressive position on my bike (my handlebars are seven inches over the front tire), they had been 9.5" there is no way that I could ride with them that low a few years ago, I still have some weak spots in my back/ hips. I hope that this answers your question/ clarifies my point.
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Old 03-28-18, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
I am fifty-seven years old. If I had kept up with/ worked on strengthening my back/ hips when I was younger, it would have taken less time and I would be ahead of the game. Since I am older (and testosterone levels lower) it is more difficult/ takes longer to build muscle. I think if I had worked on strengthening my back/hips 20 years ago. A) It would have been easier and B) Would have taken maybe six months. (currently 1.5 years in progress.) I do not see the end of these exercises in sight. Even though I have gotten back my fully aggressive position on my bike (my handlebars are seven inches over the front tire), they had been 9.5" there is no way that I could ride with them that low a few years ago, I still have some weak spots in my back/ hips. I hope that this answers your question/ clarifies my point.
Just so, there's no end to it. As one ages, it only gets harder, at first to improve, then to hold even, then to slow the decline. The alternative is worse, just keep that in mind, OP.
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Old 03-28-18, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Brian25 View Post
I am fifty-seven years old. If I had kept up with/ worked on strengthening my back/ hips when I was younger, it would have taken less time and I would be ahead of the game. Since I am older (and testosterone levels lower) it is more difficult/ takes longer to build muscle. I think if I had worked on strengthening my back/hips 20 years ago. A) It would have been easier and B) Would have taken maybe six months. (currently 1.5 years in progress.) I do not see the end of these exercises in sight. Even though I have gotten back my fully aggressive position on my bike (my handlebars are seven inches over the front tire), they had been 9.5" there is no way that I could ride with them that low a few years ago, I still have some weak spots in my back/ hips. I hope that this answers your question/ clarifies my point.
Oh I understood all along; I'm 59. I was simply reinforcing your solution that exercise is the key to good skeletal/muscular health. Using "age" is typically more of an excuse, than it is a true limitation.
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Old 03-28-18, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
I have all that old-person back crap: lumbar stenosis, arthritic facets, thin discs, fractured vertebra, but no blown disc. The only thing that keeps me operational is hard workouts at the gym. Lots of back work, squats, stiff-legged deadlifts, back machine, plus the usual other full-body stuff. Plus lots of cycling on my stretched-out road bike with bars below saddle.

What works is strengthening your back so that it stays in column. And that takes a lot of work. Shying away from working your back, avoiding back pain, shirking lifting, all that only exacerbates the problem. Yes, it'll get sore. Make it hurt, rest it, make it hurt, repeat endlessly.
That makes a lot of sense. I've generally tried to keep doing things like you mention, but find that it's a thin line between doing it until it's just sore and triggering a major episode like I've been going through the last couple of days. I'm going to ask the doc for some p.t. focused on my back and some guidance in how to go about building up and maintaining my conditioning.
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Old 03-28-18, 04:41 PM
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For over 35 years I have battled lower and upper back issues. Once I got off my feet selling and repairing bikes and took up a technical desk job the back issues have subsided. The road bike feels like heaven, the cruiser not as good as it is too upright and will give a backache after 20 miles. I lift weights twice a week year round, yoga daily, and rarely pick up a shovel of any kind. All is well enough to allow me to work every Saturday at the bike shop with only slight pain in the upper back.
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Old 03-28-18, 06:22 PM
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Old 03-28-18, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
That makes a lot of sense. I've generally tried to keep doing things like you mention, but find that it's a thin line between doing it until it's just sore and triggering a major episode like I've been going through the last couple of days. I'm going to ask the doc for some p.t. focused on my back and some guidance in how to go about building up and maintaining my conditioning.
I have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. Have you had an MRI yet? Once the MRI confirmed the diagnosis I got an epidural. I have been pretty much pain free since.
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Old 04-29-18, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by jskash View Post
I have been diagnosed with lumbar spinal stenosis. Have you had an MRI yet? Once the MRI confirmed the diagnosis I got an epidural. I have been pretty much pain free since.
If you don't mind my asking how long ago did you have the epidural. I've been diagnosed with a herniated disc and some stenosis. I've been going to PT for about a month with no relief. At this point the only thing I can do without pain is ride the bike (road bike). In any event I'm scheduled foe an epidural on Wednesday. I was under the impression that the epidural would only provide temporary relief. Am I wrong?
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Old 04-29-18, 09:30 PM
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Originally Posted by TCR Rider View Post
If you don't mind my asking how long ago did you have the epidural. I've been diagnosed with a herniated disc and some stenosis. I've been going to PT for about a month with no relief. At this point the only thing I can do without pain is ride the bike (road bike). In any event I'm scheduled foe an epidural on Wednesday. I was under the impression that the epidural would only provide temporary relief. Am I wrong?
I had the epidural 7 weeks ago. The pain started coming back two weeks ago, but nothing like it had been. I can do most things but stand for an extended period of time. My next epidural is scheduled in five weeks. If I don't get any worse, I will be fine. My doctor said that epidurals could be done every three months.
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Old 04-29-18, 10:36 PM
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Originally Posted by DougG View Post
That makes a lot of sense. I've generally tried to keep doing things like you mention, but find that it's a thin line between doing it until it's just sore and triggering a major episode like I've been going through the last couple of days. I'm going to ask the doc for some p.t. focused on my back and some guidance in how to go about building up and maintaining my conditioning.
Perhaps core work would pay big dividends. One day a week dedicated to core work. Good for climbing and running too. I've added 5 minutes of core work to the end of every run, nice little dessert serving.
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Old 04-30-18, 03:03 AM
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Still in my low 50's.

However, I've had a on again, off again back ache for quite some time. At least in my 30's. And the old knees have been bothering me for at least a decade or so...

Or at least everything was bothering me...

In the last 5 years or so I've done a couple of changes, including sleeping in a recliner chair which somehow helps the back, and I've increased my cycling from 1000 to 2000 miles a year... more or less up to about 6000+ miles a year. On target to hit 7000 to 8000 miles this year. Oh, and never too tight of jeans/belt.

The old knees are much better as long as I keep cycling. Knee pain returns whenever I stop.

And, for the most part, the back is MUCH better. Occasionally a few twangs, but nothing bad. Sometimes sore after a long bike ride, often with a pack, or hard "mashing"/climbing, but it recovers quickly.

And the old ticker seems to be ticking better too.

Anyway, keep at it. And experiment with what makes things better.
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Old 04-30-18, 04:24 AM
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I'm not a doctor...but have had back issues for ~25yrs (now 61). This is my experience. Spent >29yrs in the military where running is a requirement...pushed through, but 8 specialists in the last 7 years said "stop running...", the last one "...or else..." (he one who works with the SpecOps guys largely on jump type injuries)---so I modified my workouts and started walking with the walkers---rode bike for PT tests. Lots of core training during and since, plus weights. Started seriously trying to ride my real bike a little over a year ago, and while I can push it to the old back pain, it is rare and can almost always be attributed to a minor fit/adjustment issue, or something else I was doing. Here's something interesting and leads to my conclusion---I had a riding lawn tractor that beat my back up so bad, I'd be in pain for two days...I use a walk behind now with zero issues. Keep a chart of what you are doing and when your back flares up...I'd be suspicious of the running, but less so of the bike and you may find some other cause/contributor all together.
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Old 04-30-18, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by jskash View Post
I had the epidural 7 weeks ago. The pain started coming back two weeks ago, but nothing like it had been. I can do most things but stand for an extended period of time. My next epidural is scheduled in five weeks. If I don't get any worse, I will be fine. My doctor said that epidurals could be done every three months.
Have you been going to PT or doing specific core, back and hip exercises since you had the injection? I plan on continuing PT and exercises after the epidural. My thinking is if the pain is reduced I'll be able to exercise harder. Right now I need a cane to walk any distance and that's with a lot of pain.
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Old 04-30-18, 09:54 PM
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My back will bother me the day after riding IF I don’t stretch after my ride. If I stretch then I will have no problems after riding.
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Old 05-02-18, 07:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Bmach View Post
My back will bother me the day after riding IF I donít stretch after my ride. If I stretch then I will have no problems after riding.
That's good advice and I realize that I totally suck at taking time to stretch after rides or runs.
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