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Ruptured Disc Road to Recovery

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Ruptured Disc Road to Recovery

Old 02-20-18, 10:03 AM
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Ruptured Disc Road to Recovery

So My cycling is on hold a bit as I recover from microdiscectemy.


I ruptured my L5-S1 disc and am two weeks post surgery.


I'm about three weeks out from getting back on a bike so I figured I'd start this thread to share my progress with anyone else going through this and this will be a place for others to share stories and progress as well.


Can't wait to get back on the bike and still hope to ride my annual three state century.
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Old 02-20-18, 07:04 PM
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Best of luck
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Old 02-27-18, 01:56 PM
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Originally Posted by evan326 View Post
Best of luck
Thank you.
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Old 02-27-18, 03:36 PM
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Thanks - stem cell injection for L4 L5 for me on a herniated, torn, dehydrated discs. Wish me luck I'm off the bike for 3 months after March 6. Good luck and keep me updated. I'll be in the surgery camp if I can't get relief after this.
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Old 02-27-18, 03:47 PM
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See this is why they don't allow discs in the peloton.

Sorry. Good luck with your recovery and your century ride.
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Old 02-28-18, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by topslop1 View Post
Thanks - stem cell injection for L4 L5 for me on a herniated, torn, dehydrated discs. Wish me luck I'm off the bike for 3 months after March 6. Good luck and keep me updated. I'll be in the surgery camp if I can't get relief after this.
Good luck man, keep us updated.


After having the surgery (I had no option) I'd recommend it. I feel 100% and I'm just over 3 weeks post surgery.


Hoping to be back on the bike sooner than later.
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Old 02-28-18, 08:25 AM
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I blew up my L5-S1 in 2010 cycling. Of note, you may want to look into a new bike. In fact I replaced every bike I owned but one after my surgery. No more big bar drop for me. Honestly I forget when I got back to full activity after my surgery. I had mine in Sept so I know I for sure wasn't back on the bike until the following spring. But I'm pretty sure I was snowboarding that winter.

Now 8 years later I feel great most days, I've not had any issues with the disc again but have had some lower back pain...but I had that before too. After my surgery I was told no more impact sports. No running, no more volleyball. I took that to heart for 2 years...but just couldn't do it anymore. Volleyball was a huge part of my life and my social circle...so I got back into it. Hasn't hurt me that I know of. I'm now cycling regularly again, like I said, all new bikes with taller head tubes.

One thing I'd suggest you consider is an inversion table. Before my surgery I bought a Teeter HangUps table and had been using it as my physical the****** had suggested it (I took drugs and had physical therapy for 5 months before the disc gave up the ghost). My neurosurgeon said that it kept me off his operating table for at least 3 months. I now use it any time my back starts to feel wonky and it seems to fix me right up. Worth every penny.
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Old 02-28-18, 09:06 AM
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At first I was thinking..."How do you rupture a disc brake and why don't you just replace it instead of trying to recover it?!?"

D'oh!

Get better! You...I mean...not the disk brake.
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Old 02-28-18, 10:41 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Good luck man, keep us updated.


After having the surgery (I had no option) I'd recommend it. I feel 100% and I'm just over 3 weeks post surgery.


Hoping to be back on the bike sooner than later.
Quick recovery time! You'll be back on the bike quickly. I go in March 6 and just need to remember not to do any lifting twisting or any doofy stuff for 2-3 months afterwards (probably the hardest part).
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Old 02-28-18, 02:13 PM
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I had discectomy 2 years ago. Woke up out of surgery completely pain free. Went home, threw up and then walked half a mile. A mile the next day. Walking up to 5 miles a day. Rode at time trial speed (well, for my fitness level given inactivity though it was pretty good) for 8 miles at 5 weeks just to see what it felt like and it was good. At 6 weeks, all the pain gradually came back and I was sure I re-herniated though doc said he doubted it. Begged him for another MRI with contrast and he ordered it which came back negative for re-herniation. He felt like my bones were settling into new position given lack of disk height. I have desiccated disks and other bulging disks as well at 58 y/o so I am taking care of it best as I can. The main thing is, no bending, lifting, or twisting at the same time. I do planks for core and walk a lot. Stiffness in the morning but I generally do well. I don't regret the surgery at all. Sciatica is a bugger and robs all quality of life when you can't sleep for it. I find it to be utterly amazing that JJ Watts and Rob Gronkowski have both had 2 discectomies and have come back to play pro sports. Tiger Woods after his 4 back surgeries, the last of which was fusion to be swinging a golf club as he does is nothing short of amazing. All that would not be worth it if it caused them lasting pain in their older age but that's the gamble they are taking. Best of luck to you in your recovery.
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Old 02-28-18, 02:17 PM
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Originally Posted by topslop1 View Post
Quick recovery time! You'll be back on the bike quickly. I go in March 6 and just need to remember not to do any lifting twisting or any doofy stuff for 2-3 months afterwards (probably the hardest part).

Wrong, don't do any "doofy" stuff for the rest of your life. Your back will be altered after surgery so you'll need to obey the laws of proper back mechanics going forward for best spinal health and wellness.
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Old 02-28-18, 06:00 PM
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I blew out two discs several years ago. I was misdiagnosed and suffered through 6 months of hell until I had the MRI. I had surgery the next day.

That fixed me up for a few years. I raced a few more seasons but the the post ride pain began to affect real life so I had to stop riding almost entirely.

Two more surgical procedures since and I'm fine most days. Pain and stiffness some mornings and I can ride occassionally for a bit but the intial injury pretty much ended it for me.

Good luck and listen to your body.
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Old 03-01-18, 09:21 AM
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I had two discectomies (2002 and 2003) that both failed shortly after the surgeries, L4-L5 and L5-S1 was the trouble area. Originally injured these in a compression due to falling and landing square on my butt from 10'+, at work in 1989. The neurosurgeon recommended that I switch to another doctor in their group for evaluation to have a 2 level PLIF. Surgery for this was in January 2004, 2 levels fused with Ti cages, plates and screws put in to stabilize things. Regained complete use of a paralyzed right leg and no further pain to date. And I paid for all of this, not workman's compensation insurance, what a scam and a joke that is.

No problems returning to wrk after a four week recovery and wearing a back brace for 8 weeks. Cycling has not been ay problem at all. Drop bars and aluminum or steel frames, nothing special required.

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Old 03-27-18, 08:04 AM
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7 weeks out and hope to be back on the bike next week. Had a minor setback which the doctors believe may be Sacroiliitis due to regaining mobility.


MRI results today.


If it's not the disc and the disc looks healthy, I'll post up after my first ride next week.
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Old 03-28-18, 09:14 PM
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Thanks for updating on your progress. I'm rootin' for you.
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Old 03-30-18, 05:22 AM
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Best luck - I had microdiscectomy in 2014, best decision I ever made. The year before I had rotator cuff surgery (much bigger impact to life) and that surgeon and the guy who did the microdiscectomy both said the same thing about post-surgery recovery:

You have the rest of your life to bike, this is the only time your body has to recover.
I beat the odds on successful rotator cuff surgery for a full thickness, total, retracted tear - so that advice stuck with me after the discectomy. I did lots of walking and hiking (2-7 miles), then recumbent bike in gym, then stationary bike. I think it was about 8 weeks before I did outside riding.

I also added stretching to my pre and post ride bike routines, essentially adding some of the back stretching work the post-op physical therapy recommended.

The next season I was biking at full strength, no issues since then.
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Old 06-18-18, 07:38 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
7 weeks out and hope to be back on the bike next week. Had a minor setback which the doctors believe may be Sacroiliitis due to regaining mobility.


MRI results today.


If it's not the disc and the disc looks healthy, I'll post up after my first ride next week.
Never updated but the second MRI showed some bad news.

The disc re-reutured and set up camp back on the nerve root for my left leg.

I'm now two months post op from the second surgery and managed a ride on the trainer.

Hopefully back to self punishment soon.
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Old 06-18-18, 02:21 PM
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Old 06-19-18, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
Never updated but the second MRI showed some bad news.

The disc re-reutured and set up camp back on the nerve root for my left leg.

I'm now two months post op from the second surgery and managed a ride on the trainer.

Hopefully back to self punishment soon.
Good luck with that 69c! I had a partial laminectomy for a herniated L4-L5 nearly 5 years ago. Everything turned out great. Here's wishing you a similar positive outcome!
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Old 06-19-18, 05:56 PM
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Good luck, hope it turns out great for you!
I've been dodging back surgery for several years now, but living with that pain is becoming very difficult...
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Old 07-25-18, 07:32 AM
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So following surgery #2 and being cleared to return to cycling, I got into a very aggressive routine to get my fitness back. After 5 rides of 20 miles each, (basically full on efforts) I managed a 36 mile group ride yesterday at 19mph.

No lumbar pain (I feared I'd be selling my bike due to the seat to bar drop) and other than having to put forth a "historic" effort according to Strava, I feel like a cyclist again being able to come back so far so quickly.

My left leg is still suffering nerve damage and is weak, so my left sided power meter is all but useless but the little pains and the weakness is totally manageable. I can tell my left leg is getting stronger and other than having to limit my time in the drops, I feel like I'm already further ahead than I ever expected to be by years end.
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Old 07-25-18, 08:26 AM
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Originally Posted by 69chevy View Post
So following surgery #2 and being cleared to return to cycling, I got into a very aggressive routine to get my fitness back. After 5 rides of 20 miles each, (basically full on efforts) I managed a 36 mile group ride yesterday at 19mph.

No lumbar pain (I feared I'd be selling my bike due to the seat to bar drop) and other than having to put forth a "historic" effort according to Strava, I feel like a cyclist again being able to come back so far so quickly.

My left leg is still suffering nerve damage and is weak, so my left sided power meter is all but useless but the little pains and the weakness is totally manageable. I can tell my left leg is getting stronger and other than having to limit my time in the drops, I feel like I'm already further ahead than I ever expected to be by years end.
Congrats on the recovery, though this has me a bit concerned a:

"I feared I'd be selling my bike due to the seat to bar drop ..."

I liked what Grasschopper had to say about replacing his old bikes with ones with taller head tubes. I have been doing the same thing, after realizing I am never gonna be able to get comfortable on a bike with a head tube that's too small,

Doing the Greg Lemond sizing formula, he has me on a 53-54 cm bike, at 5' 10". That's just plain wrong IMO, at least from a comfort angle. I am FAR ore comfortable on a 56-58 cm frame, and now ride almost exclusively in the drops on my bigger frames. Back muscle pain is gone for me, though I don't think I ever herniated anything as far as I know, though I could have at some point while lifting weights.
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Old 07-25-18, 09:05 AM
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Glad to year you're back on the bike and going fast.

I am five years out from a rupture with a fragment that nailed my left L3 root. The neurosurgeon who rebuilt my neck in 2008 told me to HTFU and avoid the 3% chance of fibrosis in the operative site, which could basically ruin my life. So I went with transforaminal injections, started rehab right away, and was back on the bike with a floppy left leg in two weeks. The main issue was pain, which was frankly spectacular--like my leg was having a damn baby. The bike felt way better than walking. Today, my medial quad is still fasciculationg and visibly atrophic, but I no longer notice any weakness on the bike or at the gym. All in all, I'm actually a little stronger and a lot smarter and more committed to keeping the core solid.

I never rode with as much drop as the big boys, but I haven't had to raise my stem because of that misadventure.
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Old 07-25-18, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by MoAlpha View Post
Glad to year you're back on the bike and going fast.

I am five years out from a rupture with a fragment that nailed my left L3 root. The neurosurgeon who rebuilt my neck in 2008 told me to HTFU and avoid the 3% chance of fibrosis in the operative site, which could basically ruin my life. So I went with transforaminal injections, started rehab right away, and was back on the bike with a floppy left leg in two weeks. The main issue was pain, which was frankly spectacular--like my leg was having a damn baby. The bike felt way better than walking. Today, my medial quad is still fasciculationg and visibly atrophic, but I no longer notice any weakness on the bike or at the gym. All in all, I'm actually a little stronger and a lot smarter and more committed to keeping the core solid.

I never rode with as much drop as the big boys, but I haven't had to raise my stem because of that misadventure.
My surgeon said the excessive pressure that damages discs comes from either shock, rotation or internally (straining) and that the position on the bike would have no ill effects on my discs.

I was concerned that my weak back muscles and core wouldnt be strong enough for me to be comfortable is why I worried I'd be selling the bike.

I'm rather relieved to find that it's been manageable and hope to be in good enough shape to spend considerable time in the drops again soon.

Both mentioned I may get lumbar muscle pain, but wouldn't risk damaging the disc any further as long as I didn't strain heavily.
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Old 07-27-18, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Grasschopper View Post
I blew up my L5-S1 in 2010 cycling. Of note, you may want to look into a new bike. In fact I replaced every bike I owned but one after my surgery. No more big bar drop for me. Honestly I forget when I got back to full activity after my surgery. I had mine in Sept so I know I for sure wasn't back on the bike until the following spring. But I'm pretty sure I was snowboarding that winter.

Now 8 years later I feel great most days, I've not had any issues with the disc again but have had some lower back pain...but I had that before too. After my surgery I was told no more impact sports. No running, no more volleyball. I took that to heart for 2 years...but just couldn't do it anymore. Volleyball was a huge part of my life and my social circle...so I got back into it. Hasn't hurt me that I know of. I'm now cycling regularly again, like I said, all new bikes with taller head tubes.

One thing I'd suggest you consider is an inversion table. Before my surgery I bought a Teeter HangUps table and had been using it as my physical the****** had suggested it (I took drugs and had physical therapy for 5 months before the disc gave up the ghost). My neurosurgeon said that it kept me off his operating table for at least 3 months. I now use it any time my back starts to feel wonky and it seems to fix me right up. Worth every penny.
I'm with you guys. L4 here also. I looked at having surgery but my chiropractor pleaded with me to try an inversion table first. I went to his office three times a day for two weeks until my table arrived. I can honestly say it did the job. I do have some muscle atrophy in my right leg but its coming out of it. Biggest thing I did to get myself back on the bike was swapped out my drop bars and stem for a pair of flat bars on my Gran Fondo. I have contemplated moving to a set of bullhorns but not sure. I about think I could go back to the drops but I dont know yet.
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