Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Road Cycling
Reload this Page >

Bad Back Biking

Notices
Road Cycling ďIt is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.Ē -- Ernest Hemingway

Bad Back Biking

Old 02-21-09, 06:22 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,946

Bikes: Pedal Force RS2, Canyon, Basso, Tommaso, Rock Racing, Schwinn, SWOBO, Trek

Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Bad Back Biking

Does any one out there have a bad back, i.e. herniated disk, pinched nerve, stenosis, etc. yet still rides?

I have had two surgical procedures on my lower back L4-L5 area yet road cycling seems to help. My neurosurgeon said its OK if it does not bother you, since disciplined leg rotation (proper form) is non-impact and does not put pressure on lower back.

Of course a few Oxycontin's make things more bearable.
ThinLine is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 07:10 AM
  #2  
Still on training wheels
 
sprintr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: LIC - NYC
Posts: 257

Bikes: 2008 Cannondale CAAD9 5

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Check this out... the man is a legend...

https://www.bikeforums.net/road-cycling/412378-pcad-gets-published.html
sprintr is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 07:18 AM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 122
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I had a back operation back in 1994. Had an enlarged disc and they took out half of it between L4-L5. I quit riding because of this. Now I have started to ride again and now having problems with a nerve. I am addressing this by going to my chiropractor and learning from her the proper way to sit on a bike and I also joined Gold's Gym yesterday. Why? Because I need to strengthen up my core, and loose about 30 pounds. Why? Because I want to ride like I used to going on those 50 mile trips. I love riding and feel great after a ride like this days later. I hope all goes well. At this time I look at my bike and think of the good ole days.

If your not having pain than don't worry about it. If something is wrong you will know it. Till then ride long and hard.
Theodore is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 07:23 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
unbelievably's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Under the Thumb
Posts: 1,362
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I've got some nerve problems in my lower back.
Seems like a vicious cycle that is stress induced.
Yet...I ride.(seasonally)
unbelievably is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 07:24 AM
  #5  
Galveston County Texas
 
10 Wheels's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: In The Wind
Posts: 33,272

Bikes: 02 GTO, 2011 Magnum

Liked 1,254 Times in 630 Posts
Lower back L4-L5 the same as you.
8 centurys this year, 2900 miles on a Felt F-80
Ride Long but Not Hard.
__________________
Fred "The Real Fred"

10 Wheels is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 07:47 AM
  #6  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I had a herniated disc 10 years ago, it didn't stop me taking up riding afterwards (around 10,000 miles/year) as well as summer and winter criterium racing.

I'm at the oesteo once or twice a year, and pay my dues at core strength classes. Without this, my sciatic nerve plays up, and the power drains out of my legs.

Listen to your back, and get some real advice.

R. https://lbrc.org
richardb20 is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 08:13 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,946

Bikes: Pedal Force RS2, Canyon, Basso, Tommaso, Rock Racing, Schwinn, SWOBO, Trek

Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
THANK YOU.

I just bought a new mountain bike (Jamis Dakar XAM 2.0 FS) to ride and not feel so disciplined to ride 18+ mph as I do on my road bikes.
The full quality suspension should help any jarrs or jolts that go along with off road riding.

Not much into mountain bikes, mainly road bikes I have....but WOW this Jamis is a mechanical marvel of components, design and tank like solidity.
ThinLine is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 08:42 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
big john's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: In the foothills of Los Angeles County
Posts: 25,600
Liked 9,426 Times in 4,630 Posts
I have a lower back injury from an unplanned dismount from a motorcycle. I ride a long wheelbase steel frame and I have the bars about 1.5 inches below the saddle. I'm fine with this set-up on climbing centuries as long as I keep at it. If I do only short rides for a couple weeks my back will hurt when climbing.
+1 to the full suspension mtb. They are a big improvement over a hardtail on rough, rocky trails.
big john is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 08:56 AM
  #9  
Freddin' it
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Wichita
Posts: 807
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
In late 2003 after debilitating pain in my left hip and leg, I was diagnosed with a severely ruptured disk between L4-L5 that jammed my sciatic nerve quite a bit. A couple of epidural steroid injections, no more running (coached cross country and track until then), and no more sitting and Iím OK, but not healed. Canít sit in a car more than about 15 minutes or a standard chair more than 5. But could ride my motorcycle all day. I have sport-touring cycles that have enough forward lean to take the weight off my spine and footpegs that keep my legs tucked. A cruiser (e.g., Harley) would paralyze me within minutes. (Be careful of full leg extensions under load as they compress the spine. Doctors easily check for disk problems by having you lie on your back while they raise your straight leg. If you scream in pain as they approach the vertical, you have a problem.)

Tried riding my mountain bike about a year after the initial damage. The seating was OK, but the choppy concrete streets were pounding my back so I quickly gave it up. Tried again last summer, this time on my road bike on roads out of town, and I was fine. Have ridden over 6000 miles since June with several centuries, including two back-to-back, all with no back problems. Key again was to keep a forward lean. I would be leery of a mountain bike and any rough terrain if I were you. Try a road bike on relatively smooth roads to see what you can tolerate.

As the doctor said, if you arenít in pain, itís not making it worse. If you are, stop, it will only get worse.
akansaskid is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 11:06 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: San Jose, Ca
Posts: 1,213

Bikes: 09 Specialized Tricross Sport

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
I can't say I have a bad back in terms of having been diagnosed with anything but what I do when I get out of saddle to sprint is I try to keep my spine neutral rather than flexing my spine as many do. A neutral spine is advocated by, well, almost any musculoskeletal health professional.

I'd lke to be able to rotate my pelvis forward so as to be able to make my spine more neutral when I'm in saddle for longer periods but I'm a guy and that would mean compressing my man-specific anatomy so I'm probably going to have to raise my handlebars. You may consider running you bars higher if you lumbar spine is flexed beyond your liking when your hands are on the hoods. That may require you to use a "comfort bike", one with a longer, slacker head tube, like the Cannondale Synapse, Giant Defy etc.

Food for thought.
thirdin77 is offline  
Old 02-21-09, 11:53 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,946

Bikes: Pedal Force RS2, Canyon, Basso, Tommaso, Rock Racing, Schwinn, SWOBO, Trek

Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Originally Posted by thirdin77
I can't say I have a bad back in terms of having been diagnosed with anything but what I do when I get out of saddle to sprint is I try to keep my spine neutral rather than flexing my spine as many do. A neutral spine is advocated by, well, almost any musculoskeletal health professional.

I'd lke to be able to rotate my pelvis forward so as to be able to make my spine more neutral when I'm in saddle for longer periods but I'm a guy and that would mean compressing my man-specific anatomy so I'm probably going to have to raise my handlebars. You may consider running you bars higher if you lumbar spine is flexed beyond your liking when your hands are on the hoods. That may require you to use a "comfort bike", one with a longer, slacker head tube, like the Cannondale Synapse, Giant Defy etc.

Food for thought.
+1, Doc did say a more relaxed position would benefit over a pure racing geometry...not quite in those words but I knew what he meant.

I do not want to give up my bikes or riding....if so...we turn into a veggie.
ThinLine is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 04:28 PM
  #12  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 43

Bikes: Trek Madone 5.2 w/10 spd Ultegra.

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Herniated L4 - L5 - surgery 2 weeks ago

Interesting, as I've been reading about lumbar problems, it seems L5, S1 is most common in the gerneral population; however, if this thread is any indication, L4, L5 problems may be more reflective of lumbar problems among cyclists. I've had to lay off the bike a couple times but last June was really bad. My left quad went weak and my shin went numb. They're still that way. I needed surgery but had to put it off because SURPRISE! I needed my aortic valve replaced first. So, taking care of that little issue and after 8 months of my L4 and L5 nerve roots being compressed on the left side, I am recovering from surgery on 3/9. My surgeon, who I'll see for follow up on 3/24, told me I should stay off the bike for 6 weeks and that given the extended duration of the nerve root compression, it will be months before I'll notice improvement and it may never be 100%. I have a fairly agressive riding posture and I have a similar question to the poster's: how will riding and my lumbar problems cohabitate? I only lost max. 20% of my disc. Stay tuned! In the mean time, I advise others to take this lumbar stuff seriously.
RealtourRoadie is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 04:34 PM
  #13  
aka Phil Jungels
 
Wanderer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Aurora, IL
Posts: 8,234

Bikes: 08 Specialized Crosstrail Sport, 05 Sirrus Comp

Liked 86 Times in 60 Posts
Spondylosis, spondylothesis, L4, 25%, (spelling is in question), one of my vertabra is slid forward 25% instead of being lined up like normal, and bicycle riding is really helping my back/leg/foot pain.......

My doc says the same - if it don't hurt, it sure is helping!!!
Wanderer is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 04:53 PM
  #14  
yak
Zircon Encrusted Tweezer
 
yak's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Marshfield, MA
Posts: 1,016

Bikes: Pivot Switchblade, SantaCruz Tallboy, SantaCruz Solo, Specialized Fatboy, Trek ProjectOne Madone, Fuji Altamira CX 1.1, Lemond Zurich

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Not as bad as some of the above posts, but I've had issues related to my hip flexors being too tight and pulling on my spine when I hammered. A little PT and learning how to fully stretch them has helped a lot, as well as maintaining a strong and balance core.
yak is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 05:19 PM
  #15  
Watch This!
 
laduckslayer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Powhatan, VA
Posts: 265

Bikes: 2005 Trek 5000; 2006 Gary Fisher Rig

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Mine is the cervical spine. Pedicles in C5 - C7 are crushed, and C2-C4 are not in good shape. I used to be a competitive power lifter (All Army / Intra-Service Champ). I had 1002 pounds roll up on my neck while attempting a squat in Bamuholder, GM. Doc's wanted to fuse the C Spine, but I neglected. Finished my 24 years of active service, although it took me off of Airborne status. Now I feel it after a long ride, especially while attempting to keep my head upright and looking forward.

HTFU Baby, it's all gravy!
laduckslayer is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 05:40 PM
  #16  
TCR
Riding Heavens Highway
 
TCR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Sunny SoCal
Posts: 1,778

Bikes: '04 Giant TCR

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Ruptured disc in my lower back. I've been forced to raise my bars to the same height as my saddle. Can't ride if I lower them. It sucks but I live with it.
__________________
https://vvbc.us
TCR is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 05:40 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
BILL_W_WV's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Virginia Beach, Va.
Posts: 142

Bikes: 2006 TCR C1, 2006 Specialized Allez Elite - Triple, POS mountian bike

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Have a one minor herniated disc & mild stenois in L2-L3. May be mistaken on which dics are culprits. Test was supposed to take 20-30 minutes but I was in machine 70 minutes. New doctor had some bad news since test went so long & doctors non-verbal communication was not a positive indicator. Losing weight, physical therapy, & stretching seem to help. My feet do not burn anymore, however standing for along period can bother me. Also sitting for awhile sometimes seems lock my back up me causing a minor delay getting up. Physical therapist says I am supposed to use my arms & slide of the chair when standing up - never do that though. Cycling seems to take pressure of my back. Each person is different but cycling/therpay helped me & lumbar support hurts my back.

Last edited by BILL_W_WV; 03-21-09 at 05:48 PM.
BILL_W_WV is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 05:54 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Ottawa, ON, Canada
Posts: 406
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Although I'm a young guy, my day job is a programmer, and my passions are biking and computers. All of these tasks are sitting tasks and can easily wreak havoc on my back, and it has...

Two weeks ago, I just woke up with some nasty back pain, and a sane person would probably stay off the bike until the pain goes away, but riding makes it all disappear for me.

Go out and try it. Start easy, but the fun of it would be far greater than your back pain.
calyth is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 08:19 PM
  #19  
gbg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 628
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I had a sore back for about 4 months Dec 2007 -Apr 2008 that continued to get worse. It turned into excruciating pain about then. I couldn't walk for more than 50 feet and at about .5 mph. I couldn't carry a 2 liter pop bottle because that weight was to much for my back. If I sneezed or coughed I would be in agony for 5 minutes after.
It seems however that 85% or so disk problems don't require surgery. There was too much swelling/inflamation for a steroid injection, so i got oral steroids. After about 2 months of no activity (no choice) I started walking a little bit every day. Worked up to 5 - 10 miles a day (2-4 hours, every step hurt but I wanted to try to strengthen my legs and back).
I have been riding since about August. Up here in the great white north I have ridden up to 2-2 1/2 hrs in -10 to -25C on bumpy icy roads and trails on a MTB. I think the exercise definitely helps my back, but I am looking forward to summer and smoother conditions. I just got a Trek Madone 6.9, the riding position is much "racier" but I still feel OK riding it on the wind trainer.
Every case is probably different but I say keep riding if it doesn't aggravate your back. I generally think exercise is good for strength flexibility posture etc.
gbg is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 08:33 PM
  #20  
I'm not worthy!
 
whiplashsmile's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Indy
Posts: 278

Bikes: '93 Bridgestone MB-3, '08 Trek Madone 5.1

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I fractured L1-L4 about 17 years ago. I still deal with some pain and I'm not as flexible as I used to be. But, I ride every chance I get. I figure the better shape I'm in and the less of my "front" there is the better off my back will be.
whiplashsmile is offline  
Old 03-21-09, 08:52 PM
  #21  
Bicycle Repair Man !!!
 
Sixty Fiver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: YEG
Posts: 27,267

Bikes: See my sig...

Liked 133 Times in 99 Posts
I have been dealing with a nerve impingement in my back hip for more than a year... I can't lift a 2 litre bottle,riding in vehicles is hell, sitting is a 50/50 thing, and I get vicious spasms through both my legs.

Riding is the best pain killer I know of and I for me a forward position works best as does my Brooks B17 Imperial with the cutout.

I have been off the bike for 9 1/2 weeks mostly because of the weather and bad roads... I got back on last week and am going to try 20 km tomorrow.

Nobody understands how a guy that needs a cane to walk can ride a bike...
Sixty Fiver is offline  
Old 03-22-09, 04:58 AM
  #22  
POWERCRANK addict
 
markhr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: North Acton, West London, UK
Posts: 3,783
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
As long as you keep your core strong and are applying power evenly throughout the pedal stroke then, in theory, there should be no problem.

The easy/cheap way is simply to strengthen your core muscles (plank and swiss ball exercises) and make sure your stem isn't too long and low.

The more expensive route is to buy something like powercranks so that you know that you're never just mashing and, as a side benefit, the powercranks will help with the core strength (pulling up and no trailling crank to "rest" on).

scoliosis back problems - https://www.bikeforums.net/singlespeed-fixed-gear/461086-scoliosis-problems.html

lower back pain - https://www.bikeforums.net/commuting/404174-lower-back-pain-ugh.html
__________________
shameless POWERCRANK plug
Recommended reading for all cyclists - Cyclecraft - Effective Cycling
Condor Cycles - quite possibly the best bike shop in London
Don't run red lights, wear a helmet, use hand signals, get some cycle lights(front and rear) and, FFS, don't run red lights!
markhr is offline  
Old 03-22-09, 09:15 PM
  #23  
Spin Meister
 
icyclist's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: California, USA
Posts: 2,651

Bikes: Trek …monda, 1961 Follis (French) road bike (I'm the original owner), a fixie, a mountain bike, etc.

Liked 41 Times in 16 Posts
> road cycling seems to help.<

>My neurosurgeon said its OK if it does not bother you, since disciplined leg rotation (proper form) is non-impact and does not put pressure on lower back.<

In your case, it's obviously not a problem.

A couple of years ago, I injured my back. In my case, I have some arthritis not atypical for my age and history of exercise, and a bulging disc, either of which may - or may not - have affect my sciatic nerve.

I hurt every time I turned the cranks on my bike and that went on for months. I put up with it. It hurt if I didn't ride, too - I'd stop for a few weeks at a time. It hurt if I walked or just stood, too. It hurt when I stood up.

It took eight months for the pain to completely go away, but go away it did. Time, and perhaps non-steroidal medications, helped me heal. Once in while pain returns. I usually don't know why (heavy carry-on luggage on plane flights definitely hurts), and it's never serious. For sure, biking has no causative effect on my pain.
__________________
This post is a natural product. Slight variations in spelling and grammar enhance its individual character and beauty and are in no way to be considered flaws or defects.
icyclist is offline  
Old 03-22-09, 09:46 PM
  #24  
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 28

Bikes: Wiler Zero.7

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Wanderer
Spondylosis, spondylothesis, L4, 25%, (spelling is in question), one of my vertabra is slid forward 25% instead of being lined up like normal, and bicycle riding is really helping my back/leg/foot pain.......

My doc says the same - if it don't hurt, it sure is helping!!!
Same here - L5 for me, two stress fractures in the same vertebrae while in HS. Mine deteriorated 20 percent of the disc (painful).

Cycling doesn't hurt any more than walking for a couple of hours in the mall. In fact, I think it may be easier to ride than to walk for any extended period of time.

I'm still pretty young (28), so maybe all of this will change as I drink more exotic liquor and eat more fattening foods.
stljingram is offline  
Old 03-22-09, 10:51 PM
  #25  
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Austin Texas
Posts: 38

Bikes: 1992 GT Avalanche , 1997 GT LTS 1, 2008 Fuji Roubaix Pro

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I have a friend with neck issues. We were in Mellow Johnny's and the sales guy recommended this:
https://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/road/fx/77fx/


Any body ride something like that instead of a traditional road bike? Can you keep up?
swaustex is offline  

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.