Sciatica, Slipped Discs and Cycling

Paul_L

Über Member
Been a long time since my last post.

Today i did a huge 2 mile, 10min bike ride. Certainly nothing worthy of mentioning however my last ride was in October last year. Throughout most of last summer i was suffering from sciatica, which to start with i ignored but then it stopped me in my tracks in October. 4 months of pretty pointless physio followed but then BANG, on new year's day everything went tits up. Slipped a disc with agony like i've never known and spent the next 2 weeks solid confined to the living room floor and 6 weeks off work.

An MRI scan and two cortisone injections later and things have been slowly improving, but i still get those tell tale cramps in the calf and / or hip from time to time.

Since the second cortisone injection, i've seen a different physio and things have continued to slowly improve.

So much so that i was given the go ahead to try a short bike ride prior to my next session. So this morning i set out, dressed like a cyclist and did a very ginger ride round the housing estate. No real after effects apart from a bit of soreness around the lower back but that's scar tissue damage which will hopefully pass with correct stretches.

It's a great feeling to be back in the saddle and i know it's going to be a long road ahead before going on "normal" rides out, so i just wondered if anyone had any similar experiences?
 

potsy

Rambler
Location
My Armchair
Sounds like you've had a terrible time there Paul,glad to see you're on the road to recovery,long may it continue.
 

richardt

New Member
Sympathy

Hi Paul L

I had similar issues for about 9 months last year.

Firstly a slipped L5/S1 disc followed by Piriformis syndrome. I had months of chiro followed by physio followed by two epidurals and more physio. I know exactly how you feel and had a brand new bike sat in my garage waiting for my return to health.

At night was the worst, many a 'happy' hour easing myself from side to side, very slowing getting up in the morning, getting my daughter to do my shoe laces etc.

I am pleased to say all is now much better and I am back in the saddle, and happily up to sportive mileage, so hang in there chap it will get better.....which is what I was told, I didnt see how, but it did!!

Rich.
 
OP
Paul_L

Paul_L

Über Member
cheers potsy and richardt. Richard, yes mine was the L5-S1 disc. Your post is very encouraging as it sounds identical to my history and treatment.

It's unlikely i'll get upto Sportive mileage this year, but i'd like to think i can build up slowly to make sure i'm fit for some 2011 events. I'm very unfit if anything else!!

Am starting pilates tonight on the physio's advice, which hopefully should build up some strength to help prevent future problems.

Thanks again. It's very comforting to know others have been in the same boat. Sounds like you've had a complete recovery and i hope that remains the case.
 

rh100

Well-Known Member
I suffered sciatica for a while before it was diagnosed properly. Had an MRI and was offered surgery, which i didn't accept.

The physio reccomended cycling, which has helped enormously, to the point I no longer take pain killers and rarely feel anything of the sciatica. That said, I did pull my back this weekend due to overdoing it in the garden (or was it the first time on a drop bar bike??), so had more painkillers yesterday and today for first time in a while, but luckily the pain is not going down my leg so hopefully a bit of rest will sort this one out, a bit of a reminder for me to be carefull of my back, even when it feels ok. Weirdly, even though hobbling about at home, I risked the 2 mile ride to work and felt fine whilst on the bike, just took it gentle and very careful getting on and off.

Hope you get better soon.
 
OP
Paul_L

Paul_L

Über Member
cheers rh. I've been medicine free for a few weeks now which is just as well as i was on quite a list from January to mid May. I do take the odd anti-inflamatory from time to time. You know, just as a treat :smile:

Bizarre about your physio recommending cycling. Mine told me just the opposite! Because of the seated position, the spine is curved putting quite a lot of stress on the lower back.

I know what you mean about gardening!!

cheers again.
 

rh100

Well-Known Member
She also suggested polates and swimming, neither of which I have done though. I'm not sure why the difference of opinion on cycling though, but I think for me it's a case of getting some exercise rather than none, as I didn't do anything really active before apart from what I did in my job.
 
OP
Paul_L

Paul_L

Über Member
well rh, i did my first ever pilates session last night. I am stunned how supple i am NOT. Ok, it's bad due to the injury but i don't think it was very good before. Pilates should improve my core strength so that the back joints are all supported.

I swim twice or three times a week and that definately helps.

Physio tonight and then another ride tomorrow.

Thanks for all your input.
 

e-rider

crappy member
Location
South West
I haven't slipped a disc but I did hurt my lower back 3 years ago surfing. Now I suffer from lower back pain on and off; although recently it's more on than off! I find that some days I can only cycle 10 miles and other days I'm good for 80 miles - it's hard to predict. I had physio but after 3 sessions my back was much much worse than before so I stopped.

What really gets my back pain going is bending backwards slightly. If I do this gently (which is what the physio suggested) I'm in agony within 5 seconds which then takes about 4 weeks to recover from.
 

pig on a bike

Active Member
I prolapsed L5 in nov 2007 lots of pain later in april 2008 i got back on bike for a short flat ride slowly building up again, within a year you should be back to what you could do before.
Before i had the slipped disc my back was very stiff and pysio used to help but during the times above i found no pysio and just resting was best for it.
when your back starts to feel better find a book with back exercises and do them every day.
I do exercises for my back 2 times aday to stop it from getting stiff which is what caused my slipped disc to start with.
When you do get your miles back up i find 15 mins in a bath of cold water after a ride is really good for my back.
But after all the pain during the slipped disc my back is know better then it was before.
 
OP
Paul_L

Paul_L

Über Member
pig, your post is very encouraging. My back is already better than it was pre my slipped disc. I never thought i'd say this back in January but it could be that it's a blessing in disguise. I'm in no rush, i do lots of back exercises plus swimming and i've just started pilates and i will definately build the bike miles up very very slowly. Thanks for your positive words.

reiver, i know that feeling of your first 3 weeks. It's indescribable isn't it. It's encouraging to know that yours is another positive take on cycling for back problems.
 

mik

New Member
Location
accrington lancs
I've been suffering now for 5 weeks with ( what has I hope been correcrly diagnosed as sciatica) I believe it was brought on by a combination of too hard a ride in too big a gear and possibly incorrect cleat posistion.

All thoughts of cycling have gone out of my head as walking and standing is hard enough without experencing severe pain in my lower back which then runs right down my right leg into my foot. As for going for going to bed or sleeping normally well forget it. Its a question of napping in chairs usualy in the day when sheer tiredness finally overcomes me.

Its been so severe that I have been off work for the last three weeks and am unable to see a return anytime soon.

Receiving acupunture and am scheduled for a cortison injection in a few weeks and I hope this helps in some way to start to deal with the problem.

Anyhow thanks for the hope and advice I have found on this thread as I am pretty well at the lowest point I have been for many a year and now I can see that others have gone through similiar experiences and are riding again.
 

jimboalee

New Member
Location
Solihull
Slipped disc. No such thing.

The membrane ruptures and the fluid inside squeezes out to press against the spinal cord.


For those who slag off the NHS, can we have your prognosis for a 'Quick cure'?

My Father fell overboard in the Navy and now has L2 - L5 fused together. The three disks crushed and thanks to the NHS, he was walking after three months on a 'flat table' having his lumbar remodelled.
 
OP
Paul_L

Paul_L

Über Member
I've been suffering now for 5 weeks with ( what has I hope been correcrly diagnosed as sciatica) I believe it was brought on by a combination of too hard a ride in too big a gear and possibly incorrect cleat posistion.

All thoughts of cycling have gone out of my head as walking and standing is hard enough without experencing severe pain in my lower back which then runs right down my right leg into my foot. As for going for going to bed or sleeping normally well forget it. Its a question of napping in chairs usualy in the day when sheer tiredness finally overcomes me.

Its been so severe that I have been off work for the last three weeks and am unable to see a return anytime soon.

Receiving acupunture and am scheduled for a cortison injection in a few weeks and I hope this helps in some way to start to deal with the problem.

Anyhow thanks for the hope and advice I have found on this thread as I am pretty well at the lowest point I have been for many a year and now I can see that others have gone through similiar experiences and are riding again.
you have my sympathies. i had 5 weeks off work, and i know exactly what you mean about sleeping. I had two cortisone injections and they do help. The first one made a big improvement but my mobility was still miles off normal. It was then a toss up between surgery (micro-distectomy) and another injection. You have to have surgery within 12 months of the damage for it to be statistically sucessful. I went for the second injection and that seems to have made a huge difference.

To give you some words of encouragement, it does get better, but you have to look after yourself and do the right things - stretching etc. I have now been back cycling for many weeks and am back upto commuting distance (28mile round trip). Don't get me wrong i also have bad days, but i know the signs, rest up, take some diclofenac and wait for it to ease.

I also cannot recommend pilates enough.

Good luck and GWS.
 
Top Bottom