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riding with degenerative discs

 
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Anonymous
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 1:40 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: riding with degenerative discs Reply with quote

I have a pair of degenerative discs between my L3 and L5 vertebrae that have severely curtailed my riding. Even though I'm now riding with 5" of travel front and rear, my back is usually sore after even short rides I can't even remember the last time I rode on consecutive days. I've tried heat and ice, to some effect, although their noticeable benefit usually seems to stop as soon as they are removed. Do you have any tips on heat, ice (maybe used together one after the other?) or anything else that might help? Since I'm here, maybe you can offer some advice on lifting weights. I'm going on a long range tuna trip this winter and need to start lifting weights, something I've barely done in the last year due to my back. I have a gym at home, but the only position available on it is seated. Sitting compresses the discs and is the most uncomfortable position for me and I'm thinking of buying a flat bench since the most comfortable position for me is flat on my back. You helped me out in the past with my chondromalacia so I'll be interested in any opinions you have regarding my spine. Thanks.
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The Bike Doc
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Joined: 08 May 2003
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Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Fri Oct 08, 2004 2:01 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

exclyde:

Unfortunately with degenerative disc diseases chronic pain is often a daily reality. Surgical therapies versus conventional medical therapies are equivalent in their improvement.

Weight lifting can pose a significant risk to your herniated discs and may increase the herniation. Off road mountain biking may need to be curtailed due to the increased risk of compression trauma to your spine. Conventional road bicycles are not going to offer you much relief with riding off dirt and on the pavement. You may want to look seriously at a recumbent bike. The typical recumbent position unloads the spine and lower back and you can ride with a far greater degree of comfort. Some models with wide tires can handle well maintained bike trails but unfortunately knurly off road rides are not the recumbent bike's forte. Check out an article I wrote on recumbents at www.btinternet.com/~jhpart/medben.htm and for an excellent information source about recumbents, models reviewed, check out www.bentrideronline.com .

The wisest route would be for you to seek the recommendations of an orthopedic doctor familiar with your problem who can review your X-Ray/MRI studies to make a more sound recommendation for your exercise and non-surgical options as well as surgical options.

Thanks,
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Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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Anonymous
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 2:57 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't help but respond and suggest a consult with an experienced physical therapist. I am a PT (so I'm biased) but I would absolutely recommend a course of PT treatment by a PT who is experienced in treating spinal conditions before even considering surgical intervention. If you'd like more info on this topic, I'd be happy to supply some.
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Anonymous
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2004 2:57 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't help but respond and suggest a consult with an experienced physical therapist. I am a PT (so I'm biased) but I would absolutely recommend a course of PT treatment by a PT who is experienced in treating spinal conditions before even considering surgical intervention. If you'd like more info on this topic, I'd be happy to supply some.
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Anonymous
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 26, 2004 11:07 pm GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck on your problem!

I have been riding for many years and started doing so as a result of PT from the ortho. I have what you have and then some. Basically in the same area as well as btween C3 and C4(if I remember correctly). Every person is different but I found that riding 2-4 times a week helps reduce the pain. The less I excercise the more pain I have. Staying active is the best treatment for me. I also have a good pain management program with a good provider. I will admit that right now I am in pretty bad shape(pain wise) as I haven't been able to ride as much. I am also not in race shape right now as I didn't get to participate in the fall series. I am also waiting to get a surgical procedure done to help relieve this problem. Doc probably knows what a risotomy(sp) is. Doc, if you have any comments on this procedure please feel free to chime in. I am always interested in learning more about procedures that have to do with cutting or penetrating my flesh. Shocked
Also, with my condition I experience pain from the hip all the way down to the heel on my left side and getting worse on the right.
There is hope for you. I can tell you that I've been racing for many years and only in the past couple of years have I had to slow down...mostly due to a particular tree that didn't move much when my clavicle hit it in a race up here in DFW. My shoulder has never been the same and I now have a new sourse for more pain. It's hell getting old. Evil or Very Mad
Misery loves company...PM me if you have any questions for this LONG time chronic pain sufferer.
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The Bike Doc
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Joined: 08 May 2003
Posts: 1371
Location: Corpus Christi and Warda, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2004 6:07 am GMT +0000    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bryce:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=pubmed&dopt=Abstract&list_uids=12436001

This link takes you to a summary of a very good review article surgical management of chronic pain. Rhizotomy is cutting or radioablation (destroying the nerve root by microwaves) of the nerve roots that transmit pain signals. I would recommend getting a copy of this article and reading it before committing to surgery so you can have a informed position on the options available to you. Rhizotomy has been shown to be helpful for pain control in a select group of patients with chronic pain but it is not indicated for all groups of chronic pain patients.

Thanks,
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Paul K. Nolan, MD
AKA: The Bike Doc
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