Help on Back Injuries

Discussion in 'General MTB Discussion' started by proprod, Nov 8, 2009.

  1. proprod

    proprod Likes Dirt

    Hi All,
    I am needing advice or experiences from others in the same boat as me.
    The story goes as so, just over ten years ago involved in a hit an run accident I was luck small injuries but could work up to be a concern later in life.
    Well two months ago in my job i pushed that injury to the point that it is here for good.
    The injury that I have Broad base bulging in the lower lumber of L 3,4,5 vertebrates and slight spinal cavity constriction. Seen my GP of course and got a second opinion from another doctor, and i can go back to work and do lighter duties which what my job description is (hate when the company can switch from here to here).
    'Right' I have been riding my bike just around the back yard nothing exotic just to see if it effects my lower back and it does. Where I have to lay down for a couple of hours, my bike is a 08 Norco Havoc, and I am thinking the geometry is wrong for my back (seat is way up as well). Also I have to sell my Vintage road bike cause of this.
    Am I doomed to not to ride again or will I have to look at other bike geometries I was thinking of full rigid XC set up.
    If any one is or has gone through something similar or can point me in the right direction for more info it would be great, my GP really couldn't tell me much about bike riding.
    Cheers if any one can help.
  2. MJS

    MJS Likes Bikes and Dirt

    Your GP won't be able to tell you much about that sort of injury, you'll be better off seeing a specialist, maybe a Chiropractor. If riding is causing you more pain then I would stop riding until you get a better opinion. Good luck mate, hope you're able to get it sorted and able to get back onto the trails soon.
  3. the.forsaken

    the.forsaken Squid

    i have had some problems with my L4/5 discs after a lower back injury (a few years ago), approx 6 months ago I re-injured my back, after the usual couple of weeks treating it gently most activities were OK but riding my XC bike left me with painful sciatica down my right leg...before this re-injury I was riding 150-200k a week, worried I wouldn't be able to keep riding I went and saw a physio about it.

    They recommended a bunch of core strength building exercises and stretches, but also specifically to focus on stretching hamstrings before and after riding (and I think it has helped) - my flexibility was terrible, and it was putting more pressure on my back.

    Make sure your seat is the correct height, perhaps try some different seats or some riser bars if your position is a little too aggressive - also try and make sure you are riding straight on the bike. Probably best to talk to a physio or osteo specifically about exercises that will help with riding - but after a few bike geo tweaks and exercises you should be able to get back into the riding again!!
  4. Johnny Come Lately

    Johnny Come Lately Likes Dirt

    Chiropractor may or may not be of help. +1 is an osteopath and has had a micro-discectomy (spinal surgery). Depending on where you are, I can point you at a good sports physician who can give you appropriate advice and/or refer you to the best specialists.

    Remember, diagnosis on the net is less than worthless.
  5. Reubs

    Reubs Likes Bikes and Dirt

    All is not lost in regards to riding. Getting the right bike is key and i would hazard a guess that a fully ridgid XC bike is NOT the right choice.

    I would suggest that you find a patient person in a good bike shop that has a large variety of sizes and styles of bike for you to try out. Tell them what your issue is and see what they can suggest. You may have to visit many shops as every brand makes their bikes fit slightly different from the next.

    I'm having my 10th anniversary of 2 fractured vertebrae and 3 compressed discs next month. Not as bad as yours, but it certainly slowed me down for a number of years.
  6. BMCFatboy

    BMCFatboy Likes Bikes

    Back Injury Help

    Having spent the last decade with a herniated disc I can offer a little advise. Firstly you can't get too much medical advice! I agree with Forsaken re physio as they will treat core strength as well as stretches for hamstrings & glutes. You will be amazed at the affect your leg and bum muscles actually have on your lumbar region. Don't let anyone manipulate your spine as a bulging disc can be only mm from your spinal chord nerves and the slightest rubbing can turn your world into a whole lot of hurt. An inflamed nerve takes about 3 months to heal after the cause is removed!

    Next best advise is spend money and get yourself fitted on your bike professionally. I took up riding 5 yrs ago as my back had kept me inactive for a long time and I was sick of carrying extra weight. I gob down at least 8 panadeine forte every enduro race just to get to the finish. Finally after seeing a thread in this forum recently re bike set up I did my homework and set myself up properly on the bike. Result was I completed the Highland Fling yesterday without a single painkiller!

    Good luck.
  7. mittagongmtb

    mittagongmtb Likes Dirt

    Quick reply:

    • have suffered back pain last 30 years.
    • MRIs and cat scans look aweful - L4-5-6 veterbral canal stenosis from chronic disc herniation and ligament changes.Spinal canal looks like wine glass on mri.
    • pain can be unrelenting
    • best thing I did was to get my back muscles into proper condition following the advise and treament course by an exercise physiologist. They know which muscles to exercise and how. I wouldn't use anyone else.
    • was once unable to walk let alone ride - now ride very happily on a trance x1 and road bike and am now competing with absolutely no back pain. For an older bloke did well at the 1/2 Fling in top dozen or so for super masters. Back didn't hold me back at all. (Once upon a time I 'survived' on pain killers - up to oxycontin level and other concoctions.)
    Don't give up on riding - just get the right advice, be positive and work through with the right people the issues. Pain can mess your head up to so work with people who also understand teh depression that goes with chronic pain. Whatever you do - keep exercising - but get the right advise. (pm for more).
  8. proprod

    proprod Likes Dirt

    Gee thanks everyone for the advice, and yes I will keep getting the right information from the right people. Thanks again will keep update on how things go.
  9. Captain Sensible

    Captain Sensible Likes Dirt

    That is very wise advice. Very true: beware of your depression, it WILL come if you live in agony, and you may not realise it.

    I broke some vertebrae, ribs etc and had arthritis in my costovertebral spine at 21 years old. 12 years later I am in less pain, but I still don't manage it as well as I could. I guess the pain is manageable, but there have been many years when it wasn't and times when I could not walk. I ride lots now and enjoy it, I can only ride a full-suspension bike with flat pedals though.

    I wish you all the best, be patient with your pain, and it will teach you things you never thought you'd learn. Anyway, I've gotta go walk around a bit, my back hurts :D
  10. daever

    daever lunatic rant extraordinaire

    all I would advise is to see a physio, not a Chiropractor. Ones based on a degree, ones based on fluff. It's like seeing a "toothiologist" instead of a dentist for dental care.
  11. GDonehue

    GDonehue Likes Dirt

    That is perhaps true in some cases. My wife works in WorkCover as an Injury Management Advisor and is a Myotherapist by training (so a bachelor degree, but in Health Science), so she comes across all manner of treatments for pretty much every kind of back injury out there. Chiro's can be very aggressive in their treatment approach, which means that a bad Chiro can do more harm than good. There are some great chiro's out there though so look at their record, where they studied etc.

    My wife has said that the problem with physio's at the moment is the opposite approach in terms of treatment. Many think that just whacking on some electrodes and leaving you there for 30 mins is 'treatment' - they have not got the skill level or hands on treatment experience to get aggressive in their approach.

    I injured my back pretty badly two years ago and still spend about 3 days out of every ten in pain. You have to maintain activity and as said strengthen your core to really get on top of it, but also experiment with treatment. I have found that an acupuncturist I now use has been awesome in terms of pain management and likewise I found a physio who is prepared to really make me scream like a girl to get the job done. His treatment also includes being part of his strength course (no course, no treatment) and this got me from 8 days out of ten in pain down to 3. So my real advice is shop around and find what works for you.
  12. cramhobart

    cramhobart Likes Dirt

    Hi there, As as has already been pointed out, there are good and bad practitioners in all of the fields surrounding rehab of injuries. I work as a PT
    and deal with a lot of back rehab, a couple of years ago I broke a few helmets
    (note to self- your head is not a brake) which left me with a bulging disk between C5/6 and a nerve impingement to go along with it. My two cents worth is this. Find a sports medicine doctor- they deal with sporting injuries all day every day. Listen to what they have to say- they usually have aligned practitioners (physio, osteo etc) who are good at what they do. When you've completed rehab find a good PT(shameless plug) and learn to deadlift, core strength is important as has already been mentioned, but so is using the muscles in your back. Many cyclist and runners have really short hip flexors, which compromises posterior chain activation (particularly glutes) leaving them at risk to these types of injuries.
  13. MTBcrash

    MTBcrash Likes Bikes and Dirt

    I injured my back at work and was off for over 3 months. It was that bad that I thought I was never going to be able to go back to work. Needless to say, with the pain and the thought of a painful life ahead of me depression started to set in :(

    I ditched the first physio I had as she to put it bluntly was useless!!!!
    I sourced a good physio from other peoples recommendations, he used some of the electronic treatment on me but was more hands on doing gentle manipulation and teaching me core strength exercises. I had good results from him but felt there was still something 'missing' in the recovery process.

    Then I remembered a mate of mine who does Musculoskeletal Massage Therapy (forgive me on the spelling???) He had worked on injuries I have left untreated before and fixed them 100%. To get the right pressure deep in you he uses his elbow when he has to. It is painful treatment but in a good way :confused:

    Seeing him made all the difference.

    Personally I feel the combination of gentle manipulation, core strength exercises and this massage therapy was what got me back at work and back on my bike. The muscles are extremely traumatized with a serious back injury and need the massage therapy to reset themselves properly, physio alone is not enough. It still took me 8 - 12 months to be able to ride pain free for XC & DH but I took it easy and now several years later I have hardly any issues with it. There is still some disc protrusion but it doesn't seem to be an issue.

    Gentle manipulation
    Core strength exercises
    Good massage therapy (the deep and unfortunately painful kind not the happy ending type, although..... :D)
    Oh and swimming is helpful too

    Long winded I know, but those who have been there know how depressing it can be.

    Good luck with the recovery mate
  14. chev4fun

    chev4fun Squid


    Dude there is some fantastic advise here wish I had this years ago I have had ruptured discs had bulging discs years of waterskiing and snowboarding took its toll , though my worst injury was just starting the mower with and existing problem I actually passed out with pain . Even contemplated disc removal once . I have a good friend ex workcover and rehab manager who steered me in the right direction with excellent physios. An episode takes time to heal agree 3-6 months even 12 to get back sometimes find what works for you stay as fit as you can stay focused thats the hard part take extreme care early dont rush it work with your injury not against it find a positive hands on physio that works predominately in sports rehab . Best of luck I feel your pain hope you get back peddling pain free ! scott
  15. Johnny Come Lately

    Johnny Come Lately Likes Dirt

    Sorry...gotta call you on this. Physios do a 4 year degree, osteos and chiros do a 5 year degree. Whilst I agree that some chiros are very good at signing patients up to long-term programs, you need to have your facts straight before you spout uninformed rubbish.

    Physios are not the be and end all. Good practitioners in all these fields have their place.

    You need to look more at evidence-based treatment, experience and quals.

    (my +1 is an osteo)
  16. daever

    daever lunatic rant extraordinaire

    I just don't think there is alot of science behind what they do. They complete a 5 year degree because the governing body wants its associates to be at the doctorate level - which will, in some obscure way meld the profession into a form of medical legitimacy. It is still considered at best a "complimentary" medicine, which is a grade above "natural" and "alternative". Thats rubbish to me - medicine should be about science, not "subfluxations" and "innate intelligence" and all that bullshit chiropractic was founded on.

    I know my response will probably offend you, but I just want you to know, I'm not posting this to be an e-prick or cause I'm bored or trying to be spiteful to your +1 or anything immature like that, it's just what I believe to be the case with chiropractors. I can accept there are good ones out there that may adhere to more scientific and medically sound treatments, but the fundamentals and the philosophy of the practice is nothing I could ever agree with.
  17. Jubas

    Jubas Likes Dirt

    Absolutely spot on for my experience as well. Injured my back quite badly playing (proper) football when younger and spent about 2 years out of sport with 1 of those years being in Physio. Core stability is so critically important for bad backs it isn't funny.

    I'd be keeping hamstrings stretched, and buying an excercise/swiss ball. There's loads of info on the net about core stability exercises - just ask your medical advisers first to make sure it's ok :)
  18. Johnny Come Lately

    Johnny Come Lately Likes Dirt

    Sorry, you appear to have some knowledge, just not all. I've been having this same discussion with someone else and the discussion doesn't offend me or my +1 at all. I am not in favour of any treatments/practitioners that fail to submit themselves to efficacious testing or claim that scientific testing hasn't caught up with their treatments such as homeopathy; when they do receive this testing and show measurable outcomes, they move from "complementary" to just medicine. This is the case when osteo and chiro has been shown to give good outcomes to acute injuries but less or none in chronic injuries.

    This is where I agree with your view on chiropractors; they have a good business plan for "maintenance" plans. There is very little, if any, evidence that this has positive physical outcomes for the patient. On the flipside, osteos have the saying "Find it, fix it, leave it alone". Perhaps that's why chiros make shedloads of cash while my +1 only makes a fraction of them:eek:.

    PS. Chiros and Osteos don't do a "doctorate" in 5 years. It's a Masters. The doctor tag they carry is something my +1 also doesn't agree with (just like anyone who hasn't done a PHD)
  19. proprod

    proprod Likes Dirt

    Wow, What a response thank you every one, on all the advice.
    I should give a bit of back ground on my self so I might get so more good medicine . I have been doing core strength exercises and proper controlled body weight exercises (controlled breathing) now for over 3yrs, due to I was doing weight lifting and it was more of a toll on the body then any thing else. I have always been fit in body and mind since leaving school (over 19yrs ago).
    So yea now I will pursue what has been given here and make the best of healing, and over time find the right advice for what to ride when that time comes.
    If anyone else can help please do, not just for me but for others that may be reading this and being in the same predicament.

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