Results 1 to 17 of 17

Thread: blown disc

  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    42

    Bonking ... not feelin' well blown disc

    hi all, my L5-S1 disc was pinching off the sciatic nerve. started out a "piriformis syndrome" symptoms then progressed to "can't walk or stand on left leg" over about 3 months of chiropractic care. i had my discectomy on july 10. however, i was under the impression that the disc, once ruptured was very prone to re-rupturing and that returning to the mountain bike (and crashing) was a really bad idea. has anyone recovered from this to ride MTB again or should i be shopping for that Catrike.

  2. #2
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    I ruptured a disk in February (check this forum) and am back riding 99% now. The first 12 weeks were really tough but it improved quickly after that. I back off the last 1% but I think that will come. It just means I bail on the very toughest climbs instead of doing the last power stroke while compressed. I still have some piriformis tightness and occasional cramps down the sciatic nerve but it seems not to be exacerbated by MTBing.

    I found that singlespeeding was surprisingly helpful since it got me out of the saddle and using leg muscles instead of back muscles. Straight back == happiness.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    225

    Hope you're back to riding soon

    No pun intended. Good luck with the rehab.

    As for your question, it's different for everyone. A friend of mine had his first surgery after enduring the same symptoms you described. He recovered quickly and was pain free. A year later, he ruptured the disc above the original injury. He had a second surgery. Now three years later, I was informed that he ruptured a disc again (same disc as second surgery).

    Being in the orthopedic field, you would think that he would have stuck with the core strengthening exercises and kept his weight in check, but he didn't. In retrospect, he feels that if he had not gained sooo much weight and stuck with a fitness plan, he wouldn't be where he is today.

    I hope your recovery is speedy and you never have a recurrence. Nothing sucks worse than back pain. I injured my SI joint years ago while deadlifting and it stills gives me grief. I need to be vigilant with the stability ball/core work and stretching.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BoiseBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    706

    Sorry

    Quote Originally Posted by endoh
    hi all, my L5-S1 disc was pinching off the sciatic nerve. started out a "piriformis syndrome" symptoms then progressed to "can't walk or stand on left leg" over about 3 months of chiropractic care. i had my discectomy on july 10. however, i was under the impression that the disc, once ruptured was very prone to re-rupturing and that returning to the mountain bike (and crashing) was a really bad idea. has anyone recovered from this to ride MTB again or should i be shopping for that Catrike.
    My condolences on your back issue.
    I would like to clear a thing or two up before I answer your questions. First off, Your L5S1 disc cannot pinch your Sciatic Nerve, it can comprress one of the nerve roots that later leads to your Sciatic nerve though. Your "Piriformis Syndrome" was likely due to an L5-S1 instability with the HNP and the fact that it was facilitating your L5 Joint/Nerve Root leading to the Piriformis tension and possibly spasms. This is why, no matter how much soft tissue work or stretching work was performed, your sx's never got better in the Piriformis/Sciatic areas.
    One other avenue that you may have opted for was not Chiropractic, which likely wasted three months, but possibly PT, and/or prolotherapy if the instability was great enough. Many Discal injuries begin as a segmental instability. Having a Chiropractor manipulate a joint that is already unstable only adds to the pathology and progresses the disc pathology. Stabilizing your L5 - S1 segment was probably the best thing for you to do in this case.

    Depending on the Discectomy, they may have taken only a small herniated portion, or they may have even taken out the entire disc from that level depending on it's severity and progression of the disease process.
    The disc is compromised of a very fibrouse and hydrophilic material. Depending on the amount of the surgical procedure performed, you may be in just as much or as little risk of injury as before you had your sx's. The things to consider now are the fact that you may have even more of a segmental instability from decreased disc height that may deminish the ligamentous stability and the inhibition of the Multifdus musculature, especially at the incision site.

    So what does this all mean to you? I would find a good PT who is a manual therapist, possibly one that your surgeon recommends. Make sure he/she knows what goes into mountain biking and make sure that you stabilize the Hell out of that joint level. If the instability persists, you may want to look into prolotherapy. Prolotherapy is a series of injections that essentially scars down an unstable joint attempting to accomplish what your body is not able to do, stabilize your L5 - S1 segment.
    This is the route that I take with the majority of my patients and especially the ones that are cyclists. I work with a Chiropractor and fortunately he has the same team views as I. If there is a joint that needs a manipulation that I cannot offer, he will perform it, however, he knows that the highway to recovery is not to manipulate the already unstable joints, it is to stabilize the unstable culprits.

    Good luck with your recovery and keep us in the loop.
    BoiseBoy

  5. #5
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Posts
    42
    Thanks for the insights everybody. Boise Boy, I'm printing your response to discuss with the doc. Unfortunately, my surgeon was chosen based on immediate availability, not for his ability to explain and discuss things. But he was able to take pressure off the nerve root, so he gets mad props, if you will. It's apparent to me now that my normal routine of daily ab work and stretching did not produce a stable core and I need to learn some new tricks. I'll be googling that later.

  6. #6
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    HNP = ???

    what can you do to 'stabilize the hell out of that joint level'?
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  7. #7
    mtbr member
    Reputation: BoiseBoy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    706
    Quote Originally Posted by pinkheadedbug
    HNP = ???

    what can you do to 'stabilize the hell out of that joint level'?
    You make sure that the Transverse Abd and the segmental Multifidi at that level is well coordinated, strong, and well conditioned.
    BoiseBoy

  8. #8
    mtbr member
    Reputation: trojaninsomniac's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Posts
    65
    Good luck with the recovery. BoiseBoy has some fantastic advice.

    I had a microdiscectomy in early Oct. of last year. I was back on the bike in late February after busting my ass at PT and stabilizing my core. So far, all's well. I continue to do a lot of work at the gym emphasizing the core. Hopefully, I'll never have to go through that $#it again!

  9. #9
    mtbr member
    Reputation: ChrisH.'s Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    34
    I had a disc-ectomy on April 1st (large herniation L5-S1). I missed about 6 weeks of training in all. I was back on the bike for short road rides in just 16 days. My first mountain bike ride was about 5 weeks post-op.
    It's been about 4 months since surgery and I am training and racing hard as ever. Of course I have made an effort to increase my core strength, correct my posture both on and off the bike, and I contract my trans. abs when ever climbing or on tech. sections etc.
    I have had a few crashes but no re-injury issues.
    Good luck with your recovery!!!

  10. #10
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    11
    I have recurring Sciatic nerve problems as well.
    While I continue to do my stretching and core strengthening, I am also considering getting a new Bike.
    I have a older hard-tail (Rock Hopper) I am considering getting a 2006 Specialized Enduro that my LBS has on a blow out sale
    Will the full suspension bike with the kind of travel an Enduro has help with my lower back issues?

  11. #11
    mtbr member
    Reputation: sikocycles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,607
    I herniated my L5S1 also in June of 2005. A few toes went numb, right calf lost its strength and real bad sciatica pain. Went to 3 doc and 2 MRIs and it was a herniation. Then went to Dr Sarno and he said it was "TMS" read his book and worked on what was bothering me and now I am pain free for 2 years. Did not have the surgery that the other doctors wanted to do. Was it the right thing to do? Who knows but I did not want surgery.

  12. #12
    mtbr member
    Reputation: LeiniesRed's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    55
    Firebird:

    Yes! us older (not old) mt. bikers often find that the full suspension bikes make a BIG difference in the pain factor by the end of the trail. Today's full suspension bikes really don't weight much more than the classic hardtail bikes of yesteryear.

    Let's see, my 1988 Jamis Diablo rigid commuter Mt. bike with panniers, rack, fenders and lights tips in at a "big boned" 42 pounds while my full suspension 2003 Specialized Epic bike weighs in at a more reasonable 27 pounds.
    Last edited by LeiniesRed; 08-21-2007 at 07:49 AM.

  13. #13
    Out there
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    2,307
    I blew my L5S1 in February of 2007 (it had been going for a while) but six months later I am at 98-99%. It was the most disabled I've ever been from an injury, unable to walk or drive or sit for several weeks. I still get a little muscle tightness in one leg but basically I am back. The key for me is posture. I'm amazed at how far I have recovered considering how injured I felt.
    All problems in mountain biking can be solved by going faster, except the ones that are caused by going too fast.

  14. #14
    on the path most traveled
    Reputation: sponger's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    395
    I saw my MRI this morning and I could not believe how herniated my L5 is. It was like 3-4X worse than the google MRI examples I had looked at the night before. It looks like disc material is just spewing out all over the place. The doc said he sees about 1-2 /month that are that bad, but he sees like 5-6 patients a day.

    So, he referred me to a surgeon and I guess I just wait to see what he says. The doc said maybe I should get injections to calm the pain down while waiting for the injury to hopefully heal.

    Funny thing is that I've been riding out on the trails with minimal pain. I'll actually sometimes feel a little better afterwards. It's like the adrenaline from riding has a sort of a pain-killing effect.

    But, now that I've seen how bad the injury is, I don't know if I should keep riding or just take it easy for a few months. Pisses me off too because I just bought this bike and I friggen love it. Then again I don't want to end up in a wheelchair or pissing through a tube.

  15. #15
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    373
    Sponger, it's funny that you mention the comparison to the google images results. I had exactly the same experience with that. The doctor put up the MRI and went "woah!".

    It's good that you're able to still ride. I find sitting at all uncomfortable, so riding is still very limited, although exercise definitely does decrease the pain through whatever mechanism.

    I also have a new-ish bike that I'm dying to ride...it's incredibly frustrating, but I guess you just have to keep focused on the things that you can do to help the situation and not do anything to make it worse.

    Good luck with everything, and let us all know how it goes with the surgeon...I'm always curious to hear about others in similar situations.

  16. #16
    on the path most traveled
    Reputation: sponger's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    395
    Quote Originally Posted by ebarker9
    Sponger, it's funny that you mention the comparison to the google images results. I had exactly the same experience with that. The doctor put up the MRI and went "woah!".

    It's good that you're able to still ride. I find sitting at all uncomfortable, so riding is still very limited, although exercise definitely does decrease the pain through whatever mechanism.

    I also have a new-ish bike that I'm dying to ride...it's incredibly frustrating, but I guess you just have to keep focused on the things that you can do to help the situation and not do anything to make it worse.

    Good luck with everything, and let us all know how it goes with the surgeon...I'm always curious to hear about others in similar situations.
    Well, the surgeon said there's little he could do for me because there was a possibility that the disc would be become herniated again after he dissects the herniated portion.

    He referred me to a surgeon who does fusions and replacements, so I'm going to wait for what he says.

  17. #17
    mtbr member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    1
    Well I am 38 and had a disc fusion with titanium screwdriver and plates and riding a bike is very difficult. Due to having to bend over and afraid of falling so I sold my two mb's and have just had Utah trimester build me a custom catrike expedition. I test road one last week and was able to ride with no pain. So that being said I am going to the trike side of riding. So I can keep doing what I love. Go trikes!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •