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  1. #1
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    Chronic Pain and getting back to riding

    After reading over this forums it seems like quite a few have been to hell and hopefully back with some of the injuries you have suffered. I was 26 when I hurt my back at work. . In June of 2010 I had two lower back surgeries, the first was done hours after meeting with a neurosergeon due too severe nerve damage, pain, and I was starting to lose control over certain bodily functions. As a result of complications of the first surgery I had to undergo another one about ten days after the first one. It took nine months of pysical therapy to regain most of the strength in my legs but it seems the nerve damage is permanent. It mostly causes pain in my legs and lower back and some numbness. I have been taking a lot pain meds for the last two years but still havnt put any miles on the trails. I desperatly want to get back to my hobby that I love, thinking about old times riding with friends has gotten me through some tough times. But I often ask myself if I should be trail riding while taking heavy narcotics and prexisting back injuries. At this point I am trying to take it really slowly, just riding up and down the block has been some what of a big acomplishment for me. I would really like to hear from anyone who has come back from a bad injury particularly ones that still deal with pain day to day. I would really appreciate anyones feedback. Thank you.

  2. #2
    Trip the Bike Fantastic
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    I know what it feels like.

    I'm really sorry to hear about all of your pain, I feel you, and want to share some of my own experience. I'm dealing with chronic pain myself - it's been 3 years since I was able to get on a bike, or run, or be anywhere near as active as I once was.

    It happened for me during an abdominal surgery, when a few nerves were damaged that run into my pelvis. I am now in constant pain - some days it's a 8, some days it's a 3. Have been trying to get back ever since, including meds, physical therapy, nerve blocks, acupuncture, TENS, and now 2 surgeries from a specialist on the other side of the country (still on bedrest from the second).

    Having a chronic pain is my new extreme endurance event, it's emotionally and physically brutal, and I don't know exactly where it ends. I am doing my best to just focus on getting through one month at a time, to "be here now' and look just to the goals ahead of me rather than the peak abilities I want to have again. Right now that's to heal from surgery, improve my diet, and get back in a pool.

    I still have my bikes I'm not ready to get rid of them. But sometimes I wonder whether I should cash out and sell them. It's hard some days, and I miss riding trails more than anything. Up to the point when I went into that first surgery, riding my bike was the thing I most identified with and even thrived on. It influenced so much in my life - where I lived, who I hung out with, what I did for a living, what I spent my money on. Dealing with not being a rider and living in Marin County completely surrounded by bike culture has been a long and hard process. I still am working hard to get back riding again as I did before, but continually dealing with the possibility that just might not happen - and I want to make the best of it either way and move on.

    Thanks for the opportunity to respond and share my own experience. You are not alone out there. In fact, there are a lot of people like us - just not posting on the thread! For example,Tara Llanes is a huge inspiration to me, she helps motivate me to get riding again. I hope that you find a way to regain the ability to bike or else what biking brought you - in a way that works for you. If meds can help you do that, it's something to consider - you have to figure that out yourself. But maybe you have or can find other new or rediscovered things that are rewarding and fulfilling and make you happy in the meantime. Hikes, kayaking, photography, wildcrafting? There is an awesome world out there and much to do.

    Keep up the good work, I wish you happiness, good health and an ease in your pain.

    May we ride again!

  3. #3
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    First of all thank you so much for your response, it really does mean a lot to hear from you and about your experiences. Chronic pain is truly a endurance event, although it doesnt really end it does get better. I have two mountain bikes that I love and refuse to sell them but I do think about selling them sometimes. I could certainly use the money. But what would I do with the money proabably just pay some medical bills. The thought of that is just depressing to me, the bikes still bring me so much happiness even not being able to ride much at all just looking at them makes me happy.
    I had my two back surgries in 2010 and have already come so far there have been many setbacks but thats life. I am progressivly working towards being able to ride more and greater distances. Mountain biking will never be the same for me but I know every time I am able to get back on the trails it will be a great day for me.

  4. #4
    mtbr dismember
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    Spinal cord stimulator

    Spinal cord stimulators have done wonders for some people with chronic pain.

  5. #5
    Trip the Bike Fantastic
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    Hi Steve, you're someone who's battled pain for a long time. I know you also know what it feels like to be unable to ride - maybe even not knowing for sure whether you'll be able to again. I enjoyed riding with you at Annadale years ago, and love reading your posts about hitting Tahoe these days. I'm really happy that you are riding again.

    The suggestion about spinal cord stimulators is really interesting. I do know that there's a lot of research going into neurotransmission of pain and new medications and treatments coming out all the time. They offer a lot of promise and I hope that the research continues to show success and help people in need.

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