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  1. #1
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    Injured my back, planning to race CX Nationals on Thursday, Jan 8

    I re-arranged some furniture on Sunday afternoon. By Sunday evening, my lower back was very sore. On Monday, it was still quite sore, but I went for a ride anyway. It seemed to loosen up and feel better, so I did the planned interval training session.

    On Tuesday, there was significant pain in the central lower section of my back. The pain was severe enough that I couldn't bend over without sharp, stabbing pains and could not lift anything or do much besides sit, stand, or walk short distances.

    Yesterday, the pain was debilitating. I spent most of the day in a recliner with an ice pack every hour or so.

    I have signed up for and desperately want to race the CX Nationals one week from today on Thursday, Jan 8. I would like to be executing my training plan between now and then, but can't ride.

    The doesn't radiate down my legs or anywhere else, it's just in the center of my lower back. If I stand or sit with good posture, it doesn't hurt. If I bend, it hurts. If I bend and twist or try to lift anything, it is agonizing. I can't put on my own shoes or socks.

    I've had this multiple times in the past, though not frequently. Less than once per year. It always resolves on its own, it's just a matter of time.

    In this situation, though, I need the most rapid return to normal that is possible.

    If I go to a doctor, will they be able to speed healing? I don't want to go and spend a bunch of money only to be told "rest, relax, put ice on it". If they could prescribe something (steroid or something?) that would speed healing, I want to go. But I don't want to waste time/money if there's nothing they can do.

    Advice welcome!
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  2. #2
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    Sounds like you need an MRI .. either bulging disc or worse herniated. Any numbness down one side, lack of control of a foot? If so .. this is very serious and permanent nerve damage can result if not treated promptly. My SIL just went through a FOURTH back surgery and needs to have therapy to regain right foot function. I had lower back surgery 1999 and doing pretty good.

    SEE A DOCTOR .. and don't wait.

    EDIT: As for the surgery .. it was a breeze! I felt 100% better waking up from the surgery as the reason for the horrible pain .. pinching of the nerve is gone once the portion of the disc is removed. Prior to my surgery I was in SOooo much pain .. sitting was excruciating awful, standing hurt like the dickens .. I was miserable and the surgery gave me a new life, so don't listen to the nay sayers if a doctor says that you need it. Don't let anyone scare you from getting proper treatment.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    Sounds like you need an MRI .. either bulging disc or worse herniated. Any numbness down one side, lack of control of a foot? If so .. this is very serious and permanent nerve damage can result if not treated promptly. My SIL just went through a FOURTH back surgery and needs to have therapy to regain right foot function. I had lower back surgery 1999 and doing pretty good.

    SEE A DOCTOR .. and don't wait.

    EDIT: As for the surgery .. it was a breeze! I felt 100% better waking up from the surgery as the reason for the horrible pain .. pinching of the nerve is gone once the portion of the disc is removed. Prior to my surgery I was in SOooo much pain .. sitting was excruciating awful, standing hurt like the dickens .. I was miserable and the surgery gave me a new life, so don't listen to the nay sayers if a doctor says that you need it. Don't let anyone scare you from getting proper treatment.
    If it is not better in 3-5 days with rest, and light movement in slow deliberate fashion, see an MD. The above advise is a bazooka when all that is needed is a fly swatter. Back surgery has a pretty poor success rate in the best cases. This site seriously needs someone to screen the questions and advise given for incorrect or unhelpful information. I know you mean well and want to help, but this advise is a bit overkill and will likely lead to a nocebo

  4. #4
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    Ya know .. sometimes that flyswatter/bandaid doesn't fix the problem.

    As for the OP he said this time felt much worse than ever before. I went years dealing with back pain on and off until it was on more then it was off. Then it got so bad over a weekend that I KNEW I had to see a doctor. She noted loss of reflexes in one leg/foot and referred me to a specialist. Surgery was recommended because of the degree of herniation. I got my life back .. free of pain for the past 15 yrs.

  5. #5
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    My condition changed radically during the day yesterday - okay in the morning with moderate pain and periods of spiking pain, by noon I was in excruciating pain and called for an appointment but the Dr's office was closed for lunch, by the time they re-opened at 1:30 I felt fine and was considering trying to do a short, gentle ride after work to keep the legs moving. At 4pm, I had time to try a ride but had significantly more pain than I had just a couple hours earlier, so I got on the indoor spin bike instead of my cyclocross bike outoors. Within a minute or so, I was in significant pain. I did less than 2 minutes of no-pressure/no-power spinning and was back on the couch.

    The pain subsided and I was experiencing discomfort with some pain all evening. This morning, I'm stiff and sore and experiencing periodic pain.

    I made an appointment for 3pm. Am hoping for pain meds (have been taking Tylenol which is not providing the desired relief), a muscle relaxant, and a prescription for PT so I can try to avoid this in the future.

    I've given up on doing the tune-up races scheduled for this weekend. Still hoping to pre-ride the Nationals course in Boulder on Tuesday per the Nationals schedule and race on Thursday afternoon of next week.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

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    I am going through the same problem, Last year I was diagnose with a Disc Rupture, that I lost strenght in the left foot. and once in a while had pain from my lower left back(butt) all the way to the left side of my shin. I went through PT and Chiropractor and also check the Surgeon. The SUrgeon told me that if I can leave and do regular motion, no need of surgery.. PT and Chiropractor got me cycling and playing soccer again, however I just got a flare up again last week because I was doing work around the house kneeling and bending,
    Gera
    Specialized HR 29er

  7. #7
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    I blew a disc in 2007 and didn't find out what I'd done until late 2008. By then the disc was completely deflated and needed fusion. Getting diagnosed and protecting your back sooner is better. I still have some residual nerve damage and lost strength in my left leg. It's better now, but I wish I'd found out sooner and lost less time recovering. Here's the deal though, had I gone in right away (probably unlikely due multiple simultaneous injuries) I could have saved the disc and avoided the nerve damage and weakness.

  8. #8
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    I think it all depends in each case, I dont like surgeries if I can avoid them... I thing depends on how bad you feel. If I was you i wouldnt do the nationals because it is too soon. Races are always going to be there next year.. Good luck
    Gera
    Specialized HR 29er

  9. #9
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    Like Kris said, the doc will probably recommend an MRI. Only because you have done it several times before. I used to get the same thing every year, then more frequently and more painful. I was diagnosed with a herniated disc last year, and will have to get a fusion at some point since I just kept pushing through the pain.

    5 years ago, I would have said do the race. These days I think that is bad avice. Good luck.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  10. #10
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    Please, if you are not a medical professional, DO NOT give medical advice.

    Back pain (as you describe it) is not uncommon and 99% of the time, with lack of neuro involvement and trauma, will not require an MRI.

    You may benefit from medications from you MD, however, you are far better off seeing your Physical / Physio therapist and getting this taken care. The presentation that you describe will lend itself to a fairly quick and full recovery.

    An MRI would not likely do anything other than increase healthcare costs!
    With your current presentation, you are not likely a surgical candidate as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    Sounds like you need an MRI .. either bulging disc or worse herniated. Any numbness down one side, lack of control of a foot? If so .. this is very serious and permanent nerve damage can result if not treated promptly. My SIL just went through a FOURTH back surgery and needs to have therapy to regain right foot function. I had lower back surgery 1999 and doing pretty good.

    SEE A DOCTOR .. and don't wait.

    EDIT: As for the surgery .. it was a breeze! I felt 100% better waking up from the surgery as the reason for the horrible pain .. pinching of the nerve is gone once the portion of the disc is removed. Prior to my surgery I was in SOooo much pain .. sitting was excruciating awful, standing hurt like the dickens .. I was miserable and the surgery gave me a new life, so don't listen to the nay sayers if a doctor says that you need it. Don't let anyone scare you from getting proper treatment.
    BoiseBoy

  11. #11
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    "Please, if you are not a medical professional, DO NOT give medical advice." -uh, this forum wouldn't exist if people didn't give their uneducated opinions.

    And I don't think somebody suggesting that the OP see a doctor qualifies as medical advice. It's not like someone can order an MRI or do back surgery on their own. That being said, I wouldn't see a back doc who does surgery, as they will probably lean toward that option more than someone else would.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fuglio View Post
    You guys suck im all bummed now

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigSteve in CO View Post
    "Please, if you are not a medical professional, DO NOT give medical advice." -uh, this forum wouldn't exist if people didn't give their uneducated opinions.

    And I don't think somebody suggesting that the OP see a doctor qualifies as medical advice. It's not like someone can order an MRI or do back surgery on their own. That being said, I wouldn't see a back doc who does surgery, as they will probably lean toward that option more than someone else would.
    EXACTLY !!
    @ bold .. You see a GP/family doctor first and if the symptoms are severe enough indicative then you would be scheduled for a MRI to determine IF surgery is needed .. THEN recommended to find a specialist in your insurance for the surgery. Two people whom I know, one is the MIL to my youngest daughter and a friend in my bike riding group both fell on ice the same week injuring their backs. The guy had back surgery over a week ago which was discovered the injury was more severe than what the MRI indicated. He wanted a FIX .. not years of ongoing therapy and my daughter's MIL is ANXIOUSLY waiting for surgery because she is THAT miserable (like I was 15 years ago) If you have never been in my shoes with this kind of debilitating pain then you don't KNOW what you are talking about .. I DO .. have been there and done that and I have no regrets.
    I GOT MY LIFE BACK WITHOUT THE DAILY PAIN.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoiseBoy View Post
    Please, if you are not a medical professional, DO NOT give medical advice.

    Back pain (as you describe it) is not uncommon and 99% of the time, with lack of neuro involvement and trauma, will not require an MRI.

    You may benefit from medications from you MD, however, you are far better off seeing your Physical / Physio therapist and getting this taken care. The presentation that you describe will lend itself to a fairly quick and full recovery.

    An MRI would not likely do anything other than increase healthcare costs!
    With your current presentation, you are not likely a surgical candidate as well.
    Spinal injuries do not show up on xrays. Only an MRI can identify and they ARE necessary if there is lack of flexion in a foot, shooting pain down one leg as that is indicative of pressure on the nerve. If left too long permanent damage to the nerve can result. My son in law just before Thanksgiving went through EXCRUCIATING pain and could not move his right foot. His doctor scheduled him for surgery ASAP before permanent nerve damage was done. Josh is going through therapy now to regain foot movement. At the onset the doctor wasn't sure that he would regain full function of the foot. Thank God Josh got the surgery when he did because now it is believed that he will gain full function.

  14. #14
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    Injured my back, planning to race CX Nationals on Thursday, Jan 8

    Does it get better if you walk? Hurt when you sit upright? Can be muscular.


    Fra iPhone

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mykle View Post
    Does it get better if you walk? Hurt when you sit upright? Can be muscular.


    Fra iPhone
    It hurt like hell when I sat and it wasn't muscular. Mine was herniated. It really depends on which disc and where it is pinching the nerve. Also sitting positions in cars with bucket seats that offer little lumbar support can aggravate adding to the pain. Being overweight will greatly stress the lower back and one big reason that I stay thin or get on a diet to get it back where I feel better. Exercise is very important to maintain muscle strength to support the spine properly. But I also have bad knees, reconstruction on the left knee 1977 which has miraculously held up this long. I am limited to what I can do. Extended walking is out, but biking is low impact and works best for me.

    Back on topic with the OP. I hope the best for him, but from what he has stated I doubt that the race he wants to compete in would be a good idea. He is really ripe for further injury. Hope I am wrong on that.

  16. #16
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    Again, please leave medical advice to medical professionals.

    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    Spinal injuries do not show up on xrays.

    Wong! Xrays will show many things, such as fractures, DDD, DJD, Spondy's, scoliosis etc...

    Only an MRI can identify and they ARE necessary if there is lack of flexion in a foot, shooting pain down one leg as that is indicative of pressure on the nerve.

    Again, you are not completely correct. It is Dorsiflexion of the foot, however, any area of the leg can be involved in regards to weakness. Research indicates that one needs around 80% compression through a nerve root to become fatigably weak in its key muscles. The pain down the leg does not have to do with the pressure on the nerve, but the inflammation around the nerve, from any injury or injured local structure. Shooting pain down the leg is not a reason to have an MRI or surgery.

    Furthermore, a famous study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that 52% of all persons, who had no back or leg complaints, had pathology to their lumbar spine per MRI. MRi's can be helpful, however, they are often worthless and expensive.

    If left too long permanent damage to the nerve can result. My son in law just before Thanksgiving went through EXCRUCIATING pain and could not move his right foot. His doctor scheduled him for surgery ASAP before permanent nerve damage was done. Josh is going through therapy now to regain foot movement. At the onset the doctor wasn't sure that he would regain full function of the foot. Thank God Josh got the surgery when he did because now it is believed that he will gain full function.

    I may hove missed it, but I believe the OP has not mentioned anything about neuro deficits in his legs. Your family member comparison is apples and oranges.
    I responded to each of your points above, in the body of your note.
    BoiseBoy

  17. #17
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    This is the problem: "Sounds like you need an MRI .. either bulging disc or worse herniated". This is you diagnosing somebody, which you have no business doing.

    I would also suggest doing some research on "failed back syndrome" or "chronic pain".

    Due to the high number of surgeries, the high failure rate, and the amount spent on these medical conditions, most healthcare / insurance systems will require (unless significant neuro deficits are noted) the patient to trial conservative treatments, including, Physical / Physio Therapy, meds, injections etc. prior to seeing a neuro surgeon.

    I am happy that you had a good outcome, Kris, but your experience is almost the exception.

    Quote Originally Posted by kris7047th View Post
    EXACTLY !!
    @ bold .. You see a GP/family doctor first and if the symptoms are severe enough indicative then you would be scheduled for a MRI to determine IF surgery is needed .. THEN recommended to find a specialist in your insurance for the surgery. Two people whom I know, one is the MIL to my youngest daughter and a friend in my bike riding group both fell on ice the same week injuring their backs. The guy had back surgery over a week ago which was discovered the injury was more severe than what the MRI indicated. He wanted a FIX .. not years of ongoing therapy and my daughter's MIL is ANXIOUSLY waiting for surgery because she is THAT miserable (like I was 15 years ago) If you have never been in my shoes with this kind of debilitating pain then you don't KNOW what you are talking about .. I DO .. have been there and done that and I have no regrets.
    I GOT MY LIFE BACK WITHOUT THE DAILY PAIN.
    BoiseBoy

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoiseBoy View Post
    This is the problem: "Sounds like you need an MRI .. either bulging disc or worse herniated". This is you diagnosing somebody, which you have no business doing.

    I would also suggest doing some research on "failed back syndrome" or "chronic pain".

    Due to the high number of surgeries, the high failure rate, and the amount spent on these medical conditions, most healthcare / insurance systems will require (unless significant neuro deficits are noted) the patient to trial conservative treatments, including, Physical / Physio Therapy, meds, injections etc. prior to seeing a neuro surgeon.

    I am happy that you had a good outcome, Kris, but your experience is almost the exception.
    NO .. it most certainly ISN'T. I have a fair amount of friends and my son in law who most definitely benefited from the surgery. What is YOUR experience ?? Your age? Are you a doctor .. in the medical field? Because back issues are very common with people my age 50's-60's .. degenerative disc disease (Growing old) is what my doctor told me. I only speaking from experience .. NOT TELLING the OP what to do .. ONLY HIS DOCTOR CAN DO THAT. But .. depending upon the severity of his pain I DO advise him to SEE a doctor .. and do what HE advises.

    Now can we just drop this ?? I suspect the OP is smart enough to know what to do anyways.

  19. #19
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    The pain was not chronic - it was the result of a particular activity that strained things (muscles? ligaments? tendons?) in my lower back. I specifically said no pain down the legs.

    This has happened before and always resolved. My primary question was whether a visit to a doctor could help speed healing.

    Since I was determined to race, I wanted faster healing. Since my medical deductible is >$4,000, I didn't want to go pay a doctor a couple hundred $$ to tell me "take it easy, you'll get over it". I was confident that taking it easy would result in my getting over it. The question was all about speed.

    I went to a doctor a week ago Thursday, was told the pain was probably primarily from muscle cramps, prescribed cyclobenzaprine (muscle relaxant), told to use heat instead of ice. A little better on Friday, a little better Saturday, terrible pain on Sunday morning but then much better in the afternoon, definitely better on Monday and able to ride outdoors, continued improving on Tuesday and Wednesday. Raced on Thursday, did not do well, but many factors. Riding the couch for a week was not good prep, I was extremely cautious due to wanting to stay on 2 wheels in the ice/snow/mud, went out too hard and burned too many matches on the first lap, suboptimal tire choice, etc.

    Anyway, I'm about back to normal now. I don't know if the doctor visit and RX helped or not. I might have gotten better in the same time frame without the drugs. There's no way to know.

    The doctor ordered an x-ray. I asked what she would do with the result of an x-ray - would it make a difference in the treatment? She replied it would not. I declined the x-ray.

    Which was incredibly similar to an event in my wife's life last year. She woke up with pain in her shoulder and a lump. We went to a doctor who basically did the same thing - prescribed a muscle relaxant. But she ordered an MRI. I asked the same question -- will it make a difference in the treatment? And she said "no". We declined the MRI. My wife recovered and is doing fine.

    I hope more patients will ask "will the results of the test change the treatment?" If the answer is "no", there's no need for the test.
    '13 Spec Epic 29er, '09 Orbea CX, '12 Cannondale SuperSix, '08 Spec Transition, '06 Simtra Trials (sold), Yamaha YZ450 (sold)

  20. #20
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    I am really happy for you !!

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