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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Reputation: swingset's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Riding with a pinched nerve.

    As the title suggests, been fighting a pinched nerve in my neck/back. At first the symptoms seemed to suggest C5 (numbness and tingling in my shoulder and delt), but then within a week it seemed to move to about every area of my spine - tingling down the sciatic nerve in my leg, numbness in both thumbs, and tightness in the muscles of my back. The good is, no pain or real limited range of motion, it's mostly a tight feeling and numbness in the extremities. So, I haven't felt like an invalid...but it's still a concern.

    X-rays showed nothing, doctor hasn't ordered an MRI wants me to wait it out thinks it's muscle and I tend to agree with that I don't think all my discs decided to bulge at once and I've had no injuries or back problems before (42, in good health btw), but it brings me to riding. He suggested the normal therapy, stretching, heat, NSAID's and staying active. Active is an open word, right? I mean, mountain bikes are active. Well, he did mention something about not bouncing around like a pogo stick but I took that to mean don't crash.

    Anywho, I've stayed on my workout but dialed back the intensity and weight, and I admit I've done a few light rides since the recuperation began, and I felt great discomfort at all but I've noticed the next day it's like ALL the symptoms kind of flare up for a day or so, then back to mild.

    I'm having a hard time figuring out if I'm setting myself back or working through it and doing my body a favor. Anyone dealt with this and have any insight?
    "Wait, this thing doesn't have a motor?" - Socrates

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    I can tell you from experience that back injuries are some of the longest, most painful injuries to recover from. It can take well in excess of 6 months to heal properly, but the catch 22 is that they won't heal quickly without being stretched and used (re: ligaments and muscles). In short, while it sounds like the doc is copping out and saying, 'exercise, but don't exercise too much', it really boils down to intelligent exercise. Stretch every day, first thing when you wake up, if you can, even if you don't otherwise work out. You really shouldn't gamble with the increased chance of a crash making the problem worse.

    I have noticed that riding in a more hunched over position (like on my road bike) leads to exacerbating the issue. Maybe slow down for a bit and smell the roses? If you have a bike more apt for cruising, it may do your body good to get in a more relaxed position and take it easy for a while.

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    I've got a nerve issue, not in my back but in my hip. My femural nerve is trapped between a ligament and my pelvic bone, known as meralgia paresthetica. It's incredibly painful at times. Doc gave me the same spill about working out but said no biking for at least a month until it calms down. Only problem is he said it'll probably be reoccurring for the rest of my life and any squatting bending motion at the hips will set it off. I'm currently on my second week of rest and we are having awesome riding weather and it is driving me insane! Good luck to you and just keep listening to the doc.

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