Will more travel help my back?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Will more travel help my back?

    I just got checked out for a achy lower back that's been off since I hurt it lifting something. The MRI shoes degenerative disc disease on my L4. I am currently riding a Pivot Mach Carbon that's super light with 115mm rear travel. I am wondering if getting a little more travel will help minimize the impact on my back. Things have been ok with the 115mm but rocky stuff is not so fun.
    I am assuming more travel would overall be better for my back in the long run, despite losing some climbing ability and gaining weight.

    I'm also thinking of going 29er for smoother ride. Are there other things I can do to help me not wreck my 40 year old self and increase longevity?

  2. #2
    C__Corax
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    moar travel is not gonna fix your back. Talking to your doctor will, I bet he says your core is weak, and you will have to work on it. it's what they told me in my late 30's. get that core strong bye bye back pain. Standing more when you ride helps a lot to strengthen and engage your core, which will help your back pain. Im not a doc but play one on tv, talk to yours please

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Igotsoul4u View Post
    I just got checked out for a achy lower back that's been off since I hurt it lifting something. The MRI shoes degenerative disc disease on my L4. I am currently riding a Pivot Mach Carbon that's super light with 115mm rear travel. I am wondering if getting a little more travel will help minimize the impact on my back. Things have been ok with the 115mm but rocky stuff is not so fun.
    I am assuming more travel would overall be better for my back in the long run, despite losing some climbing ability and gaining weight.

    I'm also thinking of going 29er for smoother ride. Are there other things I can do to help me not wreck my 40 year old self and increase longevity?

    sorry to hear.

    look at adrsupport.org or chirogeek.com good info there on backs.

    sitting is not a friend to ddd, even on a bike. honestly try standing more on the bike and use the exercise to warm you up and stop once warmed up to do some stretching. limberness is your friend, avoid strenuous situations or excessive exercise if you classify your back as being tight. gotta work that out first. once you get injured, the weakness tends to increase future weakness and more injury by destabilization. muscle tightness is a sign things are not happy look for lifestyle changes to minimize or eliminate that tightness. simple exercises everyday will help. my favorite is the back extension while leaning on an exercise ball. it allows you to focus on contracting the back muscles evenly as you roll up off the ball. the ball supports the lower regions of the back. you can also get a very nice traction stretch by rolling over the ball on your tummy and relaxing.


    for the really bad days, toss a futon mattress on the floor and self medicate with stretching and using tennis balls placed under your back to releasing muscle spasms. move the balls under the next worst spasm etc. dont do this in bed as it wrecks your mattress.


    the worst is an annular tear. a discography test is necessary to diagnose an annular tear. which itself puts a hole in the disc. the annular tear is very bad and leads first to micro discectomy and then to artificial disc replacement.

    if you want an annular tear, bend and twist to lift something heavy.

    average age for adr is 45years.


    good luck.

  4. #4
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    really, at 40 pretty much everyone has ddd to some extent. I agree with others who suggest seeking the advice of a specialist (i.e., neuro, etc.). As a 50+ YO mtbr with chronic lower back pain, I would say that additional travel will help up to a point. dragging around a dh on xc trails isn't going to do your back any favors. stretching good before/after riding. best thing that worked for me, after going full squish, was a dropper and using it all the time. forces you to stand a lot more which is much better on back. Also, you may want to avoid some of the more knarly stuff like rock gardens. Modify your riding to suit your condition. happy trails
    2015 Santa Cruz 5010 C

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jetta2010 View Post
    really, at 40 pretty much everyone has ddd to some extent. I agree with others who suggest seeking the advice of a specialist (i.e., neuro, etc.). As a 50+ YO mtbr with chronic lower back pain, I would say that additional travel will help up to a point. dragging around a dh on xc trails isn't going to do your back any favors. stretching good before/after riding. best thing that worked for me, after going full squish, was a dropper and using it all the time. forces you to stand a lot more which is much better on back. Also, you may want to avoid some of the more knarly stuff like rock gardens. Modify your riding to suit your condition. happy trails
    seems we all pretty much agree that standing is good.since you mentioned only ddd at one level that set of an alarm bell about a possible injury to that disc alone.when my back gets tight i take breaks to ride a little bit. in the winter i just do standing figure eights in my garage. that alone wakes up the core and frees up alot of tightness. but there are days only a slow walk is possible.good luck.

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