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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
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    Herniated cervical disc and mtb'ing

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    Hi all.
    Brief history:
    I've been having arm and upper back pain since late-September. It's worse when I ride my bike or use the computer. Knots through my traps and major pain in triceps, tingling at the ulner nerve and up into my wrist, thumb, index, and middle fingers.
    I'd been seeing my chiro for some active release therapy, without much relief. So I went to see my MD who put me on muscle relaxers without much relief. So I went to see a orthopedic guy who x-rayed me (poker straight neck, but otherwise normal). He put me on prednisone for 2 weeks without much relief. Ortho orders nerve conduction test for carpal tunnel syndrome. Normal. Ortho orders an MRI. Lo and behold "multilevel degenerative disc disease." Bulging in C3-4 and C4-5 and a herniation in C5-6. Severe stenosis (narrowing) of the opening for the nerve.
    Source of the ouch found.
    So I'm on daily traction with my chiro until I get my "home kit" and can hang myself in the comfort of my own home. Ortho said "no restrictions" but I've been avoiding mountainbiking - I road bike rarely lately and am feeling it in the cardio and on the scale! So far, it still hurts my arm when I ride, so rides are short. Chiro strongly advices against mtb'ing at this point and as for skiing says "no bumps" - which is fine, as I hate moguls - and (helpfully) "Trees are okay - just don't hit them!"
    But....
    what are the chances of my EVER going mountainbiking again? I mean - nothing crazy, just riding some nice singletrack, maybe over a small log or rock or two. I don't do crazy, but I don't want to ride my dualie on a bikepath, either.
    Have any of you had a herniated disc and continued to mtb? I don't want to risk long-term damage. Ortho said it won't heal, per se, but I can go to an asymptomatic state. But would mtb'ing wreck that?
    Advice, words of wisdom are welcome!
    Thanks....
    Last edited by 7rider; 12-14-2006 at 05:56 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Tustin, CA
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    1,308
    I have basically been dx with the same condition only at L4-L5. The doctor told me riding (both road and mtb) are Ok cause anything that keeps my back in a flexed condition is good. Ramrod straight activities like hiking no good. Just need to keep my activities in reason.

    And I am assuming you have discussed your chiropractic treatments with your ortho doctor and he's said that's OK? With Stenosis you generally have to watch doing anything that might further inflame or irritate the muscles around the spine or the spinal cord and canal itself. I wouldn't think of such treatments at this time until the ortho has had an opportunity to do first steroid injections etc. Remember never fool around with cervical issues. One mistake and you can become a quadraplegic! Make sure you discuss this with your doctor.
    BCIpam - Nature Girl

  3. #3
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    Jul 2006
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    Looking at all the love there that's sleeping
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    Thanks. Yeah, I've discussed this with my Dr.
    He said I have three options for treatment:
    1. Traction.
    2. Epidural steroid injection.
    3. Surgery.
    #'s 2 and 3 are not thrilling for me. I'm holding the prescription for the injection in case I reeeeally need it, but I'm using that as a last resort (surgery is off the table unless things go extreme). He knows I'm seeing my chiro for traction (she is not doing adjustments on my neck) and he's fine with that, and I'm actually getting the home kit from him on his recommendation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,940
    Regina, the DH has three herniated dics in his neck. Two out of three neurosurgeons wanted to operate because he had partial paralysis in his right bicep. We finally went to U of Penn, a great hospital in Philly. The head of Neuro there said no surgery, build strength back...which he has. He skis, mt bikes, crashes etc, and he is fine.

    I know everybody is different, but his situation looked pretty dire at first. Get some other opinions, and I am sure that my DH would say...ride on...

    Ruth

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    the foggy wetlands,los osos,ca
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    2,863
    I have to agree with rocknrollgirl. My husband and i have suffered from multiple back problems for years. I have heard on a constant basis the muscle building is the biggest help. I hate steroids and would avoid them like the plague. They will make you gain weight, disturb sleeping and can make you agressive. I took them for a rash once and it just about drove me insane. Never again!
    I do muscle stuff for my neck and it has lessended my problems as well as my dh has done stuff for he's lower back and it has helped as well. Of coarse i am going through a numb arm at night thing right now.
    Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not be bent out of shape.
    > Remember to appreciate all the different people in your life!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Houston, Texas.
    Posts
    154
    Quote Originally Posted by Brandi View Post
    I do muscle stuff for my neck and it has lessended my problems as well as my dh has done stuff for he's lower back and it has helped as well.
    I've been having issues with my neck lately since I've started training for the race season. I think it's because I'm in a different position on my bike and perhaps my muscles are weaker in that area. I was in the shower the other day and somehow developed a crick in my neck...this is the second time in the last two months. What muscle work do you do for your neck?
    Life is what we make it, always has been, always will be. ~Grandma Moses

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Vermont
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    269
    Quote Originally Posted by Artisan View Post
    What muscle work do you do for your neck?
    Physical therapy may be another option.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    1
    I have similar neck problems and have had good success with a nerve root block for pain. They are kind of tricky and I would only have it done at a center where they use X-Ray to hit the right spot because if they miss it's pretty much a waste of money and not a comfortable procedure either. I previously had a ruptured disc at C5-C6 and had a fusion and was able to continue biking for two years. However, continuing disk degeneration and cervical stenosis had pretty much made it impossible to ride last year. I had six months of relief from a nerve root block. I would think with the condition of your neck, you doctor would frown on your being on a MTB. Have you thought of turning things down a notch and going for a road bike before you are unable to ride at all? I didn't listen to the warnings they gave me, thought I was invincible, and am now paying the piper. BTW, the road bike I ride is more upright which also takes stress off my neck. Hope this helps. Just trying to tell you to listen to what your body is trying to tell you.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    176
    Been there, doing that... C2-5 all confirmed herniated since 1992. Numbness on and off in both hands, still was riding MTB and commuting daily on the road bike until my accident last September. Just need to listen to your body. Make sure you keep up with stomach strengthening to keep it equal to back. Follow your doc's advice. Good luck.
    "Do or do not. There is no "try." Yoda

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Between the Blue Ridge and the Chesapeake Bay
    Posts
    5,226
    I've not been diagnosed with neck problems, but with hip and lower back problems. Holding myself funny in response to my hip/lower back did result in pain in my neck (which is a real pain in the neck!). My chiropractor suggested pilates to strengthen my core to better support my whole spine. It has helped tremendously. I started very slowly with a very good pilates teacher. I sought out a true pilates studio where they only do pilates and cater to dancers because I've had some bad experiences in gyms with pilates-type classes that are not real pilates.

    It might not be all you need, but it might help. I hope you feel better soon.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    On my bike
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    Quote Originally Posted by tulip View Post
    I've not been diagnosed with neck problems, but with hip and lower back problems. Holding myself funny in response to my hip/lower back did result in pain in my neck (which is a real pain in the neck!). My chiropractor suggested pilates to strengthen my core to better support my whole spine. It has helped tremendously. I started very slowly with a very good pilates teacher. I sought out a true pilates studio where they only do pilates and cater to dancers because I've had some bad experiences in gyms with pilates-type classes that are not real pilates.

    It might not be all you need, but it might help. I hope you feel better soon.
    Lower back & neck pain tend to go together. I'm having lower back problems and am doing the same pilates - in a studio with a teacher & the equipment - not a mat class with 50 others. So far, so good. Have also had epidural steroid injections that didn't do much good. Pilates & massage help.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

    Trek Project One
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    On my bike
    Posts
    2,510
    Quote Originally Posted by 7rider View Post
    Thanks. Yeah, I've discussed this with my Dr.
    He said I have three options for treatment:
    1. Traction.
    2. Epidural steroid injection.
    3. Surgery.
    #'s 2 and 3 are not thrilling for me. I'm holding the prescription for the injection in case I reeeeally need it, but I'm using that as a last resort (surgery is off the table unless things go extreme). He knows I'm seeing my chiro for traction (she is not doing adjustments on my neck) and he's fine with that, and I'm actually getting the home kit from him on his recommendation.
    Well, you won't like my experience, but I had to have the fusion. Stupidly, I got back on the bike too soon, and now am having instability in an adjacent disc. Massage, specifically trigger point release, has been a Godsend and my arm/delt problems are gone, for now.

    When my ortho went in, he found the discs were much worse than the MRI showed. I had one disc slammed against my spinal cord, so it's good I had the surgery. You can be asymptomatic, but the problem will still be there, even with steroid injections. BTW, I've had several steroid injections in my lumbar spine & they didn't make me fat, aggressive or anything else. I don't think you get enough steroid for a long enough period to have those problems.

    I also suggest that we cyclists have a much higher pain threshold than the majority of the population. My ortho seemed to think I should have had a lot more pain, looking at my cervical spine, than I experienced. So, I think it's important that we really pay attention to these problems.

    I do ride my road bike, but my current limit is about 2.5 hours. I'm having lumbar problems that limit my cycling. Lumbar & cervical problems seem to go hand-in-hand. Be sure your core is strong.
    To train a dog, you must be more interesting than dirt.

    Trek Project One
    Trek FX 7.4 Hybrid

 

 

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