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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645

    Multi-level disc injury - frustrated rant

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    I just need to vent. I had a setback over the weekend, and my (awesome) PT yesterday used the phrase "if this becomes chronic," and I'm just really frustrated over it right now.

    As glad as I am that I don't have pain, it makes it difficult since numbness is harder to identify immediately. I'm rarely sure when I've done something to aggravate it. Plus, it doesn't necessarily respond immediately, either.

    I'm frightened that it will progress, both by getting worse and by getting into the motor nerves. I've got some very slight weakness in my right hand. I'm really not sure about leg weakness, the PT didn't identify any on muscle testing, but at times my balance seems to be off.

    I'm frightened that I'll wind up like my dad with his multiple failed back surgeries. (I think I would have to be on the point of paralysis before I'd even consider surgery, given his experience.)

    I miss my bike. I miss my riding buddies. I'm afraid that I won't be able to travel since an hour in the car is pretty much my limit. Running short distances is actually good for it, but I haven't tried to carry water for longer distances, and I'm afraid of trying that, too. Plus I still really prefer to run alone - and if I wanted to run with people I'd have to drive to do that, too, which is problematic - so running really can't substitute for biking as a social activity for me.

    It really seemed like everything was getting better, and now I've had this setback and I'm not even sure why (though we have a couple of theories - short flat easy bike ride (okay during, some flare about 8 hours later), then a car trip the next day to somewhere just 10 minutes farther away than the PT clinic, and it was the day AFTER that, that everything was really bad).

    It's been almost three months since my neck injury and about five weeks since the back really flared (there was some very slight diminished sensation in the L5 dermatome before that).

    Mainly I'm just venting, but if anyone has some words of encouragement I'd love to hear them...
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    6,132
    ((((Oak)))). I'm really sorry to read this. While I don't know much about back or neck problems, I wanted to send some healing vibes your way. I hope your PT can get you some relief soon. I know how frustrated I've been over my own injuries and illnesses these last couple of years, so I really feel for you. Hang in there.
    Live with intention. Walk to the edge. Listen hard. Practice wellness. Play with abandon. Laugh. Choose with no regret. Continue to learn. Appreciate your friends. Do what you love. Live as if this is all there is.

    --Mary Anne Radmacher

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Location
    San Francisco Bay Area
    Posts
    9,351
    That's just stinky!

    You can socialize with us. But that's really not quite the same is it. Maybe be a rest stop for your riding buddies?

    I hope it gets better soon.

    Veronica
    Discipline is remembering what you want.


    TandemHearts.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,952
    (((Oakleaf))) I hear your frustration, and well remember what it felt like! It sounds like our situations were similar...

    I don't know if this will help, but I remember well that about 3 months into my whiplash recover I was very depressed because I couldn't see how things could improve - and all of the things I loved to do caused problems. It took 8 months but I am back to my usual activities - and just returned to mountain biking. I never dreamed it would take this long, but it finally came.

    Hang in there, it is hard to deal with a lingering injury and neck stuff appears to be prone to that. My neck still isn't 100%, and I don't expect it ever will be. If I overdo things then I still get a bit of inflammation in my neck where the whiplash was the worse but I know the signs and back off so it doesn't progress.

    I hope this helps at least a little. Sending you hugs and good healing vibes. Do you think it might help to see another PT or specialist?

    I love Veronica's idea about being a rest stop for riding buddies
    Last edited by Catrin; 06-13-2012 at 07:44 AM. Reason: Decreased wordiness :)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,958
    I'm so sorry.

    When I had to be off the bike for 6 months for a medical issue, I actually found that being on the forum, hearing about people cycling, etc., made me feel worse. So, for me, the idea of hosting a rest stop would not have been a positive thing. But that's me. Only you know what will work for you.

    Have you exhausted options with medical professionals? In other words, have you gotten second, third, fourth opinions? I know you say your PT is awesome, but maybe just consulting with someone else, or a different orthopedist, might be helpful?
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,972
    I'm so sorry

    Backs are so weird like that. Your recent setback may not have even been caused by anything you can pinpoint. I know some mornings I just wake up and it's a "hurt" day, unrelated to anything. I feel very lucky I've found the pilates/massage/therapist woman that I work with because some days I'm convinced she knows my back better than I do.

    Just thought I'd mention, having a hammock (with no spreader bar, hung tightly enough that I can lay level across it) has really, really helped in relieving pressure for me. To the point that I rave about it all the time so I apologize if I've brought it up too often here Since you're supported evenly with no pressure points it seems to release nerves and muscles that get aggravated by my normal posture.

    Also sort of random, but you may want to think about things you carry on a normal basis. I don't even carry a purse most of the time any more because even that slight imbalance seemed to have exaggerated effects.

    Hope you're doing better soon! *careful hugs*

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Uncanny Valley
    Posts
    14,645
    Thanks all. I'm feeling a little better emotionally right now ... I can't forget to be thankful that at least I can run. It would be really bad news if I couldn't do any cardio at all. For DH as much as for me - that just makes me mean.

    I've read that discs can take six months to heal. It's probably normal that progress isn't linear - maybe -
    Speed comes from what you put behind you. - Judi Ketteler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    Concord, MA
    Posts
    13,101
    I hope you are feeling better, Oak. I've had minor back issues, so I can only imagine what you feel like. On the other hand, I did not deal well with not being able to ride for other reasons, so I hope you can concentrate on your rehab and eventually return to riding. I second the advice to get another opinion.
    2015 Trek Silque SSL
    Specialized Oura

    2011 Guru Praemio
    Specialized Oura

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Posts
    10,952
    (((Oakleaf))) don't you hate it when healing doesn't progress in a linear fashion? Hang in there, and nothing wrong about venting here when it gets too frustrating. Can you get a second opinion, or see a different PT just to see?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Utah, Gateway to Nevada, not to be confused with Idaho
    Posts
    1,872
    Hang in there, girl. Caring properly for your body is a life long, hard thing to do. A lot of people don't, and don't often appear to have problems. Then there are those of us who do yet seem to have the rotten luck. I know, it doesn't seem fair. I think of it as using my body as it was intended to be used. I have some parts that don't work so well, but I learn to work around them as I go along.

    I too work with a physical therapist that is probably like jessmarima's PT. Mine is a manual PT. She tried me on the pilates reformer but even the loading from the shoulder pads fired up the nerve pain and numbness. We work on mobility a lot, and I'm always searching for something to make it just a little bit better. In the meantime I am grateful that I can do what I do (can't ride a bike for more than 1-1.5 hours or ride in a car comfortably for more than an hour but can run 50 miles. Go figure). It's way better than it was before surgery but I think I've finally figured out that it will never be what it was when I was 30. So I'm just going for the biggest RAWR I can while I can. Never know when I'll be reduced to purring on the couch contentedly!

    ((((( <3 )))))

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southeast Nebraska
    Posts
    470
    Hang in there. Neck/back injuries take a long time to heal and yeah, may be be even chronic. However; you can get through this. It's like one step forward, two steps back. Don't give up and give your body time to heal. Easier said than done, I know. If it hurts stop.

    If you need to see other docs, do so and know your options. Get the help you need.

    With neck/back injuries, have you thought of a recumbent if needed? I've ridden a couple and enjoyed them. My back is bad and sometimes I think one would be perfect. Was drooling over one at the LBS today. Yes, they are totally different, but I hate for you to think you'll never ride a bike again.

    Thinking good thoughts and ((((HUGS)))).

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Newport, RI
    Posts
    3,834
    (((Oakleaf))). This really sucks. I hope you get better quickly.
    '02 Eddy Merckx Fuga, Selle An Atomica
    '85 Eddy Merckx Professional, Selle An Atomica

    '10 Soma Double Cross DC, Selle An Atomica

    Slacker on wheels.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Posts
    3,213
    I had a disk event about 13 years ago, and yah--it takes months to get through. The course was pretty up and down too; I'd feel a bit better then have a set back pushing a grocery cart or something else mundane. All the sciatica, tingling, numbness could come and go and defied all my attempts to figure out what helped and what made it worse.

    Hang in there, keep up the good work, and you'll get better.
    Each day is a gift, that's why it is called the present.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Denver
    Posts
    1,972
    Ahhhhh jinxed myself by reading this! My back is seizing and I can't go from sitting to standing without serious pain. I hope it calms down soon because I have to fly in the morning...

    So no, I will vouch that back pain recovery is absolutely NOT linear

    "I never met a donut I didn't like" - Dave Wiens

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    MI
    Posts
    63
    I am so sorry. I literally feel your pain. 3 compressed vertebrae, spinal joint deformity, deteriorating discs, ligament and muscle damage. It's been every day pain for me. Crashed racing motorcycles in 2010 and then was hit by a car while on the back of a Harley last summer which sent me into chronic pain and further bone loss in the already damaged vertebrae. 6 months of PT did nothing for me. Finally went through the whole facet joint, epidural injections and finally nerve ablation. I still have some minimal pain and have had to had another epidural for below the compressed vertebrae because it hurt to even take a deep breath. I am now back in PT and on a very hardcore pace to build strength so that I can have some stability in my spine. It isn't easy at all and gets depressing at times to have to ask other people to pick something up for you etc. Just getting out of bed in the morning hurts. The one thing that my pain management doctor was able to understand was that it was better for me emotionally and psychologically that I still ride my bike instead of sitting at home focusing on the pain which sometimes makes it worse. In all honesty, the riding has actually helped to strengthen my lower back up. I am most likely a candidate for surgery as well for spinal fusion but I am fighting to not have it any time soon.

    I am so sorry you are having to deal with back pain too It makes you realize how you literally use your back for everything you do on a daily basis. I think depression was the hardest part of it all though with having to give up alot of things I enjoyed doing. Reason being my doc told me to keep biking and to just make sure my bike is set up right for me oh and try not to crash lol

    Hang in there Oakleaf. PM me if you ever need to vent ok. Maybe have a consult with a pain management doctor. I know it only masks the pain but from experience it allows you to at least enjoy biking again and not have to pop pain pills or muscle relaxers. The injections help to get through PT as well so that you can work harder at strengthening the surrounding muscles. Without the injections I couldn't make it past stretching excercises in PT without my whole back spasing out and then the next day not even being able to stand up straight. So maybe look into this as an option as well. Again, I am so sorry you have to go through this. Good luck ok
    Felt F65
    Specialized Crux Expert Force (My baby)

 

 

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