ChR1s

Member
Nov 12, 2001
31
0
Looking for feedback from those that have experienced herniated discs, and how they handled the situation regarding riding dirt again. I've recently been diagnosed with herniated lumbar discs L4-5 & L5-S1. I managed to ride and race a hare scramble prior to finally getting an MRI, but loading the bike afterwards was trying. Now that I know what's wrong, all the information I'm getting is focused on becoming as pain free as possible -- nothing much with regard to how much activity can be resumed. Any help? What is there to look forward too?

Thanks
 

BigBore

Member
Jun 16, 1999
693
0
My brother had a couple herniated discs in his back about 7 years ago. He underwent surgery where they fused the discs, and wrapped a titanium cage around them. A little over a year later, he bought a new XR400, and he's been riding with no trouble every since.
 

trakkerman

Member
Nov 12, 2001
258
0
I have been diagnosed with L4-5 this past spring. I was just getting fast enough to hang with the fastest rider in our group when the the pain became unbearable. I was crawling around the house for about a month. Not able to stand upright for more than 1 minute. I saw the doctors and they all said I should try to lose my ample mid-section with exercise and diet. Surgery should be the last resort.

It has been about 5 months since I have ridden and have relatively pain free for about 3 months. I haven't lost much weight, but I am working on it. I do notice the pain in my left leg if I have been lifting heavy objects.

I am going to try riding again (slow and easy) with-in the next few weekends. I will let you know how things work out.
 

Budda

Member
May 24, 2000
63
0
I have a herniated disk in my lower back also (can't remember which one, exactly). This was diagnosed approx. two years ago. Mostly I still get soreness, although I was incapacitated once (did the crawling-around-the-house-gig for a week).
The important thing is to keep you midsection strong, which means you need strong stomach and back muscles to support your back.
Also, excess weight (I'm guilty!) does not help.
I've tried to minimize any type of motion that would aggravate my back, I'm careful how I lift heavy objects, etc.
Make sure you sleep on your side with a pillow between your legs, don't sleep on your stomach. Keep yourself hydrated, too.
Good luck.
 

Jon K.

~SPONSOR~
Mar 26, 2001
1,354
4
This would probably get better replies over in the "training" forum.

So how in Hades is anyone going to lose weight whilst layed up with a bad back?

Right now about all I can do (without screaming like a little girl) is eat!
 

truespode

Moderator / Wheelie King
Jun 30, 1999
7,949
242
I have pain in my sciatica. I use the eliptical trainer at the gym b/c it doesn't hurt like the treadmill or stationary bike where I have to lean over.

For upper body I try to use the weight machines b/c they can isolate things better. I do very light weights and lots of reps. It has been slow going but I'm feeling better even though I have times when my back, butt and leg hurt so bad I can't put weight on it. I do think in time it will be a lot better again.

Ivan
 

HalfFast

Member
Jan 6, 2003
1
0
Fractured spine twice
Herniated disc L345 S1
Left ACL torn
Both shoulders dislocated
Left tibial plateau fracture
and RIBS
I race 2 to 3 weekends a month. Pain is something you just learn to deal with.
How bad do you want to ride? I'am 50 and a Dirt Addict. Anybody know of a good 12 step program? LOL
 

Monkey Butt

Member
Jun 1, 2000
281
0
L4 -L5 here also. Going on 14 years now. I took along time off of riding (10 years) partially because of my back but there was other issues also. When I started riding again my back was still painful and always will be. Riding actually helped my back to get stronger and be less painful most of the time. However, I have had a couple of boughts of crawling around the house for a couple of weeks from over doing riding. I stay away from jumping and stand up when I ride as much as I can so my legs absorb the shock.

Invest in a good kidney belt!!! I like the Kevco Stubbs version. Mine is a MSR but it is made by Kevco.

Also continue stretching even after your pain starts to subside. Last year I almost gave up riding again because of reinjuring my back while riding. Since then I started stretching on a regular basis and lost 15 pounds. I still have back aches every day and usually a little in my left leg, but I feel better now then I have for a couple of years. I even managed to complete about a five hour enduro last Sunday. It will take my back a few days to loosen up, but I plan on riding next weekend again.

Be PATIENT, exercise when your able, stretch a couple of times each day and eventually you will be riding again if you so desire.

Good Luck and make sure your doctor knows his stuff.
 

SK 250

Member
Sep 19, 2003
42
0
MAN, one word SURGURY!!! I dealt with a herniated disc for 6 years due to a stock car accident. I finally went and had them fussed, and I can't believe how stupid I was not to get it done earlier, I was riding sno-cross 3 months after surguury. Best thing I have ever done. Don't delay go under the knife today. Just my $.02.
 

Draybob

~SPONSOR~
Sep 29, 2002
66
0
I have to agree with SK 250. If you are miserable look at the surgery option. Most of it can be done arthroscopically now if the herniation isn't too serious. I had L4-L5 surgery back when they opened you up and I never regretted it. I do stretching excercises on my back and try to exercise it lightly to maintain tone in that area. I'm 39 now and had the surgery back in '86. I ride the rocks in the mountains of central PA which can be murder on your back and I have very few problems. If it starts to bother me now I just do my therapy and it goes away in a couple of days. Like Monkey Butt says a belt would help too. Good luck, back pain is a terrible thing to deal with.
 

Monkey Butt

Member
Jun 1, 2000
281
0
I'm glad you guys had success with back surgery, but some people have more problems after surgery then before. Nearly every back surgeon and sports doctor that I have consulted with strongly suggested that I avoid surgery and save that option as only a last resort. Based on the information that I've been given from countless doctors, one of the potential problems with fusing vertebraes is that in about 10 years the disc above and below the fused vertebraes often wear out and become herniated. Of course you are worse off then before if that occurs. Besides there are always POSSIBLE complications with back surgery. Surgery might be the best thing for you, but I still suggest a conservative approach to begin with and see how you do.

I am just a guy who's been dealing with this for a long time, so don't take my word for anything. Follow a GOOD doctors orders and good luck!!
 

Jon K.

~SPONSOR~
Mar 26, 2001
1,354
4
I have something wrong with my T-12. The doc dosn't know what is going on; I had X-rays that show nothing. They tell me that the T-spine is very durable and is usually only damaged by trauma. I have banged it around a bit, but that was 25 years ago.

Now they want me to do an MRI. The deductable for my insurance is huge, looks like it is coming out of my pocket. :whiner:

What should I expect to pay for an MRI?

Anyone here have an MRI machine in their garage? :thumb:
 

maco

Member
Apr 16, 2003
101
0
Around 1200 for an MRI that might not include the reading (report) that's around 200.Places very here on price and if your paying cash or insurance. Surgery is sometimes a tossup.some do well others not.Depends a lot on the nature of the injury and how bad the disc is involved.There's lots of guys walking around with disc buldges that have no pain.The Surgeons usually go with what's prudent.Some need fusion.sometimes discs can be shaved or vacummned and don't require fusions and bone grafts.
The disc has 2 parts. An inner gelatenous nucleus and an outer fiborous ring,actually 14 concentric rings that bind the nucleus.Typically those rings break down from the inside out until the inner puts enough pressure to buldge the wall.Weak link is right where the nerve root exits out of the opening between the vertebra above and below. This is where it gets dicey and pain gets unrelenting and travels.I've seen guys pull out of this.But that took time and they started to get results.If you go surgery find the best you can that have done mucho surgeries.
I never had an MRI but had L5/S1 symptoms big time.Baby toe is still numb.I quit surfing for 2 years.A friend who just graduated from Chiro school came over and adjusted me everyday for a month.I'd had leg pain for 2 years.No change until the fourth week.Woke up one day and no symptoms.So I went back to school and now I adjust them.
 

iridesx164

Member
Jun 14, 2002
46
0
How about anyone wit c disc herniations? I was in a bad acccdent on fathers day at a track, what should I be looking foward to? by the way I have a c5-c6 herniated disc......
 

ChR1s

Member
Nov 12, 2001
31
0
I was returned to full duty at work, so I figured I'd go for a ride -- I entered a hare scramble this past Sunday with the intent to merely ride, not race. The ultrasound & traction seemed to have helped localize the pain to my back, as the pain shooting down my leg has lessened. Could be the PT, could be just rest and time. During the past few weeks I've been careful to not do anything too demanding of my back. I managed to make a couple laps w/o any trouble, and I took it really easy pushing the bikes back in the truck. The after effects of the ride didn't seem to cause me any additional back related pain. Things are getting better, but as others have said -- this back pain will never go away now that the discs are hernaited.

The important thing for me to do now is take it easy so I become fit enough to start a strengthening regimen for my back. It's too bad I waited until I was almost 38 years old before becoming concerned about my long term health -- back pain sucks hard. For so long I thought if I was able to ride, I was fit enough. So untrue -- the loads we subject ourselves to are too demanding to take casually. I wish I'd known better and acted accordingly. I really feel for those with more incapacitating pain and injuries -- this stuff can really get a person down.

~Chris
 

ChR1s

Member
Nov 12, 2001
31
0
And MRI is the only way to really see what's up. The big difference for me was this injury felt much different than the typical muscle related back pain I've had many times in the past -- the pain effected etremeties, and caused weakeness and numbness of my legs and feet. That means it's time to see a doctor. I've had back pain that caused me to crawl on my hands & knees, but it was only muscle pain. This herniated disc stuff is serious business, and should be looked into immediately.
 

maco

Member
Apr 16, 2003
101
0
Sorry to read about your disc problems.Sounds like you've gotten results with the P.T. and that in itself is a good thing.The herniation most typically is the center,"nucleus populsis", that has a gelatenous composition has left the confines at the center of the disc and migrated through tears in the inner fiboruos rings.This creates the bludging that if protruding back and to the side effects the major nerve root at that level.The nucleus does sometimes retract and the torn rings can fill with scar tissue.This would be enhanced by not loading up the disc while any healing is taking place.Should say excessive loading.Especially in rotation which loads the outer rings.You can see the disc acting in a hydraulic manner.Since the disc is hydrophyllic, there's a transfer of fluid through the endplates of the vertebra above and below.Vertical loads push the N.P. outward and push the annular rings making them taut. Sitting loads the disc 6 times more than standing so sitting long periods typically increases symptoms of nerve root pressure. To me, in a lot of cases but not all,walking helps the healing process.This is why-Walking uses all the low back structures as they were intended to work and take loads.This simple normal movement gets everything working together ie; spine,pelvis,discs,ligaments,joint capsules,tendons,and muscles.Short walks on level ground,good footwear, with no increase in symptoms.Slowly building the walking time up without symptoms.I would probably tell someone to ice the low back at the spine for 15 minutes after walking.Also would advise someone to stop walking if symptoms reoccur.It helped in my case for what it's worth.No hurry just building up slowly
 

ChR1s

Member
Nov 12, 2001
31
0
Definitely agree with all that, Maco -- also, I've read that the discs start loosing some water content at about age 25, but the outer layer starts to toughen up by about age 40. Being in that 'vulnerable' age range and not being in the best of shape probably contributed to my situation. I'm taking it easy riding, and will probably limit my snowboarding this coming season as well. I've already nixed any ideas about going surfing this fall, and am contemplating trading my YZ250 in for a something a bit more spine friendly, like a WR. :)
 

trakkerman

Member
Nov 12, 2001
258
0
Very good information maco! I found that walking was the best medicine. I have recently started working with light weighs three times a week and walking with my daughter after work.

I rode last weekend. I tried to ride easy and had very little symptoms afterward. Will be riding again this weekend (can't wait).

In my case the MRI showed that a piece of the outer ring broke off. The doctor said that it may or may not be re-absorbed by the body. Since most of my symptoms have disappeared I assume the it is gone.

I know you stated that the outer rings may fill in with scar tissue. Are there any regenerative properties of this material?

I am concerned that the damage to the disc is permanent!?!?
 

maco

Member
Apr 16, 2003
101
0
Chris-Hope all goes well for you in the future.Having disc problems here I understand the pain end of it.Probably the biggest thing next to Chiro care is learning where the line is. Everything seems good until you brush up against or cross the line then the pain advices you to pay attention.Pain is a good thing to protect us.With the spine pain is usually the last thing to show though.That's why people find out later than sooner parts are degenerating.We were taught the disc loses,it's sealed off,it's blood supply after the second decade and depends on the pumping action of movement to bring fluids in and out of the disc to be healthy.I'm sure your right about the outer disc.Keep healing and have fun
 

bigL

Member
Oct 14, 2003
1
0
i have some seriously messed up disc's i herniated my l1 thru l5's and it's suck's,i first popped the l1 power lifting in 01 it hurt pretty bad for a month i had to stay in bed then it got better...or at least i thought then in july 02 i herniated my l2 thru 4's playin around bein stupid again after a month in bed they stopped hurtin ... then on my birth day in november 02 i got in a serious auto wreck and broke my humerous in 9 places and herniated the l5 and i also have a severe lumbar strain and it's been hurtin since last year..i can't even walk long distance's or stand up right for long periods' of time , but i still manage to ride full throttle for long period's of time i'm even startin to losin up and walk longer as pt go's on i still havent lost hope of walking pain free yet....it just sucks walking like your 80 at 22
 

Knobbyjake

~SPONSOR~
Jan 29, 2000
203
0
Did anybody ever have the microscopic disctectomy done where they use a small flexible tube (like in arthroscopic knee surgery) with a camera and cutter to trim the disc? Supposed to be much less invasive and faster healing. When I'm done fighting with my self insured place of employment's insurance I want to check that option out. As it is now I only feel good enough to ride 4 or 5 times a year, (did this in '99), and that truly sucks.
 

ChR1s

Member
Nov 12, 2001
31
0
I'm BACK! heh

Knobbyjake said:
Did anybody ever have the microscopic disctectomy done where they use a small flexible tube (like in arthroscopic knee surgery) with a camera and cutter to trim the disc?


Well, I tried all the PT, did a couple h/s, still had 'manageable' pain. Then, I really tweaked it at work -- I devolved into a total hunchbacked gimp. Barely able to walk, drive, etc., I'd had enough and visited a neurosurgeon -- I was in surgery a week later (Feb 5). I had a lumbar laminotomy/discectomy performed on my L5. The relief was instant -- I was walking within hours and decided to go home that nite rather than stay over. The recovery went very well, as the incision was but a couple inches long. So far, so good. All that pain I put up with for months is now non-existent. I've been riding two times now, on my new CRF250X -- decided to swap from my YZ250 to a more tame machine. :)

lumbar laminotomy/discectomy link
 

IRISHCOFFEE

Member
Aug 3, 2002
194
0
Like several of ya'll I waited and lived with the pain for 9 long years before I had surgery. I found a GREAT neurosurgeon and am glad I did. In my first ck. up while he was removing my stitches, he told my wife that I had gotten myself near paralysis. You cannot believe the feeling I had when I heard that. He said that when He got in there the damage was much worse thas showed on the MRI. I had rubbed the trapped nerve so much that he could see clear thru the outer covering to the raw nerve. In 96 I told him I would wait as long as possible. I almost made a needless mistake! Find a SKILLED NEUROSURGEON and consider your situation soberly. This may not be the best time to show your buddies how "tough" you are. DO NOT go to an orthopedist. You want someone who lives with nerves. Also, the recovery period is not the time to be bold either. Good luck and be smart!
 

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