Biking

Discussions related to Sciatica and Leg Pain

Biking

Postby krd » Wed May 31, 2006 6:27 am

Hey this is weird. For all of my fellow sciatica sufferers out there. I have found out that riding my bike is the best exercise for me and it does not give me any pain whatsoever. I don't push it and I ride slow, but I am getting some exercise because walking and standing are painful. Anyway, I figured that I would post this and maybe you to can find a comfortable bike to enjoy some exercise. I can't wait till I am able to walk upright again. Back to the ape style right now. Until the next post, stay strong.

Ken
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Postby randolph » Wed May 31, 2006 2:32 pm

Hello Ken

I was able to ride my exercise bike most days until I recently re-injured my back. Now the hip pain is still too constantly bad to use it at all. Thought after a few good sessions, that swimming would provide some aerobic exercise ... but it's been a week since the hip pain has been mild enough to try even that. Even the sauna and hot tub don't provide relief this last week. :( As you say, weird.

I guesss the lesson is: experiment until you find something you can do. My next experiment will be with light weights and weight machines at the "Y".

I'm looking forward to being able to walk like a normal human, too.

Randolph
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Pain in the Hip

Postby krd » Wed May 31, 2006 5:08 pm

Hey Randolph

Like you, it appears that most of my pain is in my left hip area also. It makes it so hard to stand up and walk. Sitting and sleeping still no problem. I am hoping that this will pass soon. Been able to do most of the stretching with little to no pain, however, the cobra really hurts so I am laying off of that one, as well as side bends (what's up with that). You know my wife had one of these attacks 3 years ago and it never came back. I can only hope and pray that this is my last one. By the way, another of my friends just went back under the knife for his 3rd back surgery. We shall overcome this thing with RYB. Good luck and God bless.

Ken
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Back tightness

Postby krd » Thu Jun 08, 2006 11:45 am

Well here I am at the end of my 3rd week with this bout. Pain is significantly less, however, walking is still quite difficult. My muscles are all out of balance. When I first start walking it is not too bad, then my lower right back muscles and my left hip muscles start to tighten up. This creates the imbalance and I just lay down for a little while. Biking is still easy and painless so that is good. I can't wait to be able to stretch more. Already able to do limited cobra stretches. Also, for all of you health nuts out there, I just ordered a "Yoga for healthy backs" dvd. I can't believe I did this, but any port in a storm so to speak. I hope that all of you are recupurating quickly. Be posting.

Ken
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Postby randolph » Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:46 pm

Hello Ken

Eloise may be interested to know what you find out in that yoga dvd. She's asked a question about yoga in another post. And I'm interested to know too!

On my road to recovery, have just discovered this week that the last 6 weeks I was just trying to do too much, too fast (again - will I ever learn?@&*%$#?). Got so frustrated and overwhelmed with the pain limiting my activities and exercises, I mostly just laid in bed for a few days reading and watching videos (especially enjoyed the other-worldly distraction of Carl Sagan's Cosmos). Got up a couple days ago, very much improved ... and resolved to SLOW DOWN. Are you keeping a good rein on your impatience to improve, Ken?

I'm also starting to notice some muscle imbalance too. Since the initial injury 9 months ago, I must be unconsciously (mostly) favoring my pain-free leg. The muscles of the painful leg are now noticably less defined, and slightly weaker. I'm not inclined to attribute the difference to some nuerological deficit, yet.

Are you getting any muscle inflammation with any of the muscle imbalance you are noticing, Ken? One of the clues to my over-exercising was continued swelling of the back muscles around the area of the herniated disc, and back pain (which I usually don't experience with my brand of sciatica ... unless I'm WAY overdoing it). Interesting how each individual's sciatica symptoms can vary so much.

Randolph
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Getting better

Postby krd » Fri Jun 09, 2006 3:01 pm

Hey Randolph

I already emailed El about the dvd and she may order it. I haven't received it yet, but I can tell you that I am going to give yoga a serious try. I am tired of this struggle. I am walking so much better and I am riding my bike 2 to 3 times a day. I am lucky to have my own business and be able to work our of my house on most day. I have been taking it easy and doing very mild stretches. Side bends are impossible for me to do. I still get muscle spasms, albeit, less today than in last week. I believe that muscle imbalance is what might be causing my problem. Again, that is why I am trying yoga. I will let you know how it is and if it helps. In the mean time, hang in there, and remember, we are not alone in this journey. Be posting.

Ken
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Re: Getting better

Postby Jeanette » Sun Jun 11, 2006 6:05 pm

krd wrote: I haven't received it yet, but I can tell you that I am going to give yoga a serious try. I am tired of this struggle. I am walking so much better and I am riding my bike 2 to 3 times a day.... I believe that muscle imbalance is what might be causing my problem. Again, that is why I am trying yoga. I will let you know how it is and if it helps. Ken


Hi, Ken & Randolph -- I've been following your posts and your thoughts about trying yoga to help alleviate muscle imbalance. I can't address the efficacy of yoga because I haven't tried it extensively, but I have found that pilates (under the guidance of a certified pilates instructor who works with a physio using muscle activation techniques) has helped me enormously.

As I've related elsewhere, my injuries go back a long way, so for 20 years, give or take a couple, I've had muscles and joints compensating for others that apparently couldn't do the work they should have been. After several months of work with both the pilates instructor and the physio, I can now tell when I need to have the physio work on me again because I feel a muscle "imbalance," i.e., one leg will feel weaker than the other, I'll have hip rotation I can't fully control, and/or I'll feel as though I'm walking more to the outside of one foot than I typically do. (As you've noted, sciatica takes a number of forms :? )

Sometimes these symptoms come with increased pain in my hip and/or down my leg, sometimes not. When I feel that imbalance, though, I know that regardless of my day's work(out), I need to focus more intently on the tranversus abdominis and multifidi. (The latter muscles lie deep in the back, and larger muscles may compensate--for awhile.) Like most, these muscles respond to specific exercises, and many pilates exercises address these. But....when those multifidi, unstimulated due to injury or inactivity, fail to function, our pelvises, backs, and necks don't get the undergirding they need to stay in place, other muscles are strained...you know the scenario :( .

Anyway, many of Dean's exercises address these issues. When the exercises are done properly, using rhythmic breathing and core control (something both yoga and pilates teach, albeit from different underlying theories), they can be extremely effective. For me, tho', the key finally to successful exercise therapy was teaming it with the physio's muscle activation work.

As I've said before, I'm not completely pain-free and may never be -- 20 years of abuse is a long time -- but, mostly, I'm able to continue doing the physical work and play that I enjoy. In addition to icing, I'm not above taking the occasional dose or two of ibuprofen when I know I've pushed my limits -- especially when heat and inflammation are present -- and although I occasionally have to take it easier than I'd like, I've been able to maintain a regular schedule of workouts and I continue to ride.

Anyway, the point of this longish post is to emphasize the importance of keeping those deep skeletal muscles going by being especially careful of your technique and breathing. As Dean has mentioned elsewhere, a session or two with a personal trainer or physio can be a great help in assuring that you're using yourself to the greatest benefit.

I'll be looking forward, Ken, to your reports about incorporating yoga into your routines. Good luck.
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walking

Postby krd » Tue Jun 13, 2006 11:12 am

Hey Anyone

Especially you Randolf. How is walking impacting your daily life. I am beginning to walk better, but I still am a little "cockeyed". I am trying to walk through the pain to strengthen everything. Do you think this is a good idea???? Anyhow, I am hoping that this gets better soon, or I won't be playing golf in Scotland in July. Let me know what you think. Also, is it good to do some stretches even if it hurts a little.

Thanks... Ken
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Postby randolph » Tue Jun 13, 2006 3:03 pm

Hi Ken

I'm still experimenting ... but here's what I've tried. I wish I knew more; it's not much.

During round 1 (Oct '05 - Apr 15 '06) I exercised most days with most of the RYB exercises plus some exercise bike (approx 90 mins/wk) starting in Dec. I successfully "pushed" the pain envelope a little bit each day and I was able to do more each day. Progress (more flexibility, more strength) was slow, but steady.

The same strategy has not worked for me since Round 2 started after re-injury 4/15/06. The first six weeks I tried exercising daily as much as the hip/quad pain would allow (15-30 mins) but not much improvement. Now I'm down to exercising/stretching once every 3 or 4 days; more often just hurts too much and then all I can do the rest of the day is lie around the house, except do a very few minutes of the RYB basic stretches. So most days, I settle for walking around the house doing easy chores like vacuuming or washing dishes or cooking ... resting if I start to walk unbalanced and/or pain gets too bad. So I'm not trying to walk thru the pain anymore ... at least for a while.

I'm completely puzzled by the lack of improvement in Round 2. I'm thinking that I just pushed too hard the first six weeks ... so I'm going to take it very easy for a couple more weeks (while I get used to driving in the truck again) then ease back into the exercises.

I don't know what else to do with this pain, but cut back on activity when it comes ... and it comes WAY too soon. :( I wouldn't want to be in your shoes ... facing the possible disappointment of not being able to golf next July. :cry: Dean says nerves heal slow; perhaps that's what we're dealing with here.

I am heartened to see that I'm not getting worse (so I don't need to consider surgery) and that I am well enough to try working again. But like you, I sure wish improvement was faster.

Randolph
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Know how you feel

Postby krd » Wed Jun 14, 2006 8:06 am

Hi Randolf

I am in the same boat with you. Similar pains and results. I find that I am much more flexible this time around than last time. Able to bend pretty easily, squat, knee bends, and other quad stretches with no problem. My problem is walking for any extended period of time or standing.

I can ride my bike all day if I want with no pain. I can even sit confortably for as long as I want. I don't, because I want to keep somewhat mobile. I wish this would pass quickly. I am getting desperate here. I am not talking surgery because that is not even an option for me. The pain is not that bad. I just got the yoga DVD and I can tell you that the basic warmups are fine, but the back stretches are too difficult for me at this time. It might be too advanced for me just beginning.

I hope that you will recover soon. I will let you know if anything works for me. I did just get off my inversion table and I do feel so much better when I am done. Problem is, the pain returns when I start to walk. Oh well, enough complaining. Time to be optimistic. Be posting.

Ken
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