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Degenerative disc disease

KERM1TKERM1T Posts: 24
I've recently been told that I have degenerative disc disease, which is basically wear and tear of my discs. I'm 40 by the way and have been mountain biking for about 10 years.

I have read up loads on the net and everywhere seems to recommend cycling is a good exercise to do with this condition, but do you think that includes mountain biking? While I'm not going over jumps, I am mostly cycling in woods or through fields (I live in Brighton) off road.

Any had experience with this condition and got any thoughts about me continuing to mountain bike? Any tips?

Needless to say I would be devastated if I had to give it up, but I have to think of my future, maybe I could be a roadie instead?!

K.

Posts

  • OK here goes - 1st post!!!

    I too have degenerative disc disease - Levels 4 & 5.
    I have to have root nerve blocks every so often as it can get really bad.

    I've wanted to get back into cycling for some time and like you did a lot of mountain biking in the past. I've not been on a bike for almost 15 years though so I'm pretty nervous!

    I'm also the same age as you!

    I saw a surgeon this week to see whether an op was required but thankfully I don't need surgery. The upshot is that I need to get my core strength up with physio, exercise and pilates. This is a major factor in controlling degenerative disc disease.

    I asked about cycling and was told the same as you - it's a good thing as the position opens up the vertebrae in the spine.

    I've just bought a road bike and am going out tomorrow morning with some mates and to be honest, I'm bricking myself worrying about back pain etc.

    I asked the surgeon if there was anything that I shouldn't be doing and he mentioned no lifting of heavy weights and no horse riding!

    You could liken strenuous mountain biking to horse riding in that if it's too rough a terrain you may find that the jolting makes the condition worse.

    In summary, you definitely don't need to give up cycling but a change from MTB to road might be the answer.

    Good luck!

    P Daddy
  • 1340jas1340jas Posts: 217
    I have it too.
    There is good news, get positive. I went through quite a long stage when it was really bad and could not ride. nearly everything I did seemed to agravate the condition. it got so bad my left foot was numb. this was caused by the nerve being trapped or pressed by one of the discs/vetibrae?
    I had nerve blocking injections. I was told they may or may not work. well the first one lasted about 8 months. the second one 3 weeks. I will need an OP eventually but have been told to carry on as long as possible.

    I have taken lots of advice on core strength. this is the key to beating the problem. Build up nice and slow, then start on the general fitness. Guess what mountain biking is really good for the condition. I don't think about crashing or falling. There is no ponit you will only then start to worry about that bus just around the corner which may hit you or a crisp packet that you could slip on.
    Life is full of hazards don't worry about them.
    I go for long rides, ride at lots of trail centres, do down hill and jumps.
    I have changed my attitude cause i couldn't change my spine.
    Good luck - keep pedaling.
  • I had this too. I use the past tense as I've recently had a TDR (total disc replacement). Big operation & some risk involved. By the way, I'm roughly your age & sorry to say this but this is prime time for back problems like this to really start kicking in.
    I ride road bikes. Just before the operation i could ride but afterwards I was in considerable pain for days on end. The operation has been a success but you need to think very carefully about going down this route. I am now able to ride a road bike for hours on end with no problem.
    Along with physio & core strengthening and anything else you're trying, I would recommend the Alexander Technique particularly. This may save you lots of hassle & potentially having to have an operation. If you don't know anything about it, I'd try it definitely. At a basic level its about lengthening the spine & in a way 'reversing' the downward effect of gravity (ie pressure on your discs which cause them to flatten creating pressure on nerves in your spine).
    pm me if anyone wants any particular information.
  • UPDATE

    Back from my ride and apart from fitness being censored as expected - back is absolutely fine.
    No pain!!
  • KERM1TKERM1T Posts: 24
    Thank you fellas, that is some really good posts. And some really positive messages too, nice to hear that. The doctor said to me "go out and enjoy life while you can" during my consultation, I've been pretty down about it.

    I'm particuarly interested in what exercise program you followed to increase your 'core strength' and by the way what is core strength?

    I would like to develop and stretching/ exercise routine + fitness work (MTB hopefully) so would like any training tips you have. Pilates seems to something I should at + the alexander technicque.

    My symptoms seemed more mild than what most you have experienced, I just a dull ache in my lower back, but have had it for about 2 years, that is what prompted me to go to the doctors.
  • KERM1T wrote:
    Thank you fellas, that is some really good posts. And some really positive messages too, nice to hear that. The doctor said to me "go out and enjoy life while you can" during my consultation, I've been pretty down about it.

    I'm particuarly interested in what exercise program you followed to increase your 'core strength' and by the way what is core strength?

    I would like to develop and stretching/ exercise routine + fitness work (MTB hopefully) so would like any training tips you have. Pilates seems to something I should at + the alexander technicque.

    My symptoms seemed more mild than what most you have experienced, I just a dull ache in my lower back, but have had it for about 2 years, that is what prompted me to go to the doctors.

    sent you a pm.
    in terms of DDD, lots and lots of people around the age of 40 have DDD - its just that only about 1 in 3 experience pain from it. A dull ache would seem to me quite 'manageable' & I think, with some good advice & specific back exercises you may be able to keep a lid on the pain most of the time.
  • Core strengthening is basically increasing the strength of the core central muscles of the body i.e. mid section (front and back) lower back muscles, abdominals etc.

    It's all about making sure that the middle part of your body is able to properly support the upper part of the body. Correct posture is also an important part of core strengthening.

    Apparently pilates is the best form of exercise for core strengthening!
  • jedjed Posts: 21
    Good discussion this as guess what, i have it to! I`m also early 40's.
    It was diagnosed many years ago and the people who diagnosed it said that more and more people will get accurately diagnosed due to MRI being more readily available.

    I really suffered with numbness and then tingling and just horrendous pain in both legs for about 7 years in my early 30's. The pain was chronic and i tried everything to get rid of it. Nothing worked until i went to a really good Pilates class. The first session nothing happened! ( Why is it we expect miracles??) But after the second session, the pain had virtually gone!. I couldn't believe it. (Must of been a miracle!)

    There is no getting away from it. I still suffer with a bad lower back, but i have accepted that.
    I also try to bear in mind that i am early 40's so perhaps the body is slowing down.
    I think the answer is too keep going. The more i do, on a sensible scale, the easier my life is. I ride with some very fit blokes and cant do what they can but am happy to be doing my own thing.
    I still get bad days/weeks as do a lot of others but if you stick your hands up and surrender i guess that'll be it.

    Very simplistic i know, and best advice is from the professionals, but for me Pilates and biking work. Having said that i'm on the sick cos i came off the other day and did my rotator cuff which believe me aint good! :cry: Even my Dr has told me to grow up!! :roll:

    If you can keep going! :)
  • I suffered a prolapsed disc in sept last year. Spent 5 months unable to stand up for more than a few seconds and unable to sit. Had Mri scans physio and tried everything else. Was diagnosed with DD disease, trapped s1 sciatic nerve, significant prolapse. Was on the verge of having surgery but decided against it, the day before I was due in as although I was in a bad way I slowly got better. After 6mths I felt a bit better and after 7 tried a bit of road riding. Still agony when getting back and having a shower, seemed to pinch the nerve when I straightened up but overall still improving. 8 mths tried MTB and then recovered really quickly. After 9mths nearly 100% with regular mtb rides. Still at it now and still 100%, just the odd twinge now and again. Back to running, MTB and climbing. Managed to climb tech alpine 4000m mountains with huge rucksack no bother this summer.Trouble is, it can take ages to put right, I nearly lost the plot and thought it was never going to end. It will. Good luck!
  • k75k75 Posts: 1
    I have ddd also....at all levels...but so does half the population...i have 2 bulging discs and one has been operated on already...l5s1 micro discectomy....n l3/4 bulging.....any advice or anything would be much appreciated.I use to ride n sometimes race mtb for fun...Im told no more rough stuff....I have a road bike too...I hear aero bars are good but I get a sore neck too...Im going to be doing core stuff, pool stuff and dearly hope to get on my bike but im scared.....
  • Time to open up again the conversation hehe, just passed 9 of the most painful months with adiagnosed ddd, and now I have like a month of soft training in road (with my mountain bike), but have so many questions and I don't know if you can help me with them:

    * Did you coninued on the mtb, and how are you after this 4 years? it gets worse it helped?
    * Is better road bike or mtb bike ( in my case going uphill hurts, but not the downhill sections)
    * I have damage in 3 discs, l4,l5 and s1 as I remember so another question is have you lost strenght in your affected legs?


    Thanks in advance :)
  • JBAJBA Posts: 2,710
    None of the previous posters in this thread have logged on for years so you probably won't get answers from them, emeterio.
    I hope someone can answer your queries though.
    “Life has been unfaithful
    And it all promised so so much”

    Giant Trance 2 27.5 2016 ¦ Sonder Broken Road 2021¦ Bird Zero Mk1 ¦ Giant Revolt Advanced 2 2019 ¦ Giant Anthem 3 2015 ¦ Specialized Myka Comp FSR 2009
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