Forum home Road cycling forum Training, fitness and health

Long term injury - getting nowhere - HELP!

mustolmustol Posts: 134
I have a long term injury - basically I get some mild pain/tightness in my left lower back, which I have had for years, but have managed through being active and stretching regularly. I have also been prone to some tightness in calf muscles, mainly the right muscle. This tightness in right leg has worsened since I took up cycling approx 7 mths ago. The problem is not just when I am cycling - it is actually worse when I am standing up and not moving around too much - it goes very tight behind my knee and down into my calf (although my back is worse when sitting). I occasionally get pins and needles. I have seen sports physios/back specialists privately and have bee doing various stretching/strengthening exercises for several months, but just when there seems to be a slight improvement, it gets worse again. It doesn't seem to matter whether I am cycling regularly or have 2 weeks off of the bike. I am seeing a physio at the hospital at the moment, who has found some muscle imbalance - there doesn't appear to be anything major wrong with my back and my flexibility is pretty good. I am following her exercise plan, but it's 1 step forwards and 2 steps back. My overall fitness is good, I am 41years old, 5'11 and less than 11 stone.

Basically, the symptoms are no better than they were when I started getting treatment - I am utterly frustrated and wondered if anyone has any ideas or can suggest what I should do next - do I just persist with the physio at the hospital (bearing in mind that it can be a while between appointments - my next appointment is 1 July)? Any advice would be really appreciated. :(

Posts

  • SteveR_100MilersSteveR_100Milers Posts: 5,987
    find a specialised cycling sports physio? Maybe the hospital one is too generalised perhaps. Just a thought.
  • Buckled_RimsBuckled_Rims Posts: 1,648
    Well, if you want a suggestion, then I'd look at your bed and how you sleep in it. As you spend approx 8 hours a day lying on a flat surface that gives back muscles a long time to mould into a position. Your mattress may be too soft or too hard or even too old. Or, even your sleeping position may be wrong. As you say, the back problem was well before cycling.
    CAAD9
    Kona Jake the Snake
    Merlin Malt 4
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    To me pins & needles sounds like a nerve is being pinched somewhere. I think there is something called false sciatica which is actually when a back muscle pinches a nerve and gives symptoms similar to sciatica. My suggestion would be - if you havn't got a diagnosis or a treatment that is helping - see someone else who can eliminate any chance of a ruptured/inflamed disc pressing on a nerve - perhaps with an xray/scan before deciding on manipulations/stretches etc which would potentially make things worse.
  • PigtailPigtail Posts: 424
    I worked in the NHS for some 13 years. One of the things that surprised me was how many things they couldn't do. They dealt pretty well with acute problems, but long-term chronic issues were not at all well managed.

    Try to get the help you can - but often the answer will be self-management, which you seem to have done quite successfully before.

    Cycling seems to put particular demands on your body, which can have all sorts of effects. I started around 7 months ago as well, and have seen quite a few changes in myself, including tight tendons. I haven't had any help, and have just worked through it, as on balance I'm in a much better place than I was before. However you need to do what you think is best for yourself, but there may not be any easy answers.
  • mustolmustol Posts: 134
    Thanks for your replies. All of the specialists seem pretty sure there is no problem with the spine that would cause sciatica, but haven't ruled out some pressure on nerve. I have just noticed something else with regard to the stiffness behind my knee. If I stand with my back and feet up against the wall, my left calf sits easily against the wall, but I cannot get my right calf to touch, like my leg is not 100% straight. Anyway, I've managed to get another appointment at hospital this week, so will mention it. Will let you know if I get anywhere. In the meantime, I'll continue with my stretches/pilates/core strengthening etc etc. One day I will know what it's like to ride a bike injury-free!
  • ut_och_cyklaut_och_cykla Posts: 1,594
    MEasure your calf muscle with a tape measure at the same point down from tthe knee on both legs. They should be of similar size/circumference - if they are not mention this at your appointment. A smaller size on the side you are having problems suggests soemthing is wrong - either with the way your leg/pelvis/back work together or because the nerve stimulus is disturbed causing slight wasting.
    My mum complained for years that her right sock always fell down - it turned out that the 'old lady' back pain was actually a collapsed bony tunnel pressing on a leg nerve. She got her spine fused and the tunnel opened slighly and has had a completely new lease of life, including being free from increasing incontinence issues.
    I'm not saying this is what you might have - but doctors need all the information you can give them - she naturally thought mentioning the sock business was not important!
  • manxshredmanxshred Posts: 295
    Try a Chiropractor.

    I have a lower back issue with pain across the hips, glutes and sometimes upper hamstring. It is caused by a stiff Sacro Iliac Joints in my pelvis which causes the muscles to tense up. It is reoccuring so I just visit every now and then and get the joints loosened up, which relieves the pain.
  • 9jan119jan11 Posts: 67
    Stand and look into a full length mirror. Is the gap between your arms and your body equal on each side or is one arm closer to your body.

    I had all the symptoms you describe including pins and needles or tingling in my calf.

    Turned out I was out of line which was putting pressure on a nerve in my back.

    A Chiropractor. made an adjustment in my back and after a couple of days feeling stiff all was well and has continued to be so.

    Hope this helps.
  • YoungfoxYoungfox Posts: 32
    Could be "Pirimformis" syndrome which specific stretches will release or Sacro illiac joint inflamation. sounds more like the piriformis. Try the floor stretch which you can see how to do if you google it and see if it helps.
  • YoungfoxYoungfox Posts: 32
    Could be "Pirimformis" syndrome which specific stretches will release or Sacro illiac joint inflamation. sounds more like the piriformis. Try the floor stretch which you can see how to do if you google it and see if it helps.
  • piquetpiquet Posts: 83
    mustol wrote:
    Basically, the symptoms are no better than they were when I started getting treatment - I am utterly frustrated and wondered if anyone has any ideas or can suggest what I should do next - do I just persist with the physio at the hospital (bearing in mind that it can be a while between appointments - my next appointment is 1 July)? Any advice would be really appreciated. :(

    From my experience last year recovering from knee and back SMIDSY injuries, the contrast between NHS physio and specialist sports physio was stark.

    NHS = infrequent, gentle : Aim, get me mobile for normal activities then stop. Physio actually did very little other than suggest sets of stretches

    Sports physio = frequent, active, intensive eg deep tissue massage : Aim, get me back on the bike

    That is not intended as criticism of the nhs physio, just emphasising the different objectives and methods
  • cyclopsbikercyclopsbiker Posts: 516
    you could see a Sports Massage Therapist who specialises in deep tissue/postural issues and cycling....see the Sports Massage Association website to find someone local to you http://www.thesma.org/find_v1.aspx
    I know I'm biased but I'd tend to agree that NHS are only interested in you (once you get an appointment) until the point that you're back to a minimum level of health/fitness.
Sign In or Register to comment.