L5-S1 disc herniation with leg numbness and foot drop

I know back pain is discussed a lot here by the looks of things but I’m really interested/hopeful to hear from anyone who has had the above and how they got on in terms of recovery and returning to cycling. I’m stuck on a turbo trainer in the house atm and it’d be good to know what I’ve got ahead of me, I have intensive physio etc and well aware everyone is different but ideally I need to hear hope!
I’ve always cycled, mainly road, some mountain bike stuff, awaiting a router being delivered as not sure a mountain bike is for me or my posture any more. Thanks in advance.


  • Tourer* not router 🙈
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,709
    I had (I think) an L5-S1 herniation confirmed on MRI - pain, lack of power in leg, couldn't push up on toes so couldn't walk without a limp or for more than 5 minutes etc.

    Lasted about 3 months of quite severe symptoms - tbh once it started improving it did so fairly quickly. I keep up the core exercises and light stretching and it's not really an issue now - it's not 100% but pretty close.
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • Thank you! That gives me some hope, still early days I guess for me, it’s been 8 weeks and I can get around but the lack of propulsion off the left foot is driving me crazy! Hoping I’ll be the same as you and it’ll just go eventually!
  • DeVlaeminck
    DeVlaeminck Posts: 8,709
    edited August 2020
    Yes that's what I was like - you can't push off on your foot . I remember I found it quite debilitating - just that everything was an effort - standing, getting out of bed, walking .

    I think I damaged my disc when a car hit me but aggravated it by over stretching on some machine at the gym trying to cure the symptoms of that - I thought I had scar tissue presenting as a tight hamstring but I now think the car knocked the disc out causing sciatica.

    I wouldn't say it just went away - I saw an NHS physio for a few sessions and did stick to the exercises he gave me. I still do though I've added to them and progressed a few to make them harder. Of course whether that worked or it was coincidence ...,?
    [Castle Donington Ladies FC - going up in '22]
  • I think the physio definitely works, I’ve noticed a huge difference since I started doing it. I was happily powerlifting before lockdown, back has been great since I started doing that but then lockdown came and I had to change how I worked out, cycled more and one day when washing my face over the sink I had a terrible pain. Thought I’d actually tweaked my hamstring. Two days later I’m at work (I’m a nurse) and my leg became numb and I was struggling to walk, off to A&E, MRI and here I am. I’ll keep doing my physio and hopefully it’ll get better. When I think about it, I’ve had a few occasions in HiTT classes where I thought I’d “tweaked” my hamstring during abs work, I think I now I was squishing the disc. It’s all learning I guess, really heartening to know you got back on your bike though, thank you.
  • Hi I have the exact same thing but I also have degenerative disc disease herniated, sciatica and facet joint problems. It's very painful but I just get on with it. I am determined it's not going to stop me from cycling I still cycle up to 200 miles a week in the summer months.
  • Hi
    I have experienced three episodes of disc prolapse/herniation over the last 30 years (I am now 59) and you have my greatest sympathy.
    I remember after during one episode after spending a night on the living room floor I would try to get upstairs to bed , I crawled to the bottom of the stairs looked up and it was like attempting to scale Everest so another night on the floor.
    This from someone who had run fell races the weeks previous.
    Reaching out to back pain sufferers is like asking parents what is the best way to raise a child ?
    All have differing views.
    For what it is worth , after every disc issue I have returned to some sort of normality , however my running days are over.
    I will only add one piece of advice and it is the one thing I return to ( believe me I have tried a heap of back therapies ) and it is this

    You may find relief from elsewhere and I hope you do , but back care is like dieting .
    you have to keep it up for the rest of your life.
    good luck , but remember , back heath is your responsibility.

  • dennisn
    dennisn Posts: 10,601
    edited November 2020
    I had L4 - L5 disc go bad some years back. The pain in my butt and legs was, at times, to extreme to even want to move. Finally had L4 - L5 fused with a plate. I now have occasional pain and issues, but nothing like before. I still ride and lift light weights (very carefully). Most of the time I feel really good but tend to worry that the next time I move wrong I'll be right back where I was. Call me paranoid but I don't want that pain again. Add to that the fact that I'm 72 and, well, you can see my point. Trust me, you don't want the kind of misery, surgery, and inactivity that can be brought on buy a bad lower disc. Nothing is worth it.
  • Developed Brown-Carrats Syndrome due damaged T3 T1discs. Not able walk. Both legs begining to get movement back. Hoping to be alble to cycle cyle again in time.