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Lower Back Injury(4 posts)

Lower Back InjurySharkman
May 5, 2002 10:14 PM
Just got a new Landshark about a month ago, and have put approximately four hundred miles on it. Have developed a back injury that is really setting my training back and am wondering whether the new bike and fit related issues may be the cause.

I have ridden 3,000 miles the last two years each (not much by some of your standards, but a lot for me in the rainy Pacific NW). Rode mostly on a 58cm Klein Performance, with some of the miles on a Cannondale Tandem (large in front, small in rear, RT1000 model). I am 5'11", approximately 185 lbs. and generally in pretty good shape. No previous back history.

The Landshark is a 54cm with a 110mm TTT Forgie stem. My sleeve length is about 32", as is my inseam. The bike seems to fit well for the legs, but I feel somewhat stretched out on top. In fact, originally started with a 120mm stem, and had Gary Hobbs swap out for the 110.

About a week ago, I developed pain in the very lower back area, on the left side. Basically down where the tailbone is, but not centered. Most symptomatic when trying to stand up straight, some relief when sitting or bending over. No numbness in legs, or pain down the legs, just in the back. No discernable loss in strength anywhere either.

Any thoughts as to whether the new bike might be the culprit, and if so, suggestions as to how I might overcome it? Also anyone have any experience with similar injuries, and suggest MD over Chiropractic, or vice versa?

I really had ambitious goals for this season, but unless this turns around quickly, they are evaporating fast. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks
re: Lower Back Injurygtx
May 6, 2002 7:43 AM
If this pain is only on the bike, it could very well be a fit and fitness issue, solved by changing your position, stretching and getting in a better conditioning. If you are dealing with chronic pain--ie constant pain, on or off the bike, see a doc. And after you see a doc, read this book:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0446392308

I've been riding seriously for 17 years but was off the bike 3 years with horrible back pain. After seeing every doc, pt, and chiro (several telling me I'd never ride again) it was this book which fixed me--zero pain since I read it. Good luck.
what else changed ?dotkaye
May 6, 2002 8:04 AM
If nothing else changed (work, other exercise, etc) then the bike has to be the culprit.. start tweaking, stem, seat height, etc etc.

Chiropractic=faith healing. The fact of the matter is that faith healing sometimes works, so chiropractic will help some people. But I'd definitely start with science-based therapies, and move on to the religious material later. Physiatrists (MDs specializing in rehabilitation) are the most effective at back problems, but they can be hard to find.

Dunno what yours could be, but the fact that there's no numbness or pain further down is encouraging, means it's probably not a disk/spinal issue. So a few good stretches and exercises are probably all you need.. see a PT for starters.

I have a back problem which involves the nerves, but a MRI didn't show any spinal degeneration, so it's a bit of a puzzle. Currently doing lots of different stretches & core strengthening exercises under direction of a physical therapist, seem to be makiCg some slow progress.
what else changed ?Sharkman
May 6, 2002 12:39 PM
Really nothing else has changed. During the winter, I worked out faithfully on treadmills and stairmasters, and kept pretty fit. Got the new bike about March 31, and began riding earnestly on it for all of April. No weightlifting, no basketball, no heavy yard work or other heavy lifting that I could ascribe the problem to.

In fact it seemed to develop gradually over the month of April, but hit the point where I just could not ignore it about a week ago. I have been told by MDs when having various orthopedic surgeries (ankle and shoulder) that I have a very high pain tolerance. So my tendency is to ignore small pains until they overwhelm me.

A cat 2 racer in my office recommended a Chiropractor who alos happens to be a bike racer. I can get both back diagnosis and fit issues addressed in the same place. The guy has a trainer in his office and has patients bring in their bikes for fit testing, in conjunction with the rest of the evaluation and treatment.

Given that I don't have any lower extremity issues, I think I have little to lose by trying this. At a minimum, I think I will get a good fit, and eliminate whatever may have caused the problem in the first place.

I posted the initial post last night, and am noticably better today. Can stand up straight without pausing and mostly without pain, which I could not do all last week and last weekend. I took ibuprofen all weekend and rested. So am cautiously optimistic that I am headed in the right direction. If I can get fit properly, then hopefully I wont have a relapse.

Thank you both for your thoughts and insights.