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Laminectomy / diskectomy - when can I ride again?(7 posts)

Laminectomy / diskectomy - when can I ride again?BNA_roadie
May 9, 2003 1:58 AM
After 9 weeks of not being able to ride, much less exercise, due to a ruptured disk and sciatica I am having a diskectomy this morning. Anyone have experience with this and the recovery time before I can ride a century again?
re: Laminectomy / diskectomy - when can I ride again?boyd2
May 9, 2003 3:54 AM
Hey BNA I feel your pain, literaly. When I was 27 I hearniated L5-S1 and after about 1.5 years of suffering, PT, chiropractic and steroid treatment I went for a discectomy. I am so glad I did it. I actually woke up in less pain then when I went under. Never took a pain killer after the op, not even advill. I was on my feet in the afternoon. Taking short walks the next day, long walks in two days, short slow jogs and really light road rides in about 3 weeks. I waited about 8 weeks before any serious rides or runs, but I kept up swimming walking and light riding during that recovery. Now 5 years later I rairly have any trouble. I can't split wood or shovel for long, and I have to sleep with a pillow under my knees, but other then that I am great. Although my doctor does not like it I even run quite a few foot races 1/2 marathon being the longest.

I hope that yours turns out as well as mine did. Please let us know.
re: Laminectomy / diskectomy - when can I ride again?lithiapark
May 9, 2003 5:32 AM
It looks like you did a pretty good job of progressive exercise in returning to bicycling after diskectomy surgery. The healing of muscle/ligamentous tissue is the rate limiting factor, and you can't push it any faster. Each person is different, of course, in their specific problem and that impacts the healing end point, and your physicians individual advice should certainly be heeded. I generally also advise patients to listen carefully to their bodies. A little bit of pain is okay, but it is not necessary, and likely counter-productive, to try and endure severe pain and just work your way through it. The process is not weight training, it is healing of tissues. I sounds like you did a good job of staying within these boundries. I also let folks return to bicyling more quickly than running because there is less impact on the spine, but after 3 months don't discourage long distance running. It is a good idea, I believe, to return to running more slowly. When running to exhaustion, form suffers and the stress on the spine is supported more by the bone/disk structure and less well by the musculature. Sincerely, Paul Amstutz MD, Neurosurgeon
When your doctor says you can...Matno
May 9, 2003 4:35 AM
Orthopedic surgeons tend to be pretty well informed when it comes to recovering from surgery, especially recovery related to sports. (It's a stereotype that orthopods are usually jocks. Not always the case, but it's often true). After 9 weeks off the bike with the pain you've been experiencing, I'd say your wait is mostly over. Don't push it though. I did a couple of years ago (with a broken hand) and ended up having to get surgery - possibly as a result of starting up biking too soon.
consider a recumbent?DougSloan
May 9, 2003 6:46 AM
You may be able to ride a recumbent long before a racing-type bike. Ask your doctor.

re: Laminectomy / diskectomy - when can I ride again?ghoss
May 9, 2003 8:10 AM
I went through the same ordeal that boyd2 did but with a little twist. I had a diskectomy perform in early December 2001, and I was riding again by mid Jan. 02 (slow short rides). By Feb I was up to long training rides and I got dropped so I decided to go to the gym, I leg pressed 75 lbs one time and ruptured the same disk. I had a second diskectomy in April 02 and time I took it easy and did not ride for 2 months. I no longer go to the gym.

3 things: Take your time coming back. Listen to your body. STAY AWAY FROM WEIGHTS!!

I ruptured a disc in 97...had fragments that since dissipated...johnrg
May 9, 2003 8:31 AM
researched laminectomy and endiscopic surgery and decided against either due to the possible scar tissue becomeing more of a problem than the fragments themselves which my doctor said may slowly dissipate. Since L4/L5 region was my problem I carefully/slowly started to ride my trainer and forward flexing seemed to unload the area that was problematic. I started to feel better and my doctor said if I'm improving don't do either surgery. Since then, over 3 years ago, I'm riding over 200 miles per week without repurcussions. Even feeling so good I'm starting racing and have crashed a few times on top of that without problems. Basically go slowly and don't make any rash decisions while in pain. Try to be objective. The last thing I wanted was to go through any type of surgery and fix one problem and at the same time cause another.