Prolapsed Disc

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  • Prolapsed Disc
  • TurnerGuy

    I thought this was a discussion on a new bike model from on-one !

    Meh – just do the physio, find out why your disc has become damaged, try not to do it again. Stats for low back pain resolving through physio are really very favourable. Your treatment will be movements based at getting the gunk in the disc to go back into the middle; getting fitter, moving more, and education on aggravating factors. Not all that much to worry about really.


    Had one a few yrs back, agony all the way down my leg and walking around like a hunchback.

    Physio sorted it out (lots of core strength work with those swiss ball things). Took a few months though and I still do the swiss ball exercises to keep my core strong.


    Take ownership of your condition, after physio has done it’s thing do yoga, stretching, cycle, stretching, core, stretching and repeat for life!

    Personally i would puruse the above and only entertain strong pills and knives as an absolute last resort. GP’s are not back injury specialists…..

    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    I suffered from a prolapsed disc earlier this year (New Years day)
    6 months of physio, lots of stretching, back doing gentle swims and biking after 3 months. After 7 months I did the 1400km LEL, so was fine.
    I’d have been doomed without physio though.

    Only taking the pills when it all gets too much!

    Hoping that the physio sorts this. Got first session next week

    Only taking the pills when it gets too much is a good way of making your back pain issue worse. If you take them regularly you’re more likely to keep active or not avoid activity, thereby treating our own back without knowing it.


    Take ownership of your condition,

    This +100

    So, the cause of my back pain that’s been going on for years has been diagnosed as a prolapsed disc (lower Lumbar area).

    I’ve got some prescription strength painkillers and physio starts next week. Prognosis bythe doc is if physio doesn’t help, then ‘injections’, then under the knife. Obviously, not just going to take the GPs word for it and if physio doesn’t help, will get a referral to a consultant. Anyway, fingers crossed….

    Now onto bikes. Much of the time the back is ‘OK ish’ on the MTB, but gets absolutely destroyed on the road bike. This seems to be due to the more ‘hunched over’ position on a drop bar machine. Anyone here has a prolapsed disc and how did you cope (or not) when pedalling?


    piedi wrote:

    Only taking the pills when it all gets too much!
    Hoping that the physio sorts this. Got first session next week

    I started out thinking this. But after many sleepless nights and general pain I popped the pills and managed to get a decent nights sleep every night. I was prescribed amitriptyline and that did the trick 🙂

    Premier Icon bedmaker

    Take ownership of your condition, after physio has done it’s thing do yoga, stretching, cycle, stretching, core, stretching and repeat for life!

    Personally i would puruse the above and only entertain strong pills and knives as an absolute last resort. GP’s are not back injury specialists…..

    Nail on head ime.

    Only taking the pills when it gets too much is a good way of making your back pain issue worse. If you take them regularly you’re more likely to keep active or not avoid activity, thereby treating our own back without knowing it.

    But how would I know I’m not making it worse?


    PDF – I’m going through NHS physio at the mo
    Week 5 of 10 , physio is a mountain biker so she knows
    exactly what I need and says don’t get operated on if at all possible

    Anyway , Pilates has been a revelation , really works in tandem with the physio
    Give it a try

    But how would I know I’m not making it worse?

    Your body would soon let you know if you were making it worse. Trust me on this one. Your thought pattern is very common and is one of the biggest hurdles I face when treating a patient with pain such as yours.

    Moving around might make your back worse in a very small number of cases. However, not moving around will make your back worse in the vast proportion of conditions.


    Had problems on and off for ~10yrs until I was doing the screaming hunchback thing twice in the space of a couple of months, and the GP sent me for physio. The physio sorted it out and taught me how to spot the signs and what to do. It still nips once in a while, but haven’t had a full-blown episode for 10yrs.

    I found that gentle cycling relieved the pain, the physio reckoned that the rocking of the hips was helping. Extended tarmac sessions can make my lumbar ache, I put it down to the constant pedalling at the same sort of cadence. Off-road is fine.

    Listen to the physio, more likely than not you’ll be absolutely fine once they’ve done with you. Then it’s up to you to manage it :~)


    Yes – avoid the knife X 100!!!

    I saw an osteopath, a lot, when I did mine. My spinal cord was being crushed by the disc and it wasn’t pleasant at all. Being manipulated, quite brutally on occasion, really did make the world of difference and I imagine a physio is going to do similar.

    Then it’s just a case of keeping moving and doing all the exercises you are told to.

    Oh – and I have an NHS Pain Consultant friend who also gave me free Acupuncture. That was a totally new thing to me and it still bothers me inside quite how much it worked!



    As echoed by the majority of people here… physio, stretching, riding, stretching, Yoga, Pilates….
    It might sound boring, but my prolapsed disk was the bane of my life until i changed my lifestyle, and years later i dont regret having to look after myself regularly and am glad to never suffer from back issues.

    DONT go under the knife, unless there really is no option. It might make you pain free, but will restrict forever what you can do.

    Pilates/yoga will also make you pain free (probably) and will ALSO make you 10 years younger.

    Premier Icon twonks

    On this thread I agree with glupton 😉

    I suffered a herniated disc at L5/S1 around 5 years ago.
    This was caused by bending over my bikes top tube and then twisting to free up something caught in a jockey wheel.

    I ended up going private through health insurance (thankyou work) to sort mine out as physio did nothing.

    The consultant said physio was no good as it was too low down in my back for effective manipulation, and suggested an injection.

    Initially I had a general pain relief I believe but that did nothing, so in the end I had 8 x/ray guided injections into the pockets on either side of the spine (or I believe this is where they went)

    After the very weird feeling of being sat on and crushed internally by a rather large elephant, I was allowed up and home about an hour later.

    Two days later the pain had almost gone and I just got back to normal life.

    I still do gym work including bent over rows / deadlifts etc etc and also ride on and off road. The back is ok although I can feel a twinge if I push too hard on the road bike. At that point I know to slow down – so as glupton says just listen to your body.

    The only thing I avoid is over reaching whilst bent over and twisting – which is what caused the issue in the first place. If I forget to forget, I recieve a sharp pain and certainly don’t push it any further.


    Regarding the knife thing. After two years of sleep depriving sciatica and a failed caudal epidural, my consultant told me to go away and live my life for another year before I should even consider surgery. This is from a guy who make a living cutting into spines.

    Keep moving. See a physio.


    69er – Member
    Take ownership of your condition, after physio has done it’s thing do yoga, stretching, cycle, stretching, core, stretching and repeat for life!

    Personally i would puruse the above and only entertain strong pills and knives as an absolute last resort. GP’s are not back injury specialists…..

    +100 too.

    I was diagnosed with one a few years back. I had been doing lots of landscaping at my flat and woke up one morning and could barely move. i called nhs direct and asked if I should walk hobble/crawl 200m to the right of my flat to the GP or 400m down the hill to the left to the hospital as I couldn’t manage both.

    I got sent to the hospital and they were great. Got me in for a scan pretty quickly an diagnosed. I was told that lifestyle change was the best route first before anything more serious.

    I used it partly as an excuse to buy a new bike – longer TT and carbon and did a few other things and I have been almost completely pain free for the last 3 years. A few twinges lately but that is because I have been doing lots of DIY and fell off my bike a few weeks ago landing on top of my saddle with my lower back putting a nice charge spoon shaped bruise across my spine.

    Premier Icon Sandwich

    Movement and acupuncture worked for me, along with a nerve block injection into the affected bundle. Allowed me to move more and get stronger, plus get a full nights sleep. Touch wood it’s been fine for 7 years now.

    I have lumbar epidurals and have pain killers and keeping it simple I listen to my body.

    I used to do 6 days per week training kick boxing and gave it up as adrenalin just covered my pain and I done myself more harm than good.

    I hurt myself riding in the winter more when the bike slips out suddenly and I “jar” my back.

    Listen to your body is what I say…


    Yeah, I had a mildly prolapsed disc at C7 (below the neck) that was causing me all kinds of pains in my neck, back, left arm- plus tingling, numbness, you name it. Some time with the physio completely cured it. I think she called what she did with me the Alexander Method- different from the Alexander Technique.

    Well worth it IMHO.


    Totally OT, did you get started on the pump??


    L3/4 disc herniation 8 weeks ago, agony unable to move. MRI ( get it if you can) to determine diagnosis (important)
    Injection into area of local anaesthetic and steroid,pain relief was instant, Physio must be manipulative ( not machine led) to free up muscle spasm and improve mobility, the thing that staggers me most is the weight loss on my left leg. Neurogenic loss as result of incorrect and impulse overload to
    Rode bike gently and swam every other day.
    8 weeks later not bad, but some low grade discomfort otherwise strava times not too shoddy !!
    Heal well, no one really knows how long it takes for the prolapsed disc material to be reabsorbed, it does not go back in contrary to popular misconception. Surgery is last resort based on massive intractable pain and disability


    I damaged a disc 25 years ago, diagnosed as prolapsed 20 years ago, disc completely lost on latest MRI a few months ago. I have Physio and have just started a Pilates class. I also find road biking harder on my back than MTB, but standing up on the pedals and stretching it out helps.

    Physio must be manipulative ( not machine led) to free up muscle spasm and improve mobility,

    There is no evidence to support this.


    I was diagnosed with a prolapsed disc in December last year (between c4 and c5). The pain was in my shoulder and it started one morning in October and got worse over the next week or so. I was eventually prescribed tramadol which took the edge off the pain. After toing and froing between GP, hospital (because the pain was in my shoulder), I eventually saw a consultant. He diagnosed straight away and physio started the next day. After 1 session the pain was gone (and I was free of tramadol). 5 further sessions were required and I was instructed to do certain neck exercises daily. I have been fine since January with only with the odd twinge but that only acts as a reminder to do my neck exercises and not become complacent.

    The other things the consultant recommended was only to use 1 pillow on the bed and not to look down at the iPad the whole time. Apparently my kind on injury is getting more common due to tablet usage.

    I will probably need top up Physio for the rest of my life as the bone at c5 is badly worn, so there is a good chance that the disk will eventually push against the nerves again. And the most annoying thing – the consultant believes that the worn bone could be the result of whiplash. The only accident I’ve had was in 1998 – I really should have pursued a whiplash claim. 😉


    Avoid prolonged sitting or standing. Movement certainly helps unless very acutely painful. Use lots of cryotherapy (lie on back with an ice pack on for 20-30 mins 2-3 x day if you can). Take pain killers if you need help moving or sleeping but don’t ONLY take pills and expect them to cure everything.

    Get an inversion table if things aren’t improving. They can help – I have used them several times, but make sure you know how to use them.

    Treatment from a physio, Chiro or osteo should help either through soft tissue (spasm) release, acupuncture or manipulation. BUT make sure they address what may have caused it in the first place (lots of factors such as diet, lifestyle, work environment, functional or structural issues etc). They should also put you on a graduated program of strength and balance conditioning including something like Pilates. If they don’t then they are shite and you should find someone else.

    Surgery is ALWAYS a last resort. Only do this if all else fails – I know as I have been there (L5/S1 microdiscectomy), which I probably wouldn’t have had done if I knew then what I know now. It can work well for some but there are risks involved and a more natural solution is always best.


    The NHS wheels turn somewhat slowly, but the PCT have agreed funding and I pick up my pump on 20th Sept. 3 days with saline to start, then insulin and stop injecting (which is going to feel weird!). The time of year slowed things a bit as holidays (mine and the staff at Broomfield) conspired against us.

    The pump will get a real baptism of fire when I get it. The day after I pick it up I’ve got a wedding to go to. The 2 days after I start with insulin in it I’ve got a somewhat lively gig to go to at the Underworld in London!


    I did mine a few years ago reaching for a Bacardi behind my head whilst on a sunbed on holiday 🙁

    I had traction/physio etc but the thing which helped the most was the exercises from the McKenzie Back Book. My wife worked in Occupation Health at the time and they all swore by it. I still do the exercises every now and again to keep everything good.

    Mckenzie Back Book

    It took me a few months to recover though.


    Mine happened 3 or 4 years ago. Apart from painkillers for a month or so never had any more treatment. Steroid jabs and surgery were talked about but luckily it ‘got better’. I still get twinges every few months but have learned just to be more careful with posture etc.

    I had to stop running and started mountain biking. It’s actually been good for my back – strengthens up your core muscles no end. I can though see how a road bike would make it worse.


    Blimey, you’re certainly going in at the deep end! 😀 Plenty of testing and tweaking and you’ll be dialled in in no time. Good luck and feel free to contact if you have any questions etc.


    Ive got three in my back, one upper, mid section and lower with the lower one pressing on the nerves in my spinal canal so been in a lot of pain. Recently had the injections and its been night and day. My specialist reccomnded taking pills as appropriate to keep excercising; builds strength and promotes blood flow to the area. the more you sit around the worse it gets.


    Yep to all the above, especially Pilates, however I had a microdisectomy and it was a very positive outcome (my specialist called my prolapse a stonker!)


    Keep off surgery or injections. Learn the MECHANICS, of how your spine works and how to keep your discs from being stressed, from a good Physio, and do the following to change to a disc friendlier lifestyle:
    -sit in a better posture, always symmetrical, get a good office chair (I bought a Herman Miller “Embody” and its the main thing that’s saved me.), never lift anything heavy, do gentle exercises daily that build core strength and stretch the parts cyclists shrink, like hamstrings. Shrunken hamstrings put pressure on the discs.
    Never use a laptop, the low monitor gives bad posture. Always use a properly set up monitor and keyboard and ergonomic chair. Never sit leaning to one side, on an elbow, or holding a phone in a shoulder. Stand up a lot, sitting is THE worst thing for PL discs. Never manually push a heavy bike up a very steep hill.
    My physio also did acupuncture, which helped the chronic stage.
    Doing all the above, I can manage 3 severely prolapsed discs.
    Also interesting, when a nerve is trapped, you loose power in that leg. My backs ok currently, and my power is back.


    Fortunately caught it before it got that bad & trying to change the routines around it.

    As well as webcore’s suggestion of properly set up raised monitor, I’ve also raised my desk about 4″ which has made a major difference.

    On the OP’s issue with drops on the road bike, I haven’t been able to manage those for years since neck damage, so I use Profile Airwing bars which seems to stretch me out enough that I have to keep the right posture to ride. Maybe not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’m not fussed about how the bike looks.


    Sequestered disc 3 years ago, no alternative but the knife. A piece of my disc broke off and was pinning the nerves in my spinal canal so I was risking paralysis if they didn’t operate.

    Avoid surgery as everyone says as it put a weakness in your back that will never go away.

    I now manage my back all the time so that I can keep doing the things I love (MTB, Motorbikes). After the physio is finished I can’t recommend highly enough swimming and core training which has to be done regularly.

    Core strength, good posture and avoiding twisting movements whenever possible should keep you on the bike and out of pain.

    An update

    Physiotherapy has improved things massively. Everything was out of line and my pelvis had dropped, moved forwards and rotated on the left side which was making everything else sit in places it shouldn’t be. Various manipulations and exercises seem to be putting things back where they should be 😀

    Oh, Fenred, I’m seeing Margaret today to pick up my pump. Nervous excitement would be a good description of how I’m feeling right now!

    Premier Icon Blueadvocate

    After much pain and physio, I had injections, everything was going well but I knackered my back again falling over my daughters buggy.

    In the end I went under the knife.
    Had S1-L5 and L5-L4 snipped away.

    Never had a problem since but I totally agree with above posts on core strengthening and keeping good posture (bad posture being the biggest cause of back problems)


    Prolapsed Disc.

    Done that, been there. Hurt like hell. It took a few goes to get it sorted properly (my fault for riding too soon, playing footie and rugby with the kids too soon etc)but once the physio had it sorted out I was fine.

    I thought I had done it again after falling off a ‘technical trail feature’ onto my head but luckily not.

    Good luck.


    prolapsed a disc L3/4 first week July,(had MRI and injection plus physio) still have some discomfort daily, burning sensation in muscle on hip left side and down front of Quads.
    How long did anyone else take to settle down to become pain free entirely, I have also lost 1.5 ” in circumference on my left thigh, any ideas if it will come back, if so how long?


    I’m off to see a consultant tomorrow, 20 years of neck pain, 3 years of forearm pain, a couple of years of unexplained chest pains. GP and physio been trying to get me an MRI for suapected C6/C7 nerve compression.

    I’m now at the ‘confused’ stage of my recovery 😕

    I’ve been doing a variety of physio stuff but am now focusing on core strengthening.

    My discomfort is very localised, feels like local to the disc but slightly off to the side. I was experimenting with back braces which seemed to help initially but the first one was awful to wear (it gave me blood blisters which have since scarred!) and the second one, although very comfortable to wear, actually seemed to make the pain slightly worse by the end of the day.

    I imagine my disc as having a tear in it still, which is where the pain is coming from. Do discs have nerves, would I feel pain from the disc having a tear in it?

    I was focusing on trying to immobilise the area while it healed (like a broken bone in a cast, hence the back braces) but now wondering if I should be mobilising it more, but not sure I understand what that achieves?

    Will be trying a spin class soon, hoping I can maybe get back into some gentle road spins.

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