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Aching to ride again

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Aching to ride again

Old 02-03-19, 01:53 PM
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Aching to ride again

After many years of riding followed by many years not due to back problems, I really want to get back in the saddle. PT doc gave the go ahead but i am really worried obout bumps and impact. MI rds are not bike friendly but there are some trails. Anyone got over this fear?
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Old 02-03-19, 02:52 PM
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Very familiar challenge. Six vertebrae in my back and neck were fractured in a 2001 car wreck. It was 2015 before I was able to ride a bike again. I started with a comfort hybrid, then a rigid frame/fork hybrid a year later, then a road bike in 2017. Adapting to the road bike was the most difficult.

I use the largest tires my hybrid and road bikes can accommodate -- 700x40 on the hybrids, 700x25 on the road bike. And I run the pressure fairly low. Right now the road bike has 700x23 tires, the sweet spot between speed and handling. The 700x25 felt a bit splashy on fast curves -- not enough rim to support the wider tires. Lately I've been riding the 700x23 with 100-110 psi in the rear, 80-90 psi front. My weight has varied between 165-150 lbs since 2015 and so far I haven't had any pinch flats. Really helps ease the ride on rough pavement and chipseal. I'll never be the fastest even in my age group, so I'm more concerned about enjoying the ride that squeezing out maximum speed.

And since 2016 my main hybrid has morphed. It's gone from flat bars in a pseudo-mountain bike configuration, to riser bars to, currently, albatross bars. The Nitto albatross swept back bars are keepers. Very comfy yet also sporty. With the handlebar at saddle height, I can lean forward into the curved forward part of the bar to get a little more aero, or use the grips and sit up straight and be comfortable. I can ride that bike all day. My road bike, I can manage for only 20-30 mile workouts. It's not comfortable as an all day, long ride bike.

Besides finding a bike that's comfortable and set up for my physical ability, I do a lot of physical therapy at home. It's a constant thing and there's no point at which I'll be "cured". Besides the 2001 injury, I was hit by a car while I was riding my bike last May. Broke and dislocated my shoulder, and re-aggravated the old neck injury.

I stretch and do range of motion exercises every day, several times a day -- especially for the neck. Two-3 times a week I do strengthening exercises -- no heavy weights, just wall push-offs, a few push-ups, lunges and leg strengthening, core exercises, etc. The Bowflex YouTube channel has some great video tutorials for exercises that don't require any apparatus, and they aren't doing any hard sell of Bowflex equipment. The tutorials are only 2-5 minutes long, very well done. No lengthy rambling 15-30 minute tutorials by instructors who don't bother to rehearse or edit their videos.

I use a lot of topical analgesics -- Stopain roll-on and Ted's Pain Cream work best for me. I've tried dozens of others that don't work. A topical analgesic must contain a transdermal carrier to be effective. Stopain, Ted's, some varieties of Blue Emu and Biofreeze use MSM as a transdermal carrier. This penetrates the skin just enough to temporarily squelch the pain signals. Helps enough to get me through my PT sessions.

I try to minimize pain meds. Diclofenac NSAID most days, rather than massive amounts of ibuprofen. Prescription pain meds like hydrocodone and cyclobenzaprine only on the worst days -- my 30 day supply prescriptions from August and November still haven't been completely used up, so my doctor knows I'm low risk for addiction.

I've tried CBD, many times, many varieties, but it doesn't help my chronic pain. Too expensive for something that doesn't give me definite relief, so I won't buy it again. But I know some folks who do benefit. I might get some for my cats. It actually does seem to help the 15 y/o Siamese I inherited after my mom died. I started adding a few drops of CBD oil in the cats' water dish and the Siamese began perking up again, being more sociable, didn't cry out so often in her sleep (no idea if that's due to pain or cat dreams).

Most recently I've been trying bromelain, an enzyme derived from pineapple. Reportedly it's a good anti-inflammatory with few or no risks associated with NSAIDs. Usually I'm skeptical of "natural" remedies -- most are placebo at best. But I'll be darned if bromelain didn't relieve my chronic sinus inflammation. I ran out a couple of weeks ago, and the sinus inflammation returned. It was so bad I was sneezing and blowing bloody drainage and blood clots for a week, with constant sinus pressure headaches. No infection, just inflammation. My Flonase inhaler and antihistamines weren't helping. I'd been in the ER back in December for it and got a shot of Prednisone, some oral Prednisone to take home, and antibiotics. I ordered another batch of bromelain and within two days the bloody drainage and huge blood clots had cleared up. But I'm not sure it's helped with the neck and shoulder pain.
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Old 02-03-19, 03:08 PM
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I have had 4 spinal surgeries due to degenerative discs. I own and ride 4 road bikes. All have been modified with components that produce a more upright, less stressful, comfortable position. My oldest bike, a '91 Ochsner steel frame, I am in the process of returning it to almost it original set up, still going to a higher stem with closer handlebars and a comfortable saddle. Not overly cushioned or gel, still relatively light, but some give in the saddle. I would use wider, lower air volume tires but the bike only has clearance for 25 mm tires.
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Old 02-04-19, 11:20 AM
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Buy a full suspension mountain bike it will smooth out the bumps.
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