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Bicycle riding

MissPiggyMMissPiggy Posts: 76
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:39 AM in Chronic Pain
My doctor says I shouldn't ride a bicycle. My PT says I probably shouldn't ride my bicycle. Does anyone see or had any benefits of riding one with back and leg pain and leg weakness? :?


  • MP,
    Yes it is good for you, none weight bearing gets your heart rate to a level where it need to be when walking or running become less of an option. It bring the outside world to you and enable you to see that you are not as disabled in this aspect as you thing you are. Start very slow and see how it goes as we have to let go of others thing we need to develop if possible other interests and supportive activities. This is not easy, and riding in pain not simple for anyone, you will have achieved something and feel good about yourself.

    As long as you are safe, what are the risk factors and at worst limit the possibility of staying safe and well, if the risk of additional injury is greater than the benefit then you would have to think hard, what is the reason those wishing to support and encourage you do not want you to do this activity, you have to be realistic and honest with yourself.

    You will have some initial disappointment and times when riding is not possible, soon you will feel as you will miss going and it will become routine, once you believe you cannot do something it has the chance to spread into other aspects and our confidence takes a knock.

    Wear all the safety gear and perhaps cycle away from traffic in a designated area, acknowledge your progress and set realistic and attainable short term goals and part of a bigger achievement. Many here try to cycle and my walking is now almost gone, I can ride like the wind and nothing else feels like that, for a fleeting moment I can be the person I was and have some control of my own destiny.

    I teach cycling to children…….


  • My only concern would be from looking at your signature and the possibility of the curve your back needs to make to ride. With lumbar problems you may cause yourself more pain.

    Like John says, all you can do is decide for yourself and try. I have a recumbant stationary that I would use to start, then once I get a little stamina I would move to a "real" bike or stationary that is the same posture as a real bike.

    If you want to try, I'd pick a very nice level area with no traffic or crowds and very carefully give it a try.

    I plan on biking, life keeps getting in the way. I won't be downhilling through a bunch of trees and brush anymore though, that's what did me in, in the first place...
  • I would caution against biking if you have lumbar issues. It is really tough on the SI joints, and depending on the position of the bike it can also put a lot of strain on your lumbar spine. An upright bike is probably out of the question to start because it will really load your lumbar spine. If you are really wanting to try biking I would recommend starting on a recumbent bike and bringing a towel or some type of lumbar support to see if you can get comfy. I'm not sure if you're talking about real biking or an exercise bike, but it might be wise to start on an exercise bike at the gym so you can quit immediately if you have any trouble.

    I have lumbar and SI joint issues and found that biking flared up my pain tremendously. It is the one piece of exercise equipment that both my PT and my neurosurgeon have told me to absolutely stay away from.
  • You can see that opinions and professional advice as well, is all over the place.

    I agree with Lala for the most part. With lumbar problems, riding a bike can be really hard on the SI joints and on the lumbar spine, in general. I was told by one surgeon to try a recumbant bike, My other surgeon and the PT who knew the most about my soft tissues, muscle imbalances, etc., said that I was much better off on an upright bike. The recumbant bike can put a lot of pressure on the lower lumbar-sacral discs due to the position in which the legs are extended.

    I guess if you want to ride a bike, you will just have to get out there and try a variety of bikes to see if any work for you.
  • I used a recumbant bike at PT yesterday and I had alot of pain in my lower back and Lleg so I put on the good ole'TENSE unit which help calm things down some. So we tried it again today w/o or very little tension and only 5min. Some pain but not near as bad as yesterday. I was few months ago with my husband riding around the neighborhood I stopped and put my Lleg down and it gave out on me. So I am very nervous about going out to fall again. I'm afraid :SS of it now. I think maybe get a stand to set my bike frame on to make it stationary and try to strengthen my legs. Think that will work? Think it's possible I can get my legs stronger? or is it impossible? :?
  • with very little tension on it and have to rest several times to do 30 minutes on it. I found the swelling went down in my foot when I used it. Maybe walking with a cane may help you better just take short walks. Have you talked to the PT about the exercise ball and back strengthening you could do on that? Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I bought the excerize ball about a year ago but before I tried it I asked my PM(Neurologist) and he said defenitly not. So I dared not ask why. I trust him and his PA judgement.I have not asked the doctor but did ask his PA about the bicycle riding and he said it is too risky. But I can't seem convince my husband I don't feel comfortable and I'm afraid. I need to convince him we ned to start walking tonight. I'm in Arizona and it is still quite wam here. Thank you for all your help and comments >:D<
    (my grandchildern love to play with the ball in the back yard)
  • So lucky to live in Arizona. Want to house swap for awhile? I live in beautiful but cold Toronto.CA Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • out in the street where you can hit bumps and potholes and the like. Those jarring motions can really cause some damage to already damaged discs. Otherwise, I think you would be limited by the curvature of your spine in/on the seat. I know I certainly can't ride my bike anymore.


    3 level spinal fusion, L3/4, L4/5, L5/S1, November 2008. Stiff, but I can walk.
  • I would love to ride my bike, I just don't have "warm and fuzzy" feelings about it. I do love to ride with my husband on his motorcycle. The back rest vibrates on my back and is almost as good as a massage. I loose my coordination climbing on and look like a clutz =D> but I don'care.
  • ....if they tell you not to ride the bike then don't.
    I just came very close to messing myself up extrememly badly because I "tried" the upright stationary bike.
    I don't know how to copy a post or I would...my experience is posted in the "other conditions forum"...re loss of bladder and bowel function....
    If your back is at all unstable bike riding can do VERY SERIOUS damage....
    Take care of yourself...

  • I have had an L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation and L1 thru L5 fusion. Plus countless other procedures to try and deal with pain. I was an avid cyclist before and am still able to ride my bike. My surgeon encourages it. I have several bikes and started with my commute bike which is more upright. I had to adjust the handlebar stem a bit to my new back. I was eventually able to get back on my road bike. The only bike I can't ride is my time trial bike as I can't get in the position for it. Riding always seems to help my back. Swimming however does the most good.
    L4/L5 laminectomy, L4/L5 360 fusion with instrumentation, L1 to L5 fusion, L5/S1 fusion w/ disc replacement, left and right SI joints fused.
  • Well i started the pool afrter surgery, for about 7 months and asked the doc, if i can use stationary bike a month ago at the gym recliner only he said. i wear a special garment or my back brace, and most of the time i feel better after... I feel bad if i stand/or sit to long, i only wish i could use the treadmill but it is too bouncey for me, i had L-2 L-3 L-4 L_5 S-1. after a failerd fusion l-4 l-5 s-i in 2006, it seems now that i am fusing, but still in pain but trying to be positve i do have numbness in sum areas but try to be strong.i think riding a bike outside is differnt especially if it is hot, but i believe the best bet is to go to yr local gym, and try the stationary bike
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