Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

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Leon_Loves_Lycra
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 4:43 pm

Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby Leon_Loves_Lycra » Sun May 07, 2017 5:34 pm

Hi everyone,
I have severe scoliosis (a sideways curvature of the spine) and I have been put on the waiting list for spinal fusion. Spinal fusion means that I will have limited movement in my back. I would still be able to touch my toes though. They basically screw a rod into your spine to straighten up the curve.
Do you think it would be possible for me to ride a road bike after having my fusion? I know that having this surgery makes riding more dangerous, but I am willing to accept that since cycling is the only thing that I love and care about apart from friends and family. Without cycling, my life would be very boring and dull. If I couldn't ride a normal road bike, would something like a Merida Ride work? A bike like that has a more upright riding position. Keeping my spine straight and not hunching over is probably how I would need to ride.
Thanks.

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London Boy
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby London Boy » Sun May 14, 2017 10:38 pm

This is a pretty specialist area, so don't take my word for it. I am not a medical professional.

However, my personal experience is that a fusion should not be a barrier to cycling. How much of your spine will be affected? I know how things are for a fusion to T10, though this is complicated because the spine is broken at T10/11.

Obviously you will lose some flexibility, but your legs and core musculature will still work fine.
I would think that coming off the bike carries some additional risk compared to someone with full flexibility. On the other hand, if you're already got scoliosis severe enough to warrant surgery then stabilising that can only be of benefit on a bike.

Leon_Loves_Lycra
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Joined: Sun May 07, 2017 4:43 pm

Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby Leon_Loves_Lycra » Mon May 15, 2017 4:13 pm

London Boy wrote:This is a pretty specialist area, so don't take my word for it. I am not a medical professional.

However, my personal experience is that a fusion should not be a barrier to cycling. How much of your spine will be affected? I know how things are for a fusion to T10, though this is complicated because the spine is broken at T10/11.

Obviously you will lose some flexibility, but your legs and core musculature will still work fine.
I would think that coming off the bike carries some additional risk compared to someone with full flexibility. On the other hand, if you're already got scoliosis severe enough to warrant surgery then stabilising that can only be of benefit on a bike.


Thanks for your relpy, and my whole thoracic spine is going to be fused. I am hoping that a longer frame and raised handlebars will do the trick.
As long as I don't have to ride a hybrid or a recumbent!

Calvin27
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby Calvin27 » Mon May 15, 2017 4:59 pm

Just jump on some test bikes after your fusion (not sure what that involves exactly). I have no real medical problems but just generally have a poor spine and the difference between a grand fondo geometry bike and a road racer is miles apart.

Remember there are also other things like stem and headset spacers etc. As much as i dislike the 'happy' stem, it is a must for any long distance road riding. Otherwise there is the world of mountain biking.
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Leon_Loves_Lycra
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby Leon_Loves_Lycra » Mon May 15, 2017 5:05 pm

Calvin27 wrote:Just jump on some test bikes after your fusion (not sure what that involves exactly). I have no real medical problems but just generally have a poor spine and the difference between a grand fondo geometry bike and a road racer is miles apart.

Remember there are also other things like stem and headset spacers etc. As much as i dislike the 'happy' stem, it is a must for any long distance road riding. Otherwise there is the world of mountain biking.

I see the surgeon this Thursday to find out when I am having the surgery and if I will still be able to ride. I think mountain biking would be too harsh on my back, and I am a true roadie so road cycling is my thing.

RobertL
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Location: Brisbane

Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby RobertL » Thu Jun 29, 2017 11:00 am

I've just discovered this topic, and I am not an expert, but I can share the experience of a guy I work with who had spinal fusion a couple of years ago.

He was a keen road cyclist when younger. His back condition got worse and worse, and he stopped riding.

He then had fusion surgery.

He took up yoga, and worked on his core strength and flexibility.

He tried to ride his road bike a few times, but he got a sore back each time.

Last year, he dragged his old MTB out for a ride. He did not get a sore back afterwards. He put this down to the slightly more upright position.

So, he raised the stem on his road bike, took it out for a few rides, and still suffered no pain. Happy days!

He started getting back into riding, with more rides, more kilometres etc.

He upgraded his road bike by getting a permanent loan of a friend's bike. (Note to self - why don't I have friends like that?) This new bike has him in a longer, lower, more stretched position - and it still causes no pain.

He is very happy.

robbo mcs
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby robbo mcs » Fri Jun 30, 2017 8:13 pm

Speak to your surgeon, physio etc, and work with them.

However, you absolutely will be able to ride, just might be restricted a little, and need a special set up etc.

What you are forgeting is that with a severe scoliosis you probably have a greatly reduced range of motion already compared to "normal" spines. However, you have compensated and can ride now. Likewise, after the fusion, you will compensate, and get around it.

Don't let it stop you doing the things that you love :D Speak to the surgeon, physios, rehab people etc. I am sure they will supportive

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