Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

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Leon_Loves_Lycra
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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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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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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.
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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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no_gears_no_tears
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:26 pm

*****Update*****
Hi everyone, I was Leon_Loves_Lycra, but I created a new account because I lost the password for the old account.
I had the operation and now have a mad 40cm scar, and was out of the saddle for 6 months but my back has literally had zero effect on my cycling. If anything, it has made me love and appreciate cycling even more.

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AUbicycles
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby AUbicycles » Thu Jan 25, 2018 11:54 pm

If you use the 'forgotten password' you can regain access. If you are stuck - email me info@bicycles.net.au with all known details and I can get your old account sorted.

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no_gears_no_tears
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:25 am

AUbicycles wrote:If you use the 'forgotten password' you can regain access. If you are stuck - email me info@bicycles.net.au with all known details and I can get your old account sorted.


The email account that was linked to the old account was also lost, so I couldn't change the password.
Thanks for your help though :)

jindydiver
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby jindydiver » Fri Jan 26, 2018 1:28 pm

Only you can know if you are capable, but I know it is possible. My wife's niece...
https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-spo ... al-surgery
https://spokemagazine.com/content/the-f ... zoe-nathan

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no_gears_no_tears
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:34 pm

jindydiver wrote:Only you can know if you are capable, but I know it is possible. My wife's niece...
https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-spo ... al-surgery
https://spokemagazine.com/content/the-f ... zoe-nathan

It's great to hear that your wife's niece has fully gotten back into mountain-biking. For a 14 year old to get a sponsorship from Specialized is incredible.
By the looks of her x-ray, it seems that she had an identical fusion to me (I had T12 to T2 or something like that).
Thanks for sharing :D

jindydiver
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby jindydiver » Fri Jan 26, 2018 2:58 pm

no_gears_no_tears wrote:
jindydiver wrote:Only you can know if you are capable, but I know it is possible. My wife's niece...
https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/other-spo ... al-surgery
https://spokemagazine.com/content/the-f ... zoe-nathan

For a 14 year old to get a sponsorship from Specialized is incredible.


Top under 16 girl in NZ this year...

https://schools.cyclingnewzealand.nz/me ... 0/2950.pdf

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foo on patrol
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:00 pm

Good to read that it has worked out for ya! 8)

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no_gears_no_tears
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Fri Jan 26, 2018 6:54 pm

foo on patrol wrote:Good to read that it has worked out for ya! 8)

Foo

Thank you :D

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London Boy
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby London Boy » Fri Feb 09, 2018 10:39 pm

no_gears_no_tears wrote:*****Update*****
Hi everyone, I was Leon_Loves_Lycra, but I created a new account because I lost the password for the old account.
I had the operation and now have a mad 40cm scar, and was out of the saddle for 6 months but my back has literally had zero effect on my cycling. If anything, it has made me love and appreciate cycling even more.

Sweet. Still going well?

How did they do it? Rods and screws? My wife is going to get her fusion re-fused, if you see what I mean. Hers will go from the hip up to about t8, and they'll use some artifical bone in where they need extra.

How long was your recovery?

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no_gears_no_tears
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby no_gears_no_tears » Wed Apr 25, 2018 7:43 pm

London Boy wrote:
no_gears_no_tears wrote:*****Update*****
Hi everyone, I was Leon_Loves_Lycra, but I created a new account because I lost the password for the old account.
I had the operation and now have a mad 40cm scar, and was out of the saddle for 6 months but my back has literally had zero effect on my cycling. If anything, it has made me love and appreciate cycling even more.

Sweet. Still going well?

How did they do it? Rods and screws? My wife is going to get her fusion re-fused, if you see what I mean. Hers will go from the hip up to about t8, and they'll use some artifical bone in where they need extra.

How long was your recovery?

Yep, still going well. I do get a stiff back if I have been sitting at school all day, but when I am sitting in a saddle riding all day my back feels wonderful which is great. They use titanium screws and rods and bone grafts - the surgeon might be able to show some of the screws to you.
One thing that I wasn't expecting was how long I would be fatigued for. The first week in hospital I was super spaced out on painkillers but it took about 5 months until I was back to normal. Your wife is going to be having a pretty big operation done, so don't be worried if she is still getting fatigued and forgetful many months after the op.
Good luck!

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foo on patrol
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby foo on patrol » Fri Apr 27, 2018 7:09 pm

You're able to sit and ride the bike. That's the big plus, ya able to be on the bike. 8)

Foo
I don't suffer fools easily and so long as you have done your best,you should have no regrets.
Goal 6000km
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London Boy
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Re: Cycling and Spinal Fusion?

Postby London Boy » Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:12 pm

no_gears_no_tears wrote:
London Boy wrote:How did they do it? Rods and screws? My wife is going to get her fusion re-fused, if you see what I mean. Hers will go from the hip up to about t8, and they'll use some artifical bone in where they need extra.

How long was your recovery?

Yep, still going well. I do get a stiff back if I have been sitting at school all day, but when I am sitting in a saddle riding all day my back feels wonderful which is great. They use titanium screws and rods and bone grafts - the surgeon might be able to show some of the screws to you.
One thing that I wasn't expecting was how long I would be fatigued for. The first week in hospital I was super spaced out on painkillers but it took about 5 months until I was back to normal. Your wife is going to be having a pretty big operation done, so don't be worried if she is still getting fatigued and forgetful many months after the op.
Good luck!

Thanks. Yeah, my wife's surgeon said that the recovery would take a while, not because of the wound having to heal, but the tiredness. We'll see how we go. She gets her surgery done in 3 1/2 weeks, so we're about prepared, as much as we can be. She is paraplegic anyway so pain will probably not be an issue, but her mobility will be more than usually compromised for a while.

Glad you're able to get out and get some exercise. And if riding is better than sitting down all day, that's a win for any number of reasons.

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BruceMP
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Postby BruceMP » Sun Jul 29, 2018 6:40 am

Hi Tallywhacker,

I had a dreaded RP about 7 years ago, from talking to other people who have had a RP, every experience is slightly different, my main advice is work on strengthening your Pelvic Floor as soon as possible as it will help in post RP recovery, I would also get some professional advice on how to and what are the best exercises, my PC was advanced and I did not have much time to work on my Pelvic Floor before the RP and my recovery took a while. I need to do Pelvic Floor exercises for the rest of my life, I now do Palates to help.

I do a lot of riding because I dont have continence problems while cycling, as I do when running or on long walks, but I have heard of other cyclist who do had problems.

Please feel free to PM me if you want to as more questions.

Tony

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