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Scitica, multi-level disc bulging. Do i continue with round the world cycle?

margo d2011-08-24 16:25:42 +0000 #1
Hi folks

I am new to this site and am hoping that someone can give me some advice at a very crucial moment in my life. My husband and I are 21,500 kms into our New Zealand to Scotland bike ride. For the last few months though I have been feeling pain and numbness in the back of my left leg and burning in my big toe as well as a lesser pain in my left arm. It has meant me having to get off the bike every 10 kms or so and walk around when it got too bad. It got worse on worse and in Tehran i finally got to see a chiropractor. I was sure the problem was sciatica. The chiropractor sent me for an MRI. The results came back as multi level disc bulging, 3 in the neck and 1 in the lumbar area. He told me straight away I shouldn't finish the trip. I was utterly heartbroken. I had 6 sessions of chiropractic before leaving Iran as well as electricity therapy and ice packs but I still feel the same numbness and pain coming back after 10 kms or so on the bike. Yesterday I took the bus to Istanbul and my husband has continued cycling. He will meet me here in 3 weeks. I now have to decide whether after 3 weeks rest it is wise for me to try to finish the last leg from Istanbul to Scotlnd, some 3000 kms. I only have pain on the bike, never of it so I am very lucky in that respect. I just want some advice please so I can make an informed decision as to whether to carry on. I don't want to make ny condition worse and live to regret my stubbornness but at the same time it is very hard for me to accept that my trip of a lifetime is over. Any advice most welcome and my best wishes go out to the other people on this forum who are suffering far more than I can imagine.


redrhodie2011-08-24 16:36:04 +0000 #2
Wow! I'm so sorry for your back problems. That sounds like a heartbreaking situation to be in, and a hard decision to make. I hope you can continue on somehow. I wish I had some wisdom to offer...

What about a recumbent bike? That's the only thing I can think of. I assume that finding one to try in Turkey would be difficult, but it's an idea.
Biciclista2011-08-24 16:45:21 +0000 #3
hey Margo, see how you feel in 3 weeks. But I'd listen to the doctor AND to your back. IT's a nice dream, but it sounds like it's too much for your body.
Muirenn2011-08-24 16:35:42 +0000 #4
Wow! I'm so sorry Margo I had lumbar back surgery when I was 31, so 10 years ago. I regret not being more careful when I was younger, because I have to be extra careful for the rest of my life. Backs are not replaceable.

Has anyone mentioned what happens if it degenerates too far?

It's best to listen to your injuries, and allow them to rest and heal. That means the pain stops completely. It doesn't mean the injury goes away. When cycling in the future, don't ride until it hurts. Stop before that. If it hurts or is numb at all, that is your body telling you something.

Sorry not to be more uplifting. But I've been there too.

Edit: a recumbent for the future perhaps, but during and immediately after a back flare-up, the body is more likely to get injured again.
tangentgirl2011-08-24 18:04:03 +0000 #5
Wow, what an amazing trip you've been on. If you need to stop, just know that what you have done is a great accomplishment, and you will carry it with you forever! I'm really in awe, what a great way to see the world.

A couple of suggestions...

Is there a way you can continue the travel up to Scotland, off the bike?

If you do stop, perhaps you could heal up for a good long while, then finish the last leg of trip in a year or two or five?

Do some sort of celebration, wherever the end is, you deserve it!

Good luck and keep us posted.



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