Friday, August 26, 2011


Last year I remember being at the Muni Only Race in Albany and mentioning my fatiguing back muscles to some of the other riders. I felt like I got a bunch of blank stares. This year at the Fat Tire Challenge in Pennsylvania, I got the same response. My lower back continues to get fatigued on many of my rides, and most other muni riders aren't having this problem.
Although I generally push through, it feels like it's my number one limiting factor. In one of the Fat Tire Weeknight Series races this year, I did not finish due to lower back fatigue. It's a problem.

To help, I did some extra stretching exercises here and there, but I've never gotten into a regular routine.

About a month ago, I started to get a slight sciatica feeling in my hamstrings. It wasn't anything too crazy, but something to note. I think it showed up in both legs at different times. I just felt it once in a while and it never lasted long.

About three days ago, I got a much stronger sciatica pain in my left leg, or at least what I've been calling sciatica. It was only in the hamstring and didn't go all the way to my foot. Certain movements seemed to cause it. I noticed it more when I swung that leg forward while walking, when no weight was on it. Sometimes when I bent over while seated I'd feel it more too. Just shifting my weight in my chair might give me a zinging feeling. I iced my lower back a few times, but it wasn't making a big difference.

I figured it was most likely from the Singletrack Stampede race I rode on Saturday. That's a tougher trail. Or maybe lifting something heavy caused it. Or maybe it was from the fall I took at the race, though that was just a typical tuck and roll. I haven't had any specific events that caused me sharp pain.

Whatever the cause, it didn't seem like it was going away, so I made an appointment with a chiropractor.
The day before my appointment I woke up and was frustrated to find little improvment. Sometime in the morning, at work, I shifted in my chair and felt some kind of a pop in my left hip joint area. That happened twice during the morning. I didn't feel any noticable improvement in my sciatica though. But in the afternoon I started to notice a marked improvement. I don't know if that popping had something to do with it or not.

This morning things were even better. I can still feel the sciatica a bit once in a while, but it's way less often and less intense. Still, I went to my chiropracic appointment with the hope of understanding the problem and improving my low back fatigue.

After telling him my story, he started with the TENS therapy. After a lower back massage, he adjusted my back. I heard and felt a good amount of crunching. He also adjusted my neck, though I didn't hear or feel anything. I don't feel like a new person, but it's good to know things are closer to where they should be.

I have another appointment in a week for a follow-up adjustment and to talk about stretches and exercises I can do. He didn't want me to start on any specific exercises until after the next appointment to avoid confusing any soreness from my first adjustment with soreness from exercise. Still, he said to go ahead and keep up with my normal exercise, including muni.

So I hope to get a ride in this weekend.

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