View Full Version : Can you bike after surgery? (I know, I know - practive BEFORE!)

05-02-2010, 08:32 PM
I love to bike though I'm out of the habit. It also significantly relieves my scoliosis pain and lets me get places. My town has a fair number of bike paths. I hate to think I might never be able to go back to it - not sanely anyhow. One DOES occasionally take a spill - even experienced cyclists.

Great aerobic exercise too. Swimming makes my hair turn green and takes much more time out of my day - plus those shower tiles and around the pool, CAN be slippery. Hell ANYTHING can cause a fall! Wet leaves and black ice are the worst

Thoughts? Comments? I had to be careful before my surgery for cervical stenosis (a fall could have meant total paralysis from the neck down - and death from respiratory arrest). This sounds just as bad, though.

Just in case someone says it's OK "once I"m fused" - how can they tell? Nb I have osteopenia.

05-02-2010, 09:22 PM
I haven't had surgery yet, but rode my bike today on a bike trail and worried if I would have the nerve to do this after the surgery. I was going fairly fast on the downhill slope. I don't think I will be afraid to ride my bike around town where there aren't steep hills, but probably wouldn't try the bike trail until I am completely fused. I will definitely not try anything without my doctor's permission. Dr. Lenke said that eventually I should be able to do anything I do now. I worry that I won't be able to golf nearly as well, but I'll have to cross that bridge when I get there. I think skiing would be more frightening that bike riding and I know there are many who have skiied after surgery.

05-02-2010, 11:39 PM
I have wondered the same thing about riding a bike.And I was also wondering about if I could go to a shooting range( shot guns and hand guns)I was going to ask my surgeon when I see him the end of the month.

05-03-2010, 12:12 AM
i kinda suspect that since bike riding takes bending (not from the hips) and reaching, it might be out if one is fused to pelvis...but i very well could be wrong...i only rode stationery recumbent bike at the gym....and now i hurt too much for that...but i know riding a real bike is much more...dynamic!

i am wondering whether one can ever go back to those lower body machines at the gym once one is fused to sacrum or pelvis...cause not only do you have to climb onto them, but they are semi laying down...at least, the one i like the best...and then you have to push down with your feet...i never could keep my back still when i did it...


05-03-2010, 06:54 AM
The only bike riding I've done since surgery is the recumbent bike at the gym, which allows you to lean back against support and maintain a straight spine while pedaling. It's great for strengthening quads and core muscles. I was told that a typical bike requires too much thoracic bending for at least a year post-op but that was just my own experience.

05-03-2010, 07:11 AM
I have wondered the same thing about riding a bike.And I was also wondering about if I could go to a shooting range( shot guns and hand guns)I was going to ask my surgeon when I see him the end of the month.


My daughter was a hunter at the time of her surgery and that was one of her concerns when facing surgery. Her surgeon told her she could return to hunting at one year post-op--but not before. She shot her first deer the year she returned to hunting after her surgery. Her fusion hasn't changed anything with shooting (whether hiking through the woods to hunt or just target practice).

Mary Lou

05-03-2010, 07:29 AM
Thanks for your encouragement with golf. I may be wrong, but I think I'll be able to ride my bike. It has the speeds, but you sit upright with a full seat. I used to think they looked like an "old lady bike" years ago when I had my 10 speed. Oh, well, whatever works. The main problem I have is that I bought a boy's bike so my husband would ride it, too (which he doesn't) I'm thinking that swinging my leg over the bar is probably not going to work. Maybe I can trade it in since it's only a couple of years old & get one with no cross bar.

dolores a
05-03-2010, 08:08 AM
Hi everyone, have not been on for awhile, but I do check in every once in awhile to see how everyone is!

As far as riding a bike, I am fused to the pelvis and I have gotten back on a bike and was fine, just like before surgery, no problems. I was very happy to be able to ride a bike again!

05-03-2010, 03:33 PM
That's GREAT, Dolores!! I had to look up your age (Hoping you'd posted it) and this means so much more to me since you're 55 and not a "kid" in your 20s much less in your early to mid forties.

Of course, I really MUST get back to riding in advance of the surgery as afterward is no time for a refresher course. I imagine biking per se is fine, but falling is NOT! What did your doctor say?

Thank you - and everyone else for their input. It would be so nice to be able to use a bike again for transport! I sorely need aerobic exercise and find tracks and indoor routines get stale. Pools have the problem I mentioned.

How I wish I could go to the shore as Titaniumed recommends. That would heal mind AND body.

05-03-2010, 03:35 PM

I'm extra encouraged to see your fusions are JUST what was recommended for me front and back! :) :)

05-03-2010, 03:46 PM
Mary Lou,thank you for the encouragement.I have an appointment with my surgeon the end of the month for 9 month x rays.

05-03-2010, 05:12 PM
wow...so good to hear that you "pelvic people" can ride bikes after surgery!! since i never rode before, except for recumbent at gym, i kinda dont think i'll be riding after, either :) but maybe i'll be able to go back to the gym after surgery...i still dont know about those lower body semi-laying down machines...:confused:


05-04-2010, 09:28 PM
I am fused to pelvis and I fully intend to get back on my bike again when I get my brace off. The only concern I have is with falling. So I will be taking it easy at first. I am not sure why everyone seems to think that just because you are fused to the sacrum or pelvis that you are ramrod stiff. This is not the case at all. You are given bending and twisting restrictions for a few months until the fusion is healed. Beyond that, you can still function and bend , just maybe in a different way. Fusion to the pelvis is not the end of the world ;-)

05-07-2010, 08:21 AM
I haven't been on here for awhile but decided to check in. I am 66 years old and was fused from T10-S1. At my six-month checkup, my surgeon (Dr. William Lauerman) asked me, "Is there anything you are not doing because of your surgery that you would like to do?" I thought that was such a cool question. So, I replied, "biking and kayaking." He told me, "get out there and bike. I'm not sure about kayaking, but give it a try."

So, I went bike for 1.5 hours along the Potomac River. It was fantastic! I'm still nervous about biking on harder surfaces but will do it soon. As for kayaking, I'd love to get back in a kayak (flat water only), but I have trouble getting in and out of the boat.



05-07-2010, 09:26 AM
Wow! That's great Karen!!! Looking at your surgery sounds very similar to mine. Close in age as well. It's so good to hear these success stories!! Thanks for coming back and for posting.:)

05-10-2010, 09:53 PM
I had my surgery about 10 years ago (t3-t12), and have ridden many miles since then. I don't do off-road riding, just basic riding for transportation and leisure/bike paths. Like anything else, I would wait until you are fully recovered after your surgery (4-6 months), and take it slow. For me, I get a sore back afterward, but stretching takes care of it.

My experience has been that pretty much everything I want to do, I can. I was 30 when I had my surgery, and am 40 now. I have backpacked, kayaked, canoed, done yoga, biked, ridden a motorcycle, gone rock climbing, taken long camping trips, etc. I do sometimes have muscle pain, but nothing some stretching and advil can't take care of. If it's something you did before, as long as you ease into it and listen to your body, you'll probably be fine (with a few exceptions, and depending on your fusion).

05-13-2010, 07:43 PM
It's been very encouraging to hear from all you active, fit, bike-riding post surgical folks!

I'm starting to wonder if you aren't perhaps a subset of especially brave "spinies", though. If everyone (per comments) seems universally afraid of climbing even on step-stools for fear of falling, surely falling off a moving bike is at least as bad!

I'm thinking that the answer here is unfortunately "yes, bike riding is fine...as long as you don't fall!"

Or are there those of you out there who have fallen and lived to tell the tale? I'm wondering too what the fusion length is of those who DO bike - so far only Dolores (WAY TO GO DOLORES!) has indicated she's fused all the way to the pelvis!

I love biking but I'm holding back from total enthusiasm at your responses until I hear that you a) have fallen and survived (after fusion is solid, of course) and b) that you have a fusion as long as I'm supposed to expect (pelvis or at least, sacrum). Wonder how much it matters about the length of the thoracic fusion too! :confused:

Any respondents want to clarify these two points? (Crossing my fingers). :)

05-13-2010, 08:25 PM
Jamie has been lucky and hasn't fallen. It simply amazes me that she can do everything she does and it is with her doctor's blessing. The reason it amazes me so much is that she is fused from T3-L2 and doesn't have any screws in her back. She has two rods, wires and hooks--that's it. Her pedicles were too small for the surgeon to use pedicle screws.

Mary Lou

05-13-2010, 09:23 PM
I haven't fallen while biking - but I've certainly fallen in the last 10 years. I live in Minnesota, after all, and it gets awfully icy here in the winter. Luckily, most falls have been forward or sideways and not back - I have fallen while cross-country skiing, while skating, while just walking. I did fall backwards while backpacking once - though the pack cushioned my fall.

I wouldn't say that I do anything differently than I did before to avoid falling. I don't think I do particularly risky things, but I also don't worry excessively about it - I just live my life. The fusion itself shouldn't be at risk, though certainly the rods would be....but I haven't let myself worry particularly about it. They can break even without a fall.

I don't think riding a bike for a leisurely ride would be particularly risky. I probably wouldn't do off-road, or racing, but risks of falling while riding along a bike path aren't that high.

05-14-2010, 10:05 AM
I bike fairly often. Though less in the last few weeks. I was planning a cross-Iowa bike ride in July, but I ended up being in a car accident that kind of impeded my progress. That being said, I have had an area of non-fusion and both rods broke last summer. I didn't start biking until 3 days after the first break though.
My surgeon said that I have to use a cruiser style bike, so mine is an Electra Townie.
As for falls, I have had a "near fall". I was jumped on by a large dog when I was coasting, and did not fall completely to the ground, but I did land on a knee and a foot. It hurt, but being as I had a rod already broken, it didn't do much...and the other rod didn't break until several months later.

I can let you know if my revision took after June 9th. That is my 6-7 month checkup.
I have taken several other falls NOT on a bike though. In fact, in one of them someone ran into me when I was squatting to pick up something, i ended up being flipped over a chase lounger and landed on my back on linoleum, no breaks from that (I was 6 weeks out from the revision at the time).

Hope that helps.