Monday, June 16, 2008

A huge pain in the butt (literally)

So, I've got this new injury/problem related to cycling, and it is a huge bummer. Ever since Kern when I ride my racing bike, I end up with pain around my coccyx (aka tailbone). Sometimes it is a mildly irritating pain that is gone the next day. Sometimes it lasts several days. When I ride my other bikes it is OK. And, it kind of depends on the length and muscular intensity of the ride.

I broke my tailbone when I was in junior high, and it feels about the same. Kind of creates an aching sensation in the back of my throat like whacking a "funny bone".

Yesterday, I incurred the worst episode of this problem so far. We did a 3 hour ride with some short climbs - keeping it aerobic (meaning I was mashing at times). I felt pretty uncomfortable on the bike the entire ride. Couldn't seem to get comfortable with seat, hands, feet or shoulders. When we got home I could tell it was not good. But, I spent a goodly amount of time stretching and relaxing and took some NSAIDs with dinner. Then, we slathered it up with some icy hot (being careful not to color outside the lines with that!) and headed to bed.

I was feeling pretty good during the night. No lingering pain and was able to find a good position. Then, about 3:00 am, I did some sort of a strange movement and ended up causing a stinger in the nerves around the tailbone. I have not felt pain that intense in a long time. I contorted myself and hobbled to the kitchen to find the ice, but unfortunately woke up the Rickster, too. Sigh. The icing helped a little and I was eventually able to get back to sleep around 4:30. Ugh!

Now I need to figure out what is causing the problem and eliminate it (hopefully not cycling generally). But, I did a loop of the Pescadero course on my other bike on Saturday (equally mashy on the hill climbs), and felt great afterward. So, it's clearly related to my racing bike somehow.

Anyone else have this problem while cycling? Any suggestions?


bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

I had a similar problem with my tailbone (I had what I think was a fracture when I was 10...didn't bother getting it checked out). It doesn't bother me any more, I think what changed is that I got a firmer saddle so my sit bones took all my weight. That pain sucks, though -- hope you find something that works.

velogirl said...

it may or may not be related to your Trek, Sarah. it might be coincidence as well. sorry you're in pain. I can totally relate right now (it appears I have a stress fracture in my foot).


Merkeley Bike said...

Ouch, sounds painful.

Is the setup on both bikes the same? Ali had some back issues earlier this season and really small position changes alleviated them all together.

chatterbox said...

panda - yeah, I'm thinking firmer saddle may be needed. I have Brooks on the other bikes and a Terry on the racing bike.

vg - thanks!

merkeley - the bikes are close, but there are some differences. Distance from handlebars to seat is the same. Seat height is the same. Saddles are different. Bars are lower on the racing bike in relation to the seat. Also, seat is further back in relation to the cranks on the racing bike. May be time for a re-fit.

CyclistRick said...

I was so sad to see you in so much pain this morning. Need to get that fixed.

For now, try the saddle I put on last night; much harder, even harder than the Brooks (no elasticity like there is in the suspended leather). And we can see about getting you re-fit on that bike.

In the meantime, let me know what I can do to help.

twinkiepatissier said...

ouchy ouchy. it sounds pretty severe if rolling over in your sleep caused the pain...time to get zapped for some imagery data?

Chris said...

I would look into a different saddle and see if that helps. The other pains in your hands, etc. are probably from overcompensating because you are uncomfortable in the saddle. I hope you get it fixed soon. :)

alicat said...

i had the most intense pain in my back (as mike mentioned) and tried a whole lot of specialists who do a whole lot of things.

a good bike fit by someone who a ton of people recommended made me 100% pain free. email me offline if you want my recommendation...

chatterbox said...

twinkie - I hope we're not in the medical imaging stage. Hopefully my conservative approach will be good!

chris - yes. Agreed. Thanks!

alicat - thanks! Yes, I think my body has probably changed in the last 2 seasons, and probably time to get fit again.

bbElf (a.k.a. panda) said...

Mr. Man & I were distraught to hear about Rick's crash. We are keeping both of you in our thoughts.

*big hug*

Groover said...

Maybe a visit to the Chiropractor to get the spine checked and a professional bike fit to get the bike set up checked? Also: There is a Q&A section on You can email them your cycling related health questions. They are extremely helpful and have a wealth of experience. They'll probably be able to give you good advise.