RAGBRAI XLIX registration is now open!

Neck/spine disc replacement surgery

Well I’ll be missing RAGBRAI this year and it’s killing me. Seems I have a herniated disc in my neck which is pressing a nerve that goes to my arm which is causing pain and weakness in the arm. The surgeon is going to replace the disc with an artificial one. This is a really common surgery so since I’ve always gotten good responses from the riders on this forum, I thought I would see if anyone reading this has had this surgery and if it affected their riding afterwards? My plans are to pick up on RAGBRAI next year and every year thereafter until I ride off into that final sunset.

11 Replies

Michrider !!!, May 6, 2015 at 11:18 am

I’ve had 2 back surgeries, herniated discs each time, in my lower spine (L5-6) back in the early 90’s. I recovered well after these surgeries (5 years apart). I have no issues with my back now! You’ll feel better and should be able to return to riding. Good luck!!!!


Jason Stoller, May 8, 2015 at 10:25 pm

That’s interesting Michrider. I have had 4 back surgeries that included two fusions and I had no Idea there was an L6. The reason I say that is because I am fused at L5-S1 so one of us either has an extra part or is missing one LoL! I am also fused in my neck. I currently have another herniated disc in my neck but I am working with a pain specialist and taking a drug called topamax(topiramate). So far I have avoided surgery on my neck again for almost two years. In addition to this my docs discovered that I also have a bicuspid aorta valve with an ascending aneurysm that they missed when I was in the military. I just keep going. Of course I ride recumbents which is something you might want to investigate. Much easier on your back, neck, and shoulders. You also do not need surgery after a long days ride to get the seat removed from your butt.

I am curious as to what your doctor is going to replace your disc with since it is really a jelly donut type material in there. Did you really mean to say he is going to fuse your neck? Some of the newer technology includes using carbon fiber material for fusion.



Sandaltan ., May 9, 2015 at 11:36 am

I am sooooooooooooooooo lucky!!! You go guys, my hat is off to you for toughing it out.



Rob Jones, May 10, 2015 at 9:38 am

Good(?) to hear I’m not the only one with back troubles on the ride. I had a herniated disc repair on L5/S1 in 2004. Only about 25% of the disc remains. My biggest problem riding is back pain. I plan on visiting my Dr. and getting an epidural steroid injection a few weeks before the ride. That and a lot of ibuprofen should see me through. Good luck guys!


GetAClue Blue, May 20, 2015 at 11:00 am

Good news, bad news. Still gonna miss RAGBRAI 2015 but not having any surgery. They were gonna replace a cervical disc but I’m not sure of the material they were gonna use. I quit taking the meds they gave me just to see if the pain was still present. It’s been almost two weeks and no pain. No tingling in the fingers either. The surgeons’ office called to give me the details on the surgery scheduled for June 4th and I told them I wasn’t going to have it. Bad news for me is I’m still gonna miss RAGBRAI 2015 but already looking forward to 2016. It looks like they have some great music lined up this year with Huey Lewis on one night and Styx on another.


Luv 2 Ski, May 20, 2015 at 2:36 pm


I agree, some great music lined up this year.

Technically Styx will not be performing. Dennis DeYoung is “Peforming the Music of Styx”. He can not call his band Styx. The band led by Tommy Shaw goes by the name Styx. Some legal deal when they broke up even though Dennis DeYoung wrote 8 of thier 10 top hits.

How is the umpiring going with the bad back? Last year we spoke about my son umpiring and he loves it. In his third year, at age 15, and is making $50.00 a game. Not a bad gig for a freshman in high school.

Hope your back is better soon.


TeamPowellMom, May 20, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Sorry about your trouble, Blue. I don’t have experience with this, but definitely recommend a second opinion and possible alternate treatment. My husband had a neck thing that neither one of us can remember details about off the cuff, but rather than the recommended surgery he got some sort of injection and physical therapy. He too was having arm/elbow issues as his only complaint. The injection provided the primary relief, and the physical therapy helped as well. He no longer has issues with his arm. We do know his diagnosis was not the same as yours. Just ask if anything else can be done so you know your options. Good luck!


GetAClue Blue, May 21, 2015 at 8:06 am

Let It Snow: Good for your son. We have some youngens sign up each year. Some of them call games during their college years to help supplement their incomes. I think I saw ya’ll last year once on your green tandem. Are you riding this year?


GetAClue Blue, May 21, 2015 at 8:20 am

TeamPowellMom: I had the injection shortly after the onset of this issue. It helped tremendously by taking away 70% of the pain and thus allowing me to sleep at night w/o waking up constantly. Other than that, I have been taking a non narcotic, non habit forming med for diabetic nerve pain called gabapentin. It helped by masking the remaining 30% of pain the injection didn’t take care of. Still had some weakness in the arm. Tingling in the fingers if I forgot to take the meds. In any case, I stopped taking it about 2 weeks ago now and have no tingling now and the arm seems to be getting strength back. I’m going to keep my second opinion appointment scheduled June 13th and hopefully confirm my decision to not do the surgery. Does your husband ride? If so, what style bike? I ride a standard road bike but would consider a recumb if it had anything at all to do with the neck issues. Love my road bike tho. I think its more of a hand-me-down from mom’s arthritis than anything else.


Luv 2 Ski, May 21, 2015 at 1:32 pm

GACB: My son is not riding RAGBRAI this year, but I plan on riding my single the last 4 days. I am coaching in a baseball tournament the weekend RAGBRAI starts so I was not able to commit to the whole ride. I plan on riding all of 2016 on the tandem with my younger son. Good luck with your back, I hope you get on the road soon.


TeamPowellMom, May 22, 2015 at 7:47 am

Blue: My husband does ride a road bike. No issues since the injection. He clarified that the PT was for an unrelated arm issue. The injection alone solved the neck thing.
Good luck!


You must be logged in to reply to this topic.





Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters

Friends of RAGBRAI