Getting things sorted

Statistically cyclists suffer more back problems than the general population . Many people make the assumption that this is because of the bent over posture that we have when on the bike , especially road bikes . This , however is not the case . It is because we are putting all parts of our bodies to more use than Mr. Joe Public that we notice and then go about getting it sorted that we show up highly on the stats .

Recently , whilst we were being measured up for our new Viner Maxima’s , my own back problems were highlighted . As soon as I sat up on the bike measuring jig , Guisseppi , who does the measuring for the Italian national squad , immediately said that I had back problems . Before laying a hand on my back he informed me that my spine was twisted and that I needed to get it sorted .

We regularly have people coming into the shop asking for advice about back , knee , shoulder problems etc. so I felt that the process that I am currently going through may be of interest to some of you .

Now , my own case is pretty extreme . I have a size 44 left footand 46 right foot with two significantly different sized legs . A fall onto my back in Australia eleven years ago was the most permanent souvenir that I’ve ever brought home from my travels . Sometimes when I get home from a spin especially if there’s been a lot of climbing , it can take over an hour before I can stand up straight . And in the usual Irish male fashion I just plough on with it and think that ’twill be grand .

Well , last week I began the process of getting something done about it .

The week began with a visit to a chiropractor . A new practice opened a few months ago here in Clonmel and initial reports sounded good so I headed down to see John Osbourne in his clinic where they use the activator method . Why a Chiropractor ? no.1 they are back specialists . no.2 a few years ago when it was particularly bad I went to my gp who gave me anti-inflammatories ( stopped the pain for a while but no long term benefits ) , then went to a physio who worked on my back muscles and it worked well whilst I was going to see him but the pain was back within a short time of stopping treatment .

My first impression of The Osbourne clinic was a good one . Friendly receptionist , relaxing atmosphere , no big que in waiting area . Straight into first consultation room where I filled out the medical history forms . Then the initial examination which was followed by a change of room to where a back scan was carried out . The results were very detailed but easy to follow and I was given a copy to keep . Should be a good way to monitor progress when I have my next scan after four weeks . Then after being given a full description of what is wrong with my back and how it would be treated I was brought over to the treatment room and had my first session .

The treatment will consist of three times per week for four weeks and then once a week for two months and regular visits after that . 50 euro initial consultation fee , then 40 per visit after that . It won’t be cheap but if it sorts out my back it will have been money well spent .

I also decided to invest in a pair of custom orthotics for my shoes . With a little assistance form our friends at google I came upon Declan Healy of and was delighted to find that he did consultations in Thurles. As he also has clinics in Dublin , Carlow and Mallow , I rang to book an appointment . He was very accommodating and arranged to meet me at his home at 7.15 on Wednesday night . Once again he did a full physical examination and then did a computerised gait scan where I had to walk along a rectangular plate and he could show me how my feet came into contact with the ground whilst walking . He also made a cast of my feet and this will be used as the mould for my orthotics . 270 euro a pair but again money well spent , I hope .

The orthotics will take three to four weeks and by that time I will have had my second back scan so I’ll keep you all posted as to how I get on .


4 thoughts on “Getting things sorted

  • November 10, 2008 at 9:25 am

    Barry, I have used custom orthotics for a number of years now. I started out with what I thought was a sprained foot, but the physio assured me that I had very flat feet and that this was causing the knee and back pain that had been niggling me for a while. I have to say I never looked back since. The feet and back were never better. I use them all the time, in leisure and cycling shoes. You do not realise how much of a benefit they will give you.
    Your man’s method is very high-tech. In my case, it was all manual. I will follow your progress and might invest in a new pair for myself!

  • November 11, 2008 at 9:59 am

    I found this website and you can get a pair of do it yourself custom orthotics. i only have em a week so i dunno if there any good yet but their fairly cheap. i suppose you could stick em in your everyday shoes and keep the expensive ones for the bike shoes. but i suppose with the new 1000 euro bike scheme ye can well afford the proper custom orthotics.

  • November 11, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    Hi Guys ,

    One reason that I went down the hitech route with the orthotics was because the chiropractor recommended that the ‘plate’ method was far more acurate . When I had the consultation Declan told me that because my feet were narrow I hit the ground with the outside of my feet first , then the inside basicaly falls down to follow .
    He was able to show me this on the pc screen and said that the inside of the orthotics will need to be built up to compensate .
    This would not be possible with the diy orthotics but they would probably be fine if your feet were only a little out of kilter .

  • July 16, 2009 at 12:02 pm

    Hi Barry, How did this go for you? I am going through a similar treatment at the moment, and am still skeptical.


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