**I am in no way a medical practitioner and any advice or tips listed herein, are suggestions that have worked for me. Please contact your medical provider before beginning any new exercises or routines.**
Coping with a Herniated Disc
I mentioned in my menu plan on Sunday, that I have been dealing with a herniated disc. As I mentioned in that post, the pain from a herniated disc is the worst pain you can ever imagine. Nerve pain is the worst kind of pain because there’s no getting use to it, and it doesn’t dull. It stays as strong and intense from the moment it starts until it is healed. The only saving grace is that as it heals, it may occur less frequently.
Back in September of 2009, I had a microdiscectomy on a disc that was hitting my sciatic nerve on the left side of my body. The goal was to take away the numbness that I was dealing with, and to alleviate the pain that was constant. Sadly, the surgery didn’t do either. I left in more pain that I started in, and the numbness remained. I was out of work for at least 10 weeks trying to heal, because sitting behind a desk would have been impossible. After about 10 weeks, I still had pain but it was tolerable and something that I could work with. Now, 6 years later, I don’t have pain on that side, but the numbness remains. Now I have pain on the right side of my body from a herniated disc that is hitting my right sciatic nerve. However, this time around I’m handling things much differently, I’m going to work on healing myself naturally.
So, what am I doing?
First and foremost, I’ve cut gluten out of my diet. Gluten can cause inflammation, and has been shown to exacerbate herniated discs, I almost immediately cut it out. There is just no need for it, if it is even remotely causing any of my pain. I never ever want to be where I was on Thursday night again.
I was rolling around in bed trying to figure out how to get up to use the bathroom at 3 am and I just couldn’t do it without help. I had to wake poor Seamus up to assist me. At that moment, I hit rock bottom. I knew that my weight was negatively affecting my back and that I couldn’t keep beating my body up. So far, four days in, and I’m doing just fine. I absolutely have cravings but with the right amount of pressure on myself, I’m able to say no to gluten filled foods. It feels good to take control!
Next, I started my stretching regimen. Three to four times a day, I stop what I am doing and find a place to stretch out my back, which has been doing wonders. Even if my back completely heals, I will be continuing this stretches. A healthy back needs to be stretched and strengthened, as much as an injured one. I will be sharing my stretch “routine” in a future post.
I also began walking more. There have been days when hours would pass and I wouldn’t get up from my desk. If I don’t have to use the bathroom, and I’m focused on what I am doing, then I wouldn’t get up. I have changed that now, I try to get up at least once an hour to stretch my spine, and get a few extra steps in a day. The standing position is much less painful than sitting anyway.
I stopped lifting items that are too heavy for me. I have pretty much always been a strong person, able to lift things far heavier than I probably should have. In addition to my weight, this is probably one of the biggest qualifying reasons that my back is so temperamental. Even with our move, I am not lifting a thing. I bring the empty box to the room I’m in, fill it and then have Seamus move it. I’m not taking any risks. I haven’t even picked up Emmett in almost a week. If Seamus picks him up for me, I am okay to hug him and kiss him, but picking him up from the floor is bad bad BAD (just another reason I need to heal myself).
And finally, I’ve started doing some yoga. Yoga has always seemed so interesting to me, an intense workout for your muscles, but also so peaceful and centering. I have done yoga workouts off and on for years, but never really took it seriously. However, I did some serious reading about healing herniated discs, and one of the most common suggestions was practicing yoga regularly. I’m taking their advice and starting my practice. I’d love to have one of those strong, svelte bodies of all the yoga fanatics on Instagram.
This will likely be a lengthy journey, but I will heal and feel healthier because of it. I will have changed my life for the better in so many ways, versus jumping to surgery and not changing my life. I can do this! I believe in myself!