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Posts Tagged ‘sciatica’

Life can certainly take some interesting twists and turns, pun intended, when you least expect it. No one really plans for injuries, and often healthy, active people falsely believe it can’t happen to them.

I have been in back pain for the past 6-8 weeks and am not sure exactly what unfortunate lift, twist or turn put me here.  That is one of the worst things about soft tissue injuries, they come out of nowhere and take longer than you hope to heal!

The Lumbar Spine

Not only am I knee deep in writing assignments, tests, mock teaching lessons and article reviews for my Sport Science program but I have a ‘slipped disc’ in my lower back.  Although the medical community refers to it as a ‘slipped disc’, it is actually a bulge of one or more of the jelly-like cushions between the vertebra.  I’m unclear of exactly where the term ‘slipped disc’ originates because you can’t actually slip a disc!

The spine is a very intricate web of nerves that connects to all areas of the body.  In the case of lower back discs, if an injury causes the jelly to bulge into the surrounding spinal area (where they do not belong) your sciatic nerve is pinched and the pain is unbearable, sometimes debilitating.

For someone as active as me, slowing down means sitting for 30 minutes a day instead of 15.  I am now forced to find alternative ways to release my energy. For those dealing with any form of back or neck pain, after a diagnosis by your MD if necessary, water jogging is a great way to keep active while going through the healing process.  It is done exactly like it sounds: you jog in the deep water either suspended on a noodle or an aqua belt.  Always be cautious of your posture and neck positioning as not to aggravate your condition.  If you engage your core and pump your arms and legs you would be surprised how fast you can get your heart rate up and how difficult this activity can actually be.

One of the worst things people commonly do when they get injured is stopping almost all physical activity.  It is actually better to stay mobile, as long as the activity doesn’t put any strain on your joints or in my case, my back. Increasing blood flow to the area helps with healing and ensures joints don’t become stiff- thus taking much longer to recover.  Like the old saying goes…use it or lose it.

Other very beneficial treatment alternatives for back pain that I am currently undergoing are chiropractic, massage, acupuncture, stretching and yoga.  I have also been incorporating  a daily regimen of ice for 15 minutes and then heat for 15 minutes to the affected area. This again increases blood flow and helps with pain management.

If I can offer any advice for those dealing with back or neck related pain, it is to be conscious of your posture, the way you lift (even light objects) and above all stay active within your personal limits.

Healing is part mental, part physical and part emotional.  By taking charge of our own healing process we can trust that tomorrow will be a better day!

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