In May of 2015, the Sciatic pain down my left leg was so intense that I couldn’t get out of bed for three weeks. I had surgery for a herniated disc (the root cause of Sciatica) at L4/L5 in June of 2015, and here’s an update a year and a half later.
Category - Exercise
I started playing piano when I was 22, and by 24, I had severe tendonitis on both arms because of poor technique. My wrists were locked, elbows too bowed, shoulders too tight and I basically white knuckled it all the way towards early retirement from the concert stage (I was never really on the stage, but you get what I mean).
Ted talks are at the top of the list when it comes to expert advice on Science and Technology delivered in a way that everyone can understand. Here’s my Top 5 talks from medical and engineering research leaders who discuss the root causes of back pain and how to alleviate (or at least cope with) a sore, achy or damaged spine.
After six years of research and over 600 interviews, author Cathryn Jakobson Ramin has released what I would describe as the laymen’s comprehensive guide to navigating the murky waters of back pain remedies. As a human guinea pig, Ramin explores dozens of treatments from acupuncture, chiropractors, osteopathy, to finding the perfect office chair, all in an effort to relieve pain from herniated discs and degenerative disc disease.
Ramin’s exhaustive investigative research uncovers some of the dubious motives at the centre of traditional healthcare modalities, and provides statistical data that backs up her claim which strongly suggests that those with back pain need to think twice before signing up for multiple sessions of chiropractic / physiotherapy treatment, epidural steroid injections or far more invasive procedures such as spinal fusions. Though some of these treatments may help, her advice is to start with the far more obvious routines such as exercise, constant movement, and innovative often un-reported practices such as Rolfing, Feldenkrais and the Alexander Technique. Oh, and my personal hidden gem in preventive spine-aching office furniture…something called the Locus Workstation.
Ramin says that “People in pain are poor decision-makers” and her book helps us understand the real limitations of the medical systems approach to back problems and that most overlook the obvious solutions such as diet and exercise. She points to Stuart McGill’s encouraging results on the “Big Three” exercises that many back pain sufferers can do daily to increase their chances of rehabilitation.
Buy it Here on Amazon: Crooked: Outwitting the Back Pain Industry and Getting On the Road to Recovery
In late May of 2015, I distinctly remember laying on the floor of my condo watching Youtube videos on my iphone. I was in a lot of pain and couldn’t really move without horrible nerve shocks shooting down my right leg into my ankle. And while I lay there I just kept watching self published videos of people recovering from a discectomy. These videos gave me some comfort in knowing that surgery could stop the excruciating Sciatic pain I was enduring. So, I would like to thank these five people who took the time to tell their story of overcoming herniated disc pain through surgery.
I just passed the 6-month mark of my L4/L5 Discectomy so I thought now would be a good time to discuss my progress. Just a quick recap before getting into how things are today: In early June 2015, during a routine tying-of-the-shoe I badly tweaked my lower back. By the next day, a crippling Sciatica had set-in which confined me to a bed for weeks. Luckily, I had an up to date MRI so an Orthopedic surgeon quickly diagnosed a herniated L4/L5 and I was wisked off to the operating room for a lumbar Discectomy. Fast forward six months and here I am, resting fairly comfortably typing out an update.
Some professions come with a much higher risk of physical injury and often the wear and tear endured by top athletes is centered around the spine. It’s not surprising then that many pros that have had back injuries undergo surgery of some sort – especially Micro-discectomy. Here are some of the more high profile pro athlete with herniated discs and various other back related injuries.
Treating back pain with painkillers has become a controversial topic. And there’s a particular stigma against people that regularly use opiates to treat back pain. The media reports on the use and misuse of drugs such as Oxycontin and morphine almost daily, backed with statistics of rising rates of overdose.
I was traveling through India in early December 2010 when ye ol’ back starting acting up again. The years of backpacking across the globe had taken it’s toll on my spine, and somewhere between Pune and New Delhi, I was hammered by pain in my lower back radiating down my leg. It began with a dull ache and a few days later I was in a familiar position; laid out on a bed, this time under a ceiling fan in Chandhigarh. While visiting my grandmother in the city that I was born, I was suffering through another bad flare up and wondering how I would make it back home.
Exercise is an important step towards recovering from any injury. When you’re dealing with herniated discs it’s particularly tricky to find the right routine to get your strength and flexibility back. And if your lower back is as temperamental as mine, you’re constantly reminded that one wrong twist or bend could land you back in bed for or worse, the operating table.