Try to imagine 'just for a moment' that you're a boxer 'in a boxing ring': Your slipped discs 'are now in the corner' as you have unleashed 'a flurry of punches upon them' - yet as you 'step forwards' your slipped discs remind you 'with a punch' (which gets through your guard) that you're not fully healed 'just yet'. For around month forty of my recovery, I realised that I was 'feeling good' for four to five days of the week, and that many of my activities had returned to be being 'much more enjoyable' - with me concentrating on the activity (as opposed to me saying 'my bad back'). Yet afterwards, I could still suffer with a pinched nerve in my neck (spreading to my right shoulder) and/or a pinched nerve in my lower back:
How do pinched nerves affect your stamina? You've been 'pounding your slipped discs into that corner' whilst grinning about 'how good it feels' - but as you step forwards 'to finish this fight' your back starts to tell you 'pull that punch'. It would be great 'to win this fight now' - but that 'torturing nerve path/arc in your back' has taught you well! For if you do 'throw that knockout punch' then you may miss, and find yourself in the corner again (for two to three days). For I have found that my stamina 'recovers the better' when you realise that 'you've done enough for today' so stop till tomorrow.
At this stage of my recovery, I have found that I have a lot more 'energy to channel' and that my mind is free to think about 'interests other than injury' (fantasy, games and dragons) whilst feeling that 'I am enjoying my life so much more'. It doesn't mean that 'I'm fully healed yet', just that my body is starting to feel 'a step closer' to being seventy percent healed. Yet those 'storm clouds' of pinched nerves can still 'torture me' (especially when I have 'done too much') - with the following activities having given me pinched nerves (over my 'much more enjoyable for me' Christmas of 2020):
Setting up my 'old work pc' as a games machine (to play the old dos games 'Lands of Lore' and 'The 7th Guest'). This involved me searching for two power leads, mouse, audio cables plus speakers, keyboard, monitor and vga lead. In the past, such searching would have been 'a cause for agony' - but here it was 'much less so'. Yet the pc 'still aggravated my back'. As being an older pc, its case is made of solid steel (it's very heavy 'seeming heavier than my UPS') and whilst I lifted it correctly (on the 23rd of December), I ended up with pinched nerves in my lower back and upper neck (as the pc's weight 'was well beyond' what I should have lifted). My pinched nerves 'were still torturing me' on the 24th and 25th of December - which as I cooked Christmas dinner (and sat down to eat it) caused me to ask a question: why did I lift that heavy pc? Because of my old games! I was also 'taking a risk' as I pulled my first Christmas cracker (I tried to 'pull it sitting down' but as the cracker tore 'it jarred my back'). Even so, my pinched nerves had cleared by the 27th of December, when I was able to get on with 'connecting up' all those old cables, and installed Windows XP Professional (as I couldn't remember my old pc's password). There was further 'head scratching that evening', when 'Lands of Lore' would not run! I solved this on the 29th with a bizarre 'keep having to bend, push memory stick in, hour or two' whilst I was installing various device drivers and DOSBox 0.72 (after which 'Lands of Lore' runs fine!). Mind you, I was regretting 'this bending' later in the evening - as I had a pinched nerve in my neck again. This had cleared by the 30th whereby I was soon 'having fun' as Conrad 'being lost again' in the Draracle Caves - I had managed to forget to pick up 'The Magic Atlas' (so that's what the Library key is for!). As for the Draracle's gift? It was the silver goblet this time! As your back heals, the playing of such games 'becomes more fun' as your able to concentrate on the game, as opposed to your back. I was now in Opinwood, then it was down into the 'Urbish Mines' (after I'd slayed 'the Lahrkon' - using the green skull). I was having fun! But what of 'The 7th Guest'? There's more fun 'to be had here' but not right now, because having set-up 'my old pc' in-front of my cd storage racks, I don't fancy moving it 'just yet'.
Painting my model miniatures for five to six hours a day, for eight days running. This feels like a 'major milestone for me' (because it was Christmas 2016 'when I last painted like this'). I have started to 'really enjoy' my painting again, as that receding slipped disc in my neck, is now 'less aggravated' by such long painting sessions - although I still 'take a break' every hour or so (to get a snack) and I also seem to know 'when it's time to finish painting for the day' (as my neck 'tells me when'). I feel excited 'that I can now paint' using my favourite painting method: whilst waiting for the paint to dry 'on finer details' of almost finished models, switching to paint 'the basic details' of models that 'I've just started'. This means that I have a lot more 'models and paint out' which feels great! Even so 'I still have to pinch myself' (to see if I am dreaming) - because I can remember 'what it was like' when my three slipped discs 'had taken my hobby from me' ... I had been painting the barbarian, dwarf, elf and wizard (from HeroQuest) 'but I had to stop' - because I couldn't sit down! My models 'gathered dust' whilst I looked at them, wondering 'when and if' I would ever be able to paint them again? It was hard 'but toughens'!
Charging my car's battery (whilst painting my model miniatures), putting air in its tyres and cleaning its interior. I have now 'healed to the stage' where I can do 'more than one task' in a day ('just as I did' on the 2nd of January 2021). Yet at the same time 'do I still have to be sensible' - I know that I find it hard 'to clean the interior' of my car, so I asked my Mum 'to help me'. Mum cleaned my dashboard and seats, whilst I 'stooped down' for ten minutes (or so) cleaning the 'mould off' of my driver's seat belt (which had 'built up' due to dampness). As I had left my car on charge for around six hours (whilst miniature painting) it was thus 'early evening' when I took my car 'off charge' and put air into its tyres. It was here that I made a mistake - I should have asked my Mum (or Dad) 'as usual' to carry my portable power pack out for me (as it weighs around nine kilograms). Instead, I carried it out myself, connected it to my tyre inflator, put air into each of my tyres (including lifting my power pack 'several times') and then carried it back indoors. I felt 'very pleased with myself' (for having done so much) and I felt 'even happier' laughing about the 'cleaning fun' that Mum and I had - because as we were both sitting in my car, I had happened to say 'just like in the good old days, going for a drive, on a witch's broomstick that has four seats on it!'. It made us both laugh, and I felt 'even happier' when I realised that 'I was fine all evening'. My happy feelings continued 'into the next day' when I was able to get on with 'six to seven hours of miniature painting'. But by early evening, I asked myself a question: have I painted for too long today? The answer 'soon revealed itself' when I had a shower - as shortly afterwards 'everything that I had done' on my car and painting 'came back with a vengeance'. I had pinched nerves in my upper neck and right shoulder 'from hell'. YES 'I had overdone it' - BUT 'at the same time' I found that 'I started to laugh' as I said to myself 'I've DONE too MUCH' ...
Because when you're able to 'laugh more about your injury' then life is much more fun! Yes that zip wire 'did me in' but if I hadn't gone on it, then you wouldn't be reading this right now! And I wouldn't be laughing - or is that my warlock's cackle? For having to go through Christmas with slipped discs 'is a spell in itself' which will see you have 'highs and lows' mixed with 'discomfort and pleasure' mixed with 'plenty of time to yourself' - which through this 'journey called healing' gives you pinched nerves 'backwards and forwards' as you ponder to yourself 'the question of the day' (or night time) ...
How do you pull a Christmas cracker with slipped discs? Stand up (with a slight 'bend in your knees' and one heel 'off the ground'), whilst holding onto the edge 'of your dining room table' (with one hand), whilst pulling the cracker (with your other hand) and looking forward 'to wearing your Christmas crown' whilst rejoicing to 'the days of stamina' again.
Try to imagine 'just for a moment' that you're a boxer 'in a boxing ring': Your slipped discs have had you 'confined to the corner', whereby they have constrained 'your ability to move'. Whilst you don't like 'being in that corner' it has given you time to think, and you have gradually realised 'that your able to start parrying these blows - but your pinched nerves are still torturing you'. For around month twenty-four of my recovery, I began to notice 'that my body's flexibility was improving all the time', and that I could do 'so much more' without encountering any restriction - but afterwards, that I would always suffer 'pinched nerves from hell' (especially 'around and near' that receding slipped disc in my neck):
How do pinched nerves affect flexibility? When you're feeling pinched nerves, then you seem to have 'a laser sharp awareness' of the path that a nerve 'takes within your body' (especially within the vicinity of the pinched nerve). When I felt 'such sensations' within my neck, then it would dissuade me 'from wanting to bend my neck' - but it wouldn't necessarily 'stop me from bending my neck' (I'd just prefer not to, if I didn't have to). I also encountered 'this situation' at dance class, whereby forward and backwards steps 'were usually fine' but sideways steps 'caused pause for thought'.
At this stage of my recovery, I found that the complexity of the tasks that I could undertake 'increased dramatically'. And that I could also 'do those tasks for longer' before noticing any discomforts. Yet at the same time, did I also 'have to force myself' not to get carried away - such as by attempting a task that would be 'well beyond the maximum force, that I believed my healing back could take'. As the only way 'that you learn the answer to this one' - is by being honest with yourself 'about how your back is feeling'. For even when 'I was honest with myself' could I still get pinched nerves from:
Searching for my car's oil filter wrench (August 2019). As I'd been 'unable to tidy my room' for many months, I wasn't exactly sure 'where it was'. I started 'tearing into piles of paperwork', hauling boxes 'all over the place', and going through my wardrobes. An hour or so later, when my back 'was hurting by now' I'd managed to find the smaller oil filter wrench, and the larger oil filter wrench - but where 'was the one' that I was actually looking for? I decided 'to stop searching for the day', but as I 'stepped backwards' there was something 'under my foot'. It was an envelope. Guess what was in it? Success! But my 'pinched nerve in my neck' was soon torturing again.
Changed my car's engine oil and oil filter (August Bank Holiday 2019). First I removed my car's engine undercover - I jacked my front right/left 'just a little bit' (not removing any wheels) so that I could get my socket 'onto the nuts' (and undo them). Run my car for five minutes or so - to get the oil hot. Drain pan under, undid the sump nut, and undid the oil filter (using 'my found' oil filter wrench). I did most of this work 'whilst lying down' on my (currently unused) sit-up board. It was only when 'the next day' that I started to clean the oil filter 'base plate' that I first felt the pinched nerve in my neck again. I decided 'to slow down' and even did 'some sunbathing' whilst using my right hand (with a cloth) 'to clean the base plate'. I felt really happy, and was able to 'relax into' the next couple of days, although I still felt the pinched nerve in my neck (in the week afterwards).
Completely overhauled my computer's Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS - mid October 2019). There had been a power cut, and it 'didn't cut in' - instead my computer 'had just turned off'. My UPS batteries had gone! I ordered the batteries, and they arrived 'the day before' everybody else went on holiday. I was determined to fix my UPS whilst they were away - BUT it caused 'pause for thought, because it is very heavy'. I decided to proceed slowly over three days ... First day - hoovering around it, then disconnecting five power leads and 'stuck' telephone leads. I then 'slid it forward' and carefully 'lifted it onto' my desk. Undid about twelve screws, opened it up and 'what a mess inside' - dust everywhere and batteries had leaked! It took me 'a day and a half' to fix it - because I had to clean up three battery connectors (one positive, one negative and one that 'joined the batteries together'). In the afternoon of the third day, I put my UPS 'back together' and carefully 'lowered it' onto the floor. As I didn't seem to have 'any discomfort' I then pushed on and reconnected everything. Put the power on, and it worked! For the next two days, I had pinched nerves in my lower back and upper neck again!
Aquarium cleaning night (late October 2019). My Atlantis themed ninety-six litre aquarium had been 'too full of algae - for too long'. It needed to be cleaned, but I 'paused for thought' because of the need to carry 'buckets of water'. I decided that I would proceed, but only with me carrying 'half buckets of water'. I removed the lid, syphoned out the water (into my bucket) and 'took the dirty water outdoors'. I was then able to clean both my filters and my Atlantis ornaments (in the kitchen sink). I then 'reversed my steps' and put my aquarium back together. However, I then 'wasn't honest with myself' (about my back). As I 'pushed on and cleaned out' our smaller Goldfish aquarium. It was 'half way through this tank' that my back started telling me 'that it wasn't happy'. Yet as I didn't want my Goldfish dying 'I continued - cleaning their tank'. If I'd stopped at my Atlantis tank, then I feel that the 'pinched nerve that I had in my neck' - would not have been as intense 'as it soon was'.
For it was 'around here' that I started to have days 'where I felt like - my usual self'. Granted, I could still have 'pinched nerves from hell days', but I could also have 'I feel amazing days'. I found that 'I could do so much more in a day' before I started feeling my pinched nerves. One such day (in November 2019) was the dance show 'that I was in' ... Down the hall by 09:30, show rehearsals till 12:30, twenty minute walk home 'for lunch', twenty minute walk back (to hall), on stage in dance show till 19:00, then 'tidy up' and 'back home' by 22:00. 'My back held up all day', until around midnight!
Try to imagine 'just for a moment' that you're a boxer 'in a boxing ring': Your slipped discs have had you 'backed into a corner' (for many long months), whereby they have landed 'symptom after symptom' upon you. Whilst you don't like 'being in that corner' it has given you time to think, and you have gradually realised 'that your pain is going - but not your pinched nerves'. For around month twenty-three of my recovery, I began to notice 'that my days and nights, were now mostly pain free', and that I could do 'some tasks without being in pain at all (at the time)' - but afterwards, that I would always suffer 'pinched nerves from hell' (especially 'around and near' that receding slipped disc in my neck):
How do pinched nerves differ to pain? I don't regard pain 'as being equal' to pinched nerves - as I do not believe 'them to be the same symptom'. For me, pain always seemed to be 'much more muscular based' whereas pinched nerves seemed to be 'feeling as though something was stuck' (especially in the later stages of healing). With that 'pinched nerve in my neck' it felt as though 'two wires were arcing' - and it was that arcing 'that would stop me getting on' (with further tasks and activities). For I have found 'this arcing' to be both 'very off putting' and worrying - at the same time!
At this stage of my recovery, I started to find 'that I could get out a lot more'. There were 'trips to the zoo' where I could now 'walk around for three hours, with a rucksack full of food'. There were also 'walks around my local woods' where I could be out for two to three hours (again with a rucksack full of food). For I found that I was able to 'enjoy the local environment so much more' - as opposed to thinking about 'how much pain I was in'. Unfortunately, I'd usually 'start to suffer' the following day 'with my legs tightening up' and depending upon 'what I had done - pinched nerves from hell':
Attending the Maldon 'Classic Car Show' (early July 2019). Whilst I have been 'going here' for six or seven years, it seems to be becoming 'more and more popular' - leading to 'reduced parking'. As such, I decided to 'park the other side of the river' and walk across (the bridge) to the car show. This decision turned into 'a two hour walk' to get to the car show (because I couldn't resist 'taking shortcuts'), two hours 'at the car show' photographing the classic cars, and an hours 'walk back' (avoiding 'taking shortcuts'). I had loads of fun, with my favourite classic cars 'being the Mustangs' (there were 'plenty of them') and the 'Camaro 383' (which looked like a beast!). I also 'stopped off for a chat' with a military enthusiast, who was 'making me laugh' with his 'barely anything done to' Land Rover. Whilst I had 'felt good', I also knew 'when it was time to head home'. Yet even here, was I able to 'stop off for a chat' with my neighbour (about his classic car). But for the next week, I felt my pinched nerves again - specifically feeling 'my spinal cord from the base of my spine to the top of my neck'.
Washing my car (late July 2019). My car hadn't been washed 'for quite some time'. All of that 'changed here', as I was actually 'able to clean it properly'. I 'hosed it down' then filled my bucket 'lathered it down', then onto the wheels (being able to 'bend right down'). I then 'hosed it down' to rinse it off - I felt great! But the next day, I started to feel my neck, right shoulder, back and leg muscles 'tightening up'. Within a day or two, I had a pinched nerve 'at the base of my spine' - and the old favourite was back 'the pinched nerve in my neck' again!
Checking my car's tyre pressures. I'd usually try and do this once every two months. I've found that this is a task 'that really does' test how much you've healed! For when you're carrying around a portable power pack, with your automatic tyre inflator and 'you have to bend down' (to reach your valves) - then ... This would always give me tight leg muscles, and would 'usually always' give me a pinched nerve in my lower back (due to the weight).
Several 'days out' at Burnham on Crouch (Summer Holidays 2019) - staying 'well clear' of the zip wire 'that did me in' in the first place! Whilst I 'dreaded driving there' (because of the length of the car trips) I was fine. Once at Burnham (on each occasion) we walked along the front and 'headed down' to the ferry/crabbing piers 'on the river'. Stayed there for a while, then had some 'fish and chips' and walked up to the fields 'in front of' Burnham Marina. We played some 'kids golf' and some 'kids bowls' - before heading off for a 'walk around' the Marina. On one occasion I also walked 'much further' heading for Creek Sea Cliffs (where dinosaur fossils can be found), however I decided to turn back, as it was 'late in the day'. On all occasions 'my back held up' but always 'not the next day' - for here again, did my leg muscles 'tighten up' and I'd feel that pinched nerve in my neck 'from hell'.
For it was 'around here' that my life seemed to enter a weekly cycle of 'feel OK Saturday and Sunday - THEN go downhill Monday THROUGH Wednesday'. With the downhill being 'the pinched nerves that I was feeling', which were obviously a result of my weekend outings and/or tasks. However, I also feel that it was 'something more than this' because at the weekends, I wasn't really sitting down, whereas Monday to Friday 'I do sit down'. Yes, I'm talking about my posture! For when you're 'not in pain all the time' then your bad habits are going to return - such as 'leaning forward' at your desk ...
'Out of all' the slipped disc symptoms that you can suffer with, there is 'none more frustrating' than that of pinched nerves! As in my third bout of slipped discs (two herniated discs lower back, one herniated disc upper neck) I have suffered with 'more pinched nerves' than I can remember having - in either of my two previous slipped disc bouts ... Whilst you can experience pinched nerves within 'any stage of recovery' - you may not realise 'that that's what your feeling'. Because I have found, in the earlier stages of recovery, that pinched nerves are usually masquerading 'behind a wall of pain' - and you won't notice them as much. But in the later stages of recovery, all you can feel 'are those nerves':
What is a pinched nerve? Your spine has countless nerves both in and around it - such as your spinal cord and 'nerve connections' to various organs, arms, legs, etc. When your spine's discs are 'functioning normally' then those nerves 'have plenty of room' to route 'both in and around' your spine's vertebra (i.e. your spine's bones). But when you have a slipped disc, then those nerves can be 'pressed upon' by either the disc (if it's 'moved out of place') or the disc's fluid (if the disc's 'surrounding membrane' has actually ruptured). Added to this, is the fact that the muscles surrounding your spine could also be 'as tight as concrete' (just like mine were!). All of this means, that the nerves both in and around your spine 'no longer have plenty of room' to route to their various connections - and you quite simply 'feel the nerve'.
To say that pinched nerves 'can be off putting' is an understatement! As when they have happened to me (for 'months at a time') I have felt: like not doing much, not wanting to go out, not wanting to spend time with family, not wanting to sit down (even 'when I could' sit down!), whilst becoming frustrated and wondering - am I ever going to heal? That last question was 'particularly prevalent' in my third bout, as those two slipped discs lower back, and one slipped disc upper neck - had pinched 'my entire spinal cord' from the base of my spine, to the top of my neck! Fortunately, after around twenty-one months (or so) the pinched nerves 'that I feel now' are usually located at either end of my spine (i.e. just at the base of my spine, or at the top of my neck - not 'both ends at once', although on 'some days' there are exceptions!).
For I am afraid that pinched nerves are subject to (what I call) the 'yo yo effect'. You might be feeling ok, but the next moment you have 'pinched nerves from hell', then the next day 'pinched nerves from hell', then you start to feel ok again, then you do something (such as 'putting your shoe on'), then 'pinched nerves from hell', then you're feeling ok, then for no apparent reason 'pinched nerves from hell' ... I have found that you can't really predict this sequence, other than (for the most part) if you have 'done something', then expect some variety of 'pinched nerves soon'. There are 'all sorts' of activities and tasks that can give you pinched nerves (again), with some 'prominent ones' for me being:
August 2018. I helped my Dad replace his car battery - as his 'old one' was completely flat. Being sensible, I left Dad to 'lift the battery' and I just 'loosened and tightened' the various nuts. Not 'too much' I thought. I was wrong! That evening I was sitting 'in a restaurant' and all I could feel was my spinal cord (from the base of my spine, to the top of my neck). Whilst I had 'great fun smiling' - my smile was more of a 'death's head grin'.
For most of 2018 and (so far) 2019. I attend my Mother's dance class every weekend. Up to around fourteen months of recovery, I was 'very inflexible' (just keeping to basic dance steps). Around twenty-one months of recovery, my flexibility 'started to return' (so I started to do 'turning steps' again). But in both cases, the dancing would aggravate the nerves in my spine, but 'you have to persist' (as it's the only way 'to get your fitness back'). Although for me, I am still not doing 'jumping steps' (as you have to be 'somewhat sensible' as well!). I tend to feel the nerves 'just at the base of my spine' - because the dance steps 'give my legs - a really good workout'.
March 2019. My computer's Uninterruptable Power Supply (UPS) needed to be serviced (i.e. hoover all the dust out of it). It's really heavy, so I decided to 'work on it' under my desk - thereby avoiding 'lifting it'. Whilst my back and neck allowed me 'to do the work' - for the next week 'my reward' was: feeling my spinal cord from the base of my spine to the top of my neck! After a while, 'I got used to this one' (as you can 'get used to anything').
For most of 2018. Whilst driving my car 'gradually became less painful' - there were two manoeuvres, which always resulted in pinched nerves (especially 'the next day'). These manoeuvres were: looking 'hard right' (e.g. when at junctions) and looking 'back over my shoulder' (e.g. when filtering in). Again, I would feel these pinched nerves - right at the base of my spine, and at the top of my neck (i.e. no change to usual then!).
If you have pinched nerves 'right now' - then a 'repeating question' that you will 'continually ask yourself' is:
How long will these pinched nerves keep occurring for?
I'm afraid 'I have no specific answer' to this question! Although I will say: I have now returned to being able to sleep normally. And I can't remember the exact date when that happened. From my two previous bouts (of slipped discs) - there shall 'come a time' when you no longer seem to be feeling pinched nerves, and you will forget that date as well!
Although when I felt my pinched nerves 'really badly' - there is 'one thought' that I found would help me:
Picturing myself as the Tyrannosaurus Rex, in the closing scene of Jurassic World - ROAR!!!