Whilst I don't know exactly 'how long' it will take for your slipped disc injury 'to recover to this stage', I do know that in my third bout, it took me around fourteen months before I stopped feeling 'dead all the time'. That may sound like a long time, especially to have to 'put your life on hold' - but I have learned 'the hard way' that months can 'fly by' without noticing 'any improvements' in the symptoms of your slipped disc(s) at all! It's hard ... However, around month fifteen (in my third bout), I noticed that I wasn't 'in pain all the time' and my mind was free to 'concentrate on other tasks' (at least for some periods of the day). But don't be fooled, as when you've travelled along the 'road to recovery' and have 'made it to here' (where the pain starts to recede) - your body is still not healed. As I have experienced all of the following symptoms, in the later stages of healing (with some 'still being present' twenty-one months later):
Try to imagine 'just for a moment' that you're a boxer 'in a boxing ring': Your slipped discs 'have you down in the corner, when suddenly - you throw an uppercut'. You now find yourself 'in the middle of the ring' starting to feel 'that you're somewhat like, your usual self'. Yet gradually, you shall realise 'that your strength is returning, but your pinched nerves can still torment you'. For around month twenty-eight of my recovery, I began to notice 'that I was feeling good' for two to three days of the week, and that I started 'enjoying life so much more' when undertaking tasks - but afterwards, that I could still suffer 'pinched nerves from hell' (especially 'around and near' that receding slipped disc in my neck):
How do pinched nerves affect your strength? Your 'out of that corner' (after your marvellous uppercut), but throwing that uppercut 'has taken everything you've had'. You know 'that you need a break from this fight'. You had the strength 'to throw the uppercut' but thanks to your pinched nerves, you know that 'if you throw any more uppercuts right now', that it's going to be 'no good for you'. Because you have to be honest with yourself 'about your back' - your legs and arms may very well 'have the strength' for another uppercut - but your back doesn't! You need a break - Ding! Ding!
At this stage of my recovery, I started to notice that 'I could put a lot more force through my body' - both in terms of what I was lifting, and in terms of my flexibility (especially being able to do tasks that I hadn't done 'for many months'). Yet I also found that my strength would be hampered by 'those pinched nerves' serving as a sensible reminder 'not to overdo it'. This would then 'feed into my emotions' because I wanted to get on, but I had to force myself 'to spread tasks out - throughout the week'. I have found 'this hampering' to be very frustrating, with pinched nerves coming from:
Ripping my 'printer to bits' (early December 2019). It had a 'very bad paper jam' around one of its 'very deep internal rollers'. To get to that roller, it took me around an hour of 'pulling bits off' - undoing screws on its exterior, pulling apart plastic clips, undoing screws on its interior, disengaging gearing cogs, pulling out spindles (that could now turn) and building an 'ever growing pile of screws and bits'. For I was amazed by 'just how much there is inside' even a small laser printer! I got the paper out 'at the halfway stage' and as my back was by now 'well and truly hurting' I had to put it back together 'a little bit slower'. The next day, I could feel that 'pinched nerve in my neck' again - whereby it felt as if 'it was doing a very good impression, of that very bad paper jam'!
Rubbing my feet down, removing hard skin 'that had built up' for ages (mid December 2019). This 'seemingly simple task' would push my receding slipped discs 'to their absolute limits' - but 'the time had come' for me to spend some time 'on myself again'. So with both my 'Dremel Multi-tool' and my 'Ped Egg' I was soon 'rubbing my feet down' - bliss! For the next week, I felt my spinal cord from the base of my spine to the top of my neck!
Painting my model miniatures 'and actually enjoying it' (Christmas week 2019). As I find painting 'to be relaxing' this was one of the hardest activities 'for me to have lost' (for many months). Whilst I am now 'back to doing this' I limit my painting sessions to half an hour max - because otherwise, I find that the 'pinched nerve in my neck' starts to play up again (as I keep 'bending my neck both forwards and downwards' which it doesn't like).
Tidying up my room (New Year's Day 2020). Granted this may not be 'a favourite task' but when you haven't actually been able to 'tidy anything' for many months, this can really help you 'to feel emotionally stronger'. I decided to 'tear out the lower half' of one of my bookcases (whose 'carpet area' in-front had also been 'covered in paperwork' for ages). It felt really good 'to be able to tidy', because I can remember December 2017 - when I couldn't really do anything! It's also an activity that 'tests your body, to its limits' - especially when you're 'bending down and carrying books'. After two to three hours 'of tidying' I decided 'that was it for the day'. Later that evening, I started to feel the 'pinched nerve in my neck' again (which took a couple of days to relent).
Our microwave 'had packed up' (October 2019). We finally got around 'to ordering a new one' (January 2020). I knew the date that the microwave was arriving - and everybody 'should have been in'. Unfortunately, when there was 'a knock at the door' they'd all gone out! I went out the back, down the side and around the front. The delivery person 'just dumped the microwave box in my arms', and signed the tablet himself 'heading off'. I started heading back down the side, but soon realised that the microwave's weight 'was too much' for my back. I had to 'put it down' on the garden table, 'where it stayed' until everybody else 'got back'. For the next four days, my reward 'for carrying the microwave' was - the pinched nerve in my neck (aka 'the old favourite' again).
For it was 'around here' that I started to feel 'that I'm getting my life back' - of which I believe 'that your strength' is an important part of that. I could do 'more tasks with more power and more flexibility' - but I would then 'have to take a break for a bit' to allow my pinched nerves 'to calm down'. And whilst you are 'calmed down' you shall also notice 'your bad habits returning' - as I keep finding myself 'leaning forward at my desk, with my feet all over the place'. Fortunately, this is not a problem 'that I face in the evenings' because my three slipped discs changed me: 'no more sofas' - I stand!
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!!!