If you'd have seen me twenty-one months ago, then you may have asked: is that guy a robot? He doesn't seem to be moving 'quite right' - his entire upper and lower body reminds me of 'SpongeBob Square Pants'! To which I would say: welcome to one of the symptoms of herniated discs - that of 'tight muscles'. Only in my case, was my entire spine (including my neck and shoulders) very inflexible! It really was hard 'to move at all'. And even then, it felt like I was moving millimetres 'in slow motion' for pain that was 'even further off the scale'. For my entire back, was behaving like 'a block of concrete' - almost as if I was cocooned within a Sarcophagus, with two 'eye openings' (to look out through):
Whilst I can laugh about this symptom now, at the time 'my mind' had to divert 'so much energy' to just trying to do 'basic tasks' (especially those that we all 'take for granted'). The main reason for this difficulty - was my inflexibility:
- Knowing that every muscle in my back 'was encased in concrete'. The concrete extended upwards from my waist (covering my entire torso) and was the kind of concrete that 'sets slowly BUT lasts forever and ever'.
- Knowing that every muscle in my neck 'was encased in concrete'. It was like I was wearing a 'neck brace' (just like 'what is worn' by sufferers of 'whiplash'). Only my neck brace was made entirely of 'my neck muscles'!
- Knowing that every muscle in my shoulders 'was encased in concrete'. I'd spent my 'years of good health' doing shoulder hunches (with dumbbells). But with those slipped discs, my shoulder muscles were like 'pieces of iron'.
- Knowing that every muscle in my legs 'was encased in concrete'. I'd spent my 'years of good health' running (two to three times a week) and 'doing squats'. BUT with my slipped discs, my legs were like 'metal girders'.
I felt dead. I couldn't tell 'one muscular pain from another' - only that it was 'somewhere in my body'. You may as well have 'glued me to the side of a wall' for all the flexibility I had (just like in that 'No More Nails' advert!). For that zip wire had really 'done its work' on me ... Whilst I may have been something of a 'special case' (with two slipped discs in my lower back, and one slipped disc in my upper neck) we all know 'what happens' when you've sprained your ankle - only I had that 'tightening up' over my entire body! One month went by, with no change. Then another month went by, with no change ... It was only around month fourteen that my muscles 'started relenting' (giving way to other 'more fun' symptoms). In any case, I found myself doing impressions of a 'waddling duck' around my parent's house - and it was 'even worse' when I could 'get out and about'. Strangers gave me 'funny looks' BUT you can't 'do anything about it' - as you're a block of concrete! So you have to 'mix in' some humour: Did you order concrete? No, I've got slipped discs!
For I am afraid that 'tight muscles' are going to be a symptom that you can suffer with, even in the 'later stages of healing' - because when you can't exercise as normal, then your muscles are going to 'become weaker'. And when you 'have done something', then you shall know that your muscles are weak (because they 'tighten up again' through the exertions that you've done). Perhaps the 'greatest realisation' of just 'how weak' your muscles have/shall become - is 'driving your car'. For me, whilst the 'pushing of pedals' was fine, I'd always feel it 'later that evening' - and even the next day, as my leg muscles would 'tighten up again, turning to concrete' as though I'd run fifteen miles (only I hadn't!).
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