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 ...
Slipped discs are the injury that have 'made me cry the most' within my life (so far). With my three slipped discs (two lower back and one upper neck) there were days where it felt like 'I cried all the time'. This doesn't mean that my pain threshold 'was low' - but that herniated discs 'punch right through' whatever pain threshold 'you have before', and cause you to experience 'just how LOW life can GO' (for quite some time). And whilst you are 'that LOW' you shall also experience 'something else' about our 'highly evolved society' - that no matter 'who you are' IT DOES NOT CATER FOR ADULTS 'that are CRYING'. For as adults, we believe that 'its only kids that cry'. But slipped discs 'refine that opinion':
In the early 2000's, I can remember seeing a lady crying, when something 'had gone wrong' with the completion of her 'advanced scuba diving course'. They were down at thirty metres 'under water'. But when they 'came up' she was in tears (bordering on screaming). She was a 'shaking mess' who could not be consoled. But with slipped discs, that's the 'kind of crying' that you can expect - for months at a time! For your tears 'shall be fed through' three underlying causes:
The pain you're experiencing 'everywhere'. Any human being 'that's in pain' is going to find it hard 'to be their usual self'. Whilst there maybe pain (from broken bones and accidents) that 'feel worse' - I would be 'hard pressed' to name PAIN that 'lasts for as long' (as slipped discs do). As months will 'go by' without you noticing 'any reduction' in that pain. In my third bout, it was fourteen months before I noticed 'any improvement' - a reduction in 'muscular pain', which evolved into 'nerve pain' (both of which 'kept me company'). On some days it will feel as though 'it's too much pain' and you will 'break down' and start crying - finding it hard to stop!
The impact on your life 'what you've lost'. Any human being that is unable to go about 'their usual activities' is going to feel saddened. So many of our lives 'are based upon routine'. We are used to doing 'certain things' on a weekly basis (such as attending a kickboxing class) and also on a seasonal basis (such as 'spring cleaning' and gardening). BUT when you can't do those, having to refrain (for the most part) because of 'terrible pain' - then you will find that you will lose 'much of the stability' that a weekly routine 'brings to you'. On some days it will feel as though 'you can't take any more' and you will 'break down' and start crying - finding it hard to stop!
The 'time of year'. The run up to Christmas 2017 'is the hardest I've ever known'. As this was three months after that 'silly decision - to ride the zip wire' (which gave me my three slipped discs). It's very hard 'to be merry' when it feels like you've been hit 'with a neutron bomb' (especially when 'you're left' in the blast crater, feeling the 'shockwaves' every day). I can remember 'wrapping up my Christmas Presents' whilst being 'close to tears'. How can such a 'simple task' take SO LONG, and be SO PAINFUL? I had trouble 'sitting in the seat', 'cutting the paper' and reaching for the Sellotape. I also found that 'first summer' (2018) difficult to cope with ... I'd usually be out running, enjoying the local countryside and exploring my local woods (listening to the wildlife). But with my slipped discs, I was 'well and truly' housebound - and as such, I lost many of my usual 'relaxation paths'. I found that this 'turned to tears' and that 'I would cry' because I felt 'less than I had been'. I would ask myself a question: why me again? As I'd then 'remember about' my previous two slipped disc bouts, and cry some more!
I would also say that the 'mental challenges' to recovering from slipped discs - are harder 'the older you are'. As a kid, you can 'get by' with not doing 'much at all' - BUT as an adult, you will find 'doing nothing' extremely hard. Well I am afraid, that whilst you're recovering from slipped/herniated discs - that 'doing nothing' is exactly how you're going to be spending (most of) your time! You shall also be asking yourself a question: how can I pass this time? Of hours in days that 'feel like' years? It's hard ... And it gets 'even harder' when you have to cope with 'three pressures at once':
WHEN 'the pain' - AND 'what you've lost' - AND 'the time of year' - HIT YOU!!!
For then expect:
A cascading waterfall of tears - that takes you back 'to being a baby again'.
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!).
It was August 2017 when I slipped three discs in my spine (two slipped discs lower back, one slipped disc upper neck) although I didn't realise for several days! It was a Thursday, and I'd been out at the coast all day (visiting Burnham on Crouch) for a 'family day' with my niece and nephew (whilst on their summer holidays). On the way back, I'd stopped off (at a local playing field) 'to have a go' on a zip wire - which is 'exactly what caused' my third bout of slipped discs:
Whilst the zip wire 'was great fun' - I didn't know that the 'snap backs' (at the end of each turn) had already damaged my back! I still had 'no idea' when I decided to go for a run that evening (making up for a missed training session) - as I ran around my local industrial estate 'on the pavements', then ran along 'the river walk' (looking at the ducks) 'feeling fine'. BUT ... Over the next few days, I began to realise that my back 'had gone again'. Here's how it happened:
Friday night I went for a swim. I noticed my back 'twinging' whilst swimming freestyle. I also stupidly decided to 'have a race' against a swimming friend. He was in a swimming club (whilst I no longer am), but I felt 'pretty pleased with myself' for keeping up. My back was 'just aching' that evening, although I went to bed 'worrying about the earlier pool twinges' - as I hadn't felt 'anything like that' for some time (since my 'last' back injury).
Saturday morning, I woke up 'and felt fine'. Decided to go running at my local running track (for some training). It was a 'hard efforts session', with some four hundred meter 'sprinting laps'. I felt fine that night.
Sunday morning, I woke up 'and felt fine'. Decided to go for my usual Sunday morning run. I ran at least twelve miles, really 'making a morning of it' (glad to be out in the sun), managing to get lost 'when looking for a new route'. Encountered some running friends 'on the way back'. Chatted 'for a bit' and then headed home.
Monday morning, I was working, sitting down. Got up to go for a snack, dropped some food on the floor, and bent down to pick it up. It was here that I first felt my back 'catching'. I thought to myself: that was odd!
Tuesday afternoon I thought to myself: I'd better just do some 'light weights' tonight - as I certainly won't be running tonight, and to 'play it safe' no running for the next week! I spent the evening 'trying to distract myself', it was coming up to my car's service time, and I was studying my car's service manual (on how to service it). At the back of my mind though, I knew 'something was wrong'. I was unable to move! The realisation was 'slowly dawning': my back's gone again! I didn't want to believe it - as I'd miss my running, my training 'and my friends'.
Wednesday. Welcome to my first day in hell! I kept saying to myself: I can't go through this again! I can't go through this again! I can't go through this again! But alas, my back and its slipped discs - had other ideas!
That was 21 months ago now, and it's only recently that I've felt - that I'm starting to 'put my life, back together again'. For it's a 'long hard road' to recovery, which although I've travelled it twice before (during my previous two bouts of 'multiple slipped disc injuries') - I'd still managed to forget 'one simple rule' about slipped discs/herniated discs:
It can take several days for the slipped discs to show up! It can also take several days for 'the price to pay' to appear for something you've done (whilst recovering from slipped discs). I now refer to this 'slipped disc fact' - as 'delayed reaction'.
So whatever has caused your slipped disc injury, I have something 'that may make you laugh': I am so glad that I ONLY went on that zip wire four to five times! As if I'd 'been on it' ten or more times - I find myself thinking of that scene at the end of the Haunted Mansion theme park ride (where the ghostly spectre 'wants you to go beyond') ...
I believe that there are three kinds of people in this World: those that have had slipped discs (like me), those that are 'going to have slipped discs' (such as heavy weight lifters) and those 'lucky few' that haven't had slipped discs (but perhaps instead 'have something else'). I fall 'very definitely' into the first category: those that have had slipped discs!
Over the past ten years, I've had three bouts of slipped discs (eight slipped discs in total) - which have been caused through the following cases 'of me being an idiot':
December 2006. I had been going to the gym, and had noticed 'a few aches' in my back, after I'd been using the 'sit-down push-up' machine. I thought 'better of it' and didn't go near that again. Unfortunately, I did not 'factor in' my Nan's frozen food freezer! She had given it to my Dad - who had set it up in his garage (a few years back). But being an 'older model' it tended to 'ice up' quite a bit - especially 'all the way along the seal' between its lid and sides. At the time, I had no idea 'how to lift up properly' - and one day when the lid was 'really stuck' I just kept 'pulling on it' - whilst standing up straight 'jerking my wrists upwards'. Unfortunately, when that lid 'came free' I also felt something 'slip inside my back'. I remember thinking: that's odd (how little did I know!), feeling 'even more odd' when I went indoors - gradually 'descending into hell' (i.e. pain!) throughout that evening. It turned out, that I'd slipped a disc in my lower back (which would eventually 'turn into' three slipped discs!).
Summer 2011. I'd been out at the coast with my niece and nephew, in a place called Burnham on Crouch. We'd been 'having fun' walking along the various piers 'at the sea front', having 'fish and chips' together with a walk around the local Marina. Unfortunately, a chance 'stop off' on the way back, would lead to me 'riding the zip wire' (in a local playground). The zip wire's 'snap back' caused two slipped discs in my middle back, although I didn't realise for several days (i.e. I continued 'as normal' until my back 'told me for sure' - I said 'oh dear!').
Summer 2017. Exactly the same cause as my second bout of slipped discs (the zip wire again!). However 'this time' there was a different build up ... I'd been at running club 'two days before', and being one of the 'fastest in running club' (at the time) I ended up boasting 'how much fun it shall be - to go on the zip wire again' (I was trying to impress 'various people'). I'd also 'snubbed a friend' (who I still owe an apology to). I'd also managed to forget 'all about' exactly what that zip wire 'had done to me before'. I'd had it 'so good for so long' I'd even said to myself: my bad back days 'are all behind me now'. BUT I was wrong! As that zip wire 'busted me back to the rank of baby' within several days of me 'having been on it'. And who was to blame? No one but myself!
So whilst the cause of your slipped discs, will always be 'something physical' (such as 'stuck' frozen food freezer lids, 'this will be fun' zip wires, or even 'horror of horror' accidents) - the 'ultimate cause' of your slipped discs, will usually be 'a mental lapse' that sees you doing something, that you shouldn't have been doing in the first place!
For my mum said to me: You have no one to blame 'but yourself' - and she is right ...