Disc Herniation Lessons Learned

My heart goes out to those who have had to suffer through the pain of a disc herniation. Many times people will have a disc bulge or a disc herniation and experience no real symptoms. However, sometimes the herniation presses on a nerve and it can cause unrelenting and debilitating pain.
Many of us read stories about acute and chronic pain and don’t really understand what it means. For people who do experience it, it’s almost like a private members only club. The pain from a disc herniation can be unrelenting and it’s not really helped with prescription pain killers. Especially when the pain radiates to other parts of the body like the legs and arms, it’s crippling. Imagine being in searing pain constantly and being unable to move for months.
It happened to me. In a panic, I had to call an ambulance to take me to the emergency room. They injected me and filled me up with pain killers and I was still unable to walk. It’s been a couple months and I’m still dealing with it. Things we take for granted like getting in and out of bed or a car are almost impossible. Getting into the car is so painful, it’s like being asked which finger you want broken before you go out for the day.
Here are some random things I learned that I hope can save someone time and help heal faster.
First, you need an MRI to diagnose a disc herniation. At the emergency room, they took an x-ray and a CAT scan and told me i was pretty much ok, maybe just some soft tissue injury. It would have been nice to know that based on my symptoms, a visit to an orthopedist and an MRI would be helpful. I spent about three weeks afterwards being treated by a well meaning physical therapist for piriformis syndrome. The stretching and exercises made things worse!! Lesson 1..if you throw your back out or feel pain radiating to your sacrum, butt, legs, toes, shoulders, elbows, hands..get an MRI. Be careful with chiropractors, physical therapists and massage therapists. Xrays and Cat only rule out obvious things like fractures.
Second, your diet affects your pain levels. I noticed I had an uptick in pain after every meal. I very soon made the connection between carbohydrates and other inflammatory foods and pain immediately after eating. I was able to drop my pain levels considerably by adopting a low carb diet. I eat grass fed meats and seafood and it helps immediately. I’ve tested it several times. Something interesting I found was that grass fed yogurt made me feel a lot less pain then regular yogurt. That was very interesting. But the best thing I did was cut out dairy and grains (carbs) and I don’t feel any pain after I eat. This was a big discovery for me and is helping a lot.
Third, you can reduce your pain levels by eating a lot of ginger. I put a tablespoon of powdered ginger in my black coffee in the morning. The coffee is inflammatory and hurts, but the ginger overrides it. I was able to reduce my reliance on ibuprofen by getting raw ginger in smoothies and adding powdered ginger to my coffee.
I use the magic bullet to make smoothies. The magic bullet was the best 90 bucks I ever spent in my life. I use it daily and it gets me my vegetables and other supplements very easily.
The pain from something like a disc herniation is unbearable. It also takes a really long time to heal. This long healing time takes a toll on family and friends. Someone suffering from this pain feels isolated, stranded and very lonely. The emotional toll on someone feeling chronic pain is never really talked about but is very serious. It can literally destroy a person’s life.

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