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 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!
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'.
Physical and Mental Pressure - Slipped Disc Symptom
Recovering from slipped discs is akin to 'learning to cope with pressure'. You may believe that 'your good' at handling pressure (within our modern lives) - but the pressures your dealing with 'whilst recovering from herniated discs' take it to 'a whole different level'. Because the 'laser sharp truth' is this: NO ADULT CAN COPE WITH BEING BUSTED BACK TO THE RANK OF BABY. Sure, many of us 'talk about' being stronger than we are - able to 'cope with many situations'. BUT slipped discs test the validity of your beliefs! Because no matter what you say, it has been 'a long time' since you last had to 'crawl somewhere'. Only with slipped discs - you won't be able to crawl! You'll be lucky if you can 'move at all':
Whilst I have been recovering from my three slipped discs (two lower back, one upper neck) I have often 'pondered to myself' for a phrase that 'best illustrates' how bad slipped disc injuries actually are, and why we cannot just simply 'recover from them' (within short timespans). As I have an interest in dinosaurs, I wanted 'that phrase' to be related to 'the Age of the Dinosaurs' (the Mesozoic Era). So let us 'travel back' 113 million years ago - to the time of Iguanodon:
Imagine you're a plant eating dinosaur (let's say a five ton Iguanodon). You're peacefully 'eating some shrubs' when all of a sudden, an eleven tonne Spinosaurus 'comes along'. It sinks its 'five inch long teeth' into your back/neck, throws you around 'side to side', whilst 'biting into you some more', then throws you to the ground (because it doesn't like the taste of Iguanodon). That's a slipped disc. Your lives over, and everything's 'gone down the pan'. Now - feel the pressure!
I've been in 'this scenario' three times! I'd say the third time 'is/was the hardest' - because I had been used to 'doing things' (such as running ten to fifteen miles) for four years 'or so'. I took 'many things' for granted and felt that I was 'in a good place'. I'd managed 'to forget all about' the lessons of my first two slipped disc injuries. Yet fate 'it seems' had a way to remind me - my third outing into the realms of slipped/herniated discs ... As humans, many people will say that 'they feel unhappy' (even when their body's 'working fine'). But with slipped discs, your body won't be 'working fine' - and you're going to be worrying about so-called 'simple tasks' (such as walking). Slipped discs 'put everything in perspective' ... Within our lives, I feel that many people 'take things for granted' and that 'they're in control'. We feel 'protected within' this Modern World (especially with our 'sheltered houses' and technology). BUT WERE NOT! Anything can happen 'at any time'. And when it happens to you (such as slipped discs) then everything changes 'very quickly' ...
Just like that Iguanodon, you're going to be concerned 'only with survival'. Nothing else will matter! And whilst you're 'trying to survive' these slipped discs are going to be throwing 'one form of pressure after another' at you. You're going to 'find it hard to cope' (some days asking: what is living?). Here are the 'kinds of pressure' that I contended with (whilst I was that 'wounded Iguanodon' - just trying to 'get back up again' and 'get some measure' of my 'normal life' back):
Physical Pressure. From the herniated discs themselves (pushing on the nerves within my spine). There's pushing, and then there's PUSHING. When it's the latter, then your body is going to 'struggle to cope' with the amount of pressure that it's being subjected to. This pressure's 'got to vent somewhere'. For me, it was the worst headaches and migraines (that I've ever had). It felt like somebody had parked a 'starship on my head' - and a 'planet sized' starship at that! I can also remember one night, where it felt like somebody was 'continually punching me in my eyes' (even 'standing up' with my laptop 'was no good' - so I headed to bed 'really early').
Mental pressure. Having to 'suck up' the amount of pain I was in (and just 'get on with it'). You're also going to have to deal with the 'hard realisation' that your life 'as you knew it' is over for many months (even years!). What has really helped me here, is counting my recovery 'in months'. I'm now in the start of my twenty-third month of recovery 'which sounds a lot better to me' than saying 'just under two years of recovery'. For some reason, 'when counting in months' it doesn't seem 'quite as bad'. The ironic 'thing is' - I haven't ever lost count!
Material pressure. Having to 'deal with your finances' whilst you're unable to work for 'anything like - normal periods'. I found that, whilst I was in 'terrible pain' (up to around fourteen months) that I 'really didn't care about bills'. It's called surviving - your health comes first! Unfortunately, other people 'may not see it like that'.
Family pressure. We all have 'family days' where you go out and 'do something together'. Unfortunately, you will NOT BE ENJOYING THESE 'for quite some time'. I can remember Christmas Day 2017. I struggled 'to sit down and eat my dinner'. I also struggled 'to sit on my sister's sofa'. As I couldn't bend at all! I can also remember my niece's birthday meal (2018) - where if I didn't 'have to go out' I would have 'quite happily' stayed at home!
Friend pressure. I didn't suffer with this one. By the time 'I got back up' - the other Iguanodons 'had gone' ...
I kept 'most of this pressure' to myself (although there were some days where it 'spilled over' at home). Having to deal with 'this much pressure' caused me to ask 'the same question' that is phrased within 'Batman Begins': Why do we fall Sir? So that we can learn - to pick ourselves up! Only with slipped discs, it will feel 'more akin' to having fallen into 'a deep black hole' - which causes you 'to withdraw from normality' for quite some time! And when you do 'come back' (from the depths of that black hole), you're going to feel 'less Iguanodon' - and 'MORE Tyrannosaurus Rex'. ROAR!!!
Within the realms of slipped disc symptoms, there are both 'nasty symptoms' and 'really nasty symptoms'. I am afraid that 'feeling sick - wanting to throw up everywhere' is only ever found within the latter! Whilst I'd suffered with this symptom, during my two previous bouts of slipped discs, I'd also managed to 'forget all about it' (within four years of good health). Unfortunately, this symptom 'came back with a vengeance' within my third bout (two herniated discs lower back and one herniated disc upper neck). I can't remember a week within those first six months, when I didn't feel sick 'for most of it'. And when I say 'feel sick', I mean with 'vomit bug FEEL SICK' sensations that 'lasted for hours/days'.
For whilst your recovering from slipped discs, you're going to be joining the ranks of the 'truly unwell humans'. This particular category includes other individuals 'that can usually feel sick all/much of the time' - I refer to humans that are undergoing treatment for cancer. Whereas much of their 'feeling sick' is going to be due to the side effects of radiotherapy - you're 'feeling sick' is going to be due to the 'damage you've done to your spine' (specifically 'the pressure' from your slipped discs pushing onto your spinal cord, near 'those nerves' that lead to/from your stomach). Amongst my 'many memories' of feeling vomit bug sick - there is one particular day that shall always 'stand out' for me:
I'd been sitting at my desk 'in the morning' for half an hour (or so) getting on with some work, when suddenly 'completely out of the blue' my desire to vomit 'uncontrollably everywhere' built and built! I had to stop work 'for the day' - and proceeded to try 'walking it off'. But to no avail. I tried 'standing up' (thinking happy thoughts). But to no avail. I tried 'lying down' (to try 'sleeping it off'). But to no avail. After an hour or two, I decided 'enough was enough' and I managed to 'get booked into my doctors' (on an emergency). I asked my Dad 'to drive me down'. I wanted to 'throw up' in my Dad's car. I wanted to 'throw up' in my Doctor's waiting room. I wanted to 'throw up' whilst talking to my doctor. I wanted to 'throw up' after he'd examined me. I wanted to 'throw up' on the journey home. I wanted to 'throw up' for the remainder of that day. I wanted to 'throw up' all night - and 'all the next day' as well!
It's hard - and it gets even harder 'when you disagree with your doctor'. As he didn't seem to think that my 'feeling sick' had anything to do with my slipped discs (although he did request an MRI scan for me). All I know is this: when the pressure from my slipped discs 'started relenting' then I didn't feel 'vomit bug sick' anymore. Unfortunately, it took around six months for those 'vomit bug sick' sensations to 'fully go away'. It was 'hard to cope' - but it toughens you up!
But even 'within the realms of toughening you up' is there 'one scenario' that you - DON'T WANT TO ENCOUNTER:
You could be the 'poor smuck' who actually catches the 'seasonal vomit bug' whilst recovering from slipped discs!
Whilst I have encountered this myself - it wasn't until month nineteen (of my recovery). I certainly wouldn't have wanted 'the seasonal vomit bug' - before nineteen months of recovery! As I feel that 'anytime sooner' would be a 'step too far' within the realms of the 'dead and the dying'. It's 'bad enough' feeling sick - let alone 'actually being sick'! Just ask 'Chunk' from the fantasy film 'The Goonies' - who has a 'rather comical' (dark humour here!) line that he mutters:
But the worst thing I ever done: was when I 'threw puke' over people in the cinema - who then 'threw up themselves'.
In any case, I was 'just glad' that I could eat my Christmas Dinner (December 2017) without feeling sick! Some luck!