If you’ve ever had the misfortune to injure a spinal disc, you’ll know what an unpleasant and acute pain it gives and how unrelenting it can be in the early stages. People say the pain is 8,9 or 10/10 in terms of how bad it is. Ouch! And if you are unlucky, you may also have shooting (or even constant pain) into your limb, or numbness in a hand or foot. It can make you feel very vulnerable and is very distressing.
The best advice for nearly all low back problems, including discs is:
Keep moving – do whatever you can, 5 minutes an hour at least, walking is great. Movement helps get fresh blood to the problem area and this brings healing. Keeping still for too long weakens muscles and allows tissues to congest.
Ice it – 5 minutes at a time. Use an ice pack or plastic bag of ice in a damp tea towel, on/off. Especially before bed if you know it might be bad in the morning.
Avoid sitting for too long. Stand or lie down flat; if you have to sit, choose a supportive upright chair and stand up regularly and walk a little to relieve your low back. Avoid slumpy sofas! They are just about the worst thing you can sit on, and might even have helped cause the problem in the first place.
Sometimes lying on your tummy and pushing up into a “sphinx” position can give relief – see if it might help you?
Drink plenty of water – the centre of the disc is like a jelly that sucks in fluid. It expands overnight as we rest and compresses during the day with the help of gravity. Water helps “plump up” the disc and make it more robust. It also helps you clear inflammation from your system. Did dehydration contribute to why this happened?
Painkillers – can be helpful BUT they are now known to interrupt the early stages of healing by suppressing the inflammatory process (which is a necessary part of healing); so use judiciously and be mindful that they can upset your stomach lining (ibuprofen ) and give your liver a lot of extra detoxification work to do on top of the work it is doing to manage the healing crisis.
Beware dishwashers! Being bent over and twisting is just about the worst possible thing you can do so be very careful about how you use it. A good opportunity to enlist some help with the chores…
Without wanting to preach – have a think about why this happened. So often it can be your body’s way of saying “I’ve had enough, stop it”. It makes you stop, to give you a chance to get to grips with a situation. The body keeps the score…
And finally…trust your amazing body to fix itself too. You’ve doubtless got better from any number of coughs, colds, cuts and bruises, and you will recover from this too. The job in hand is to help your body on its way by being kind to yourself and creating the right conditions for it to heal.
If you've been putting up with pain, simply give me a call on 020 7993 8116 and find out if Osteopathy could help your problem.