It all happened as I was digging up and emptying soil on my new garden beds. First it started as a sharp pain on my right buttock, slowly it progressed to my hip and lower right back, then down my leg and foot. Before I knew it, I could not stand, sit, lay down or walk.
I was in excruciating pain 24/7 for the next five months, and I had tried everything.
An MRI showed a bad herniated disc on my lower back, and the doctor hoped I wouldn’t need surgery. It was out of the question for me, I rather the pain than a surgery that may or may not yield results.
The pain got so bad, that I was yelling and crying for the most part of the day. I slept for two hours max every night for months and every time I got off the bed, I begged to die. I literally, begged to die.
I took just about anything the docs gave me, just so I wouldn’t feel any pain, 30 anti inflammatory injections, all types of painkillers, none which lasted for more than an hour each time, and NONE which helped me sleep.
Finally I went to a military dietician who would help me lose some weight, and release some pressure from my back, this helped a lot, as I lost 8 kg on my first month and 14 kg in total over a period of 2.5months. Of course, I still have plenty to go as it is an overall help to my health and body that I have savagely disrespected over the years.
Along with the diet I was told to perform certain exercises, to strengthen my back and core, however I found that these exercises made me a lot worse.
Scroll to the end to see the do’s and don’t of exercises for herniated discs.
Slipped discs don’t happen overnight
This is a process of horrible choices. Herniated discs happen slowly, over a period of time. They can happen due to bad posture, wrong bending, wrong sitting, and by lifting a large amount of weights…wrong.
I done all of the above at all times, so my body eventually gave up.
It all started to get better when I received a call from my aunt
She had no less than seven herniated discs herself, and unable to take any medication, she had to look for an alternative method.
Apparently, as I was at the end of my wits and ready to throw the towel in, she came along, so I can give it another try. How the universe works.
She started to talk about an all natural treatment that worked for her, over a period of four months. I thought to myself I had nothing to lose, and asked her to order me the items she used, so I can give it a go.
A couple of days later the box arrived and I got to work.
How I healed
First and foremost, I started (with some doubt) to incorporate the following two items to my daily diet. Within four days, I got off the bed relatively pain-free! But then, the remaining pain wouldn’t budge, what was I meant to do?
I took Aloe Vera Drinking Gel-Active Freedom-with its anti inflammatory properties, the Aloe helped shrink the herniation back into the disc, with its vitamin C & E, it also helps the joints. Four weeks on and I was 99% pain-free, with just the slight twitch on my buttock and lower back.
Along with the gel, I also took LR Freedom Plus Capsules, with Vitamin D, E and Manganese, twice a day. They are lactose and gluten-free too.
If you are suffering from long-term arthritic/joint/or disc pain, these are worth the money spent, I guarantee it. I suffered for SIX months and only found relief when I took these two items.
Of course, at some point, the pain remained, and I wondered what I was doing wrong.
I was told to do certain exercises, but I chickened out the moment I felt the pain come back, so perhaps I was missing something?
The last push to the finish line
I started to search the internet deeper, to find more people who had a similar problem to mine, and then came across this article.
Barbara had suffered from a bad herniated disc for six weeks, until she had an epiphany that helped her heal, and reclaim her life. This article got me thinking heavily. (I would recommend you give it a good read)
I realized that everything I did was wrong.
- I sat bending forward, because that was the only time I felt complete relief, but what that did, was push the herniation further out than in, so my first goal, was to actively force myself to sit straight.
- When I walked, I slouched. This is a lifelong problem, and it also contributed to my herniated disc.
- I did exercises that were not meant for me. Even if they were prescribed by the doctor. I had to start listening to my body.
- My muscles were stiff, especially around my neck. I did not stretch enough, my muscles were weak and contributed to the overall problem.
- I bent wrong, I either slouched or arched my back too much and didn’t bend my knees enough.
The changes I made and the exercises that worked.
- Squat when you bend to pick up something, bend your knees properly and keep your back straight.
- Walk using the whole foot, walk naturally, you don’t realize it but when you try too much to do something right, you end up being stiff.
- Sit straight, not over arched or slouchy, just enough to keep your spine aligned
- Use a cold pack-I found that the cold helped the bulge to shrink faster. Hot did nothing for me. I did my exercises right after I used the cold pack too.
Exercises that helped me:
Half Squat: I was inactive for six months, my muscles were still weak, and I couldn’t manage a full squat, but the half squat did the trick anyway. I did 2 reps of 10 the first couple of days and then added more reps throughout the week. I did these, by positioning myself behind a chair and using it for support.
Lunges: These help strengthen and stretch your muscles. Keep your spine straight, and make sure you use your feet to push up, so that there is no unneeded pressure to your knees.
These two exercises had me walking again in two days, but there’s more
Trapezius Stretch-This is a nice neck stretch.
Pectoral Stretch-This helps with upper back and neck pain (which also contribute to headaches) and also teaches you healthy positioning.
Hamstring Stretch-Whilst sitting down.
That’s it! I started slow, and then added more reps throughout the week.
- Elbow Prop-I know they say it’s a good way to help slip the disc back into position, and realign your spine, but I found it made mine worse. The best thing to do, is try it out a few times and see how your body reacts.
- Cobra Pose-Same as above. The overarching of the back made my herniation worse.
- Don’t be afraid to squat and lunge. It’s terrifying, but these exercises actually do work! These helped me walk again, after being stuck in a chair for so long. Do them, they will help!
- Don’t be lazy or give up-listen to your body, try out different exercises to see what works for you, what have you got to lose?
Give it a go! Don’t give up! I know I almost wanted to, and having to suffer in so much pain for all these months can really take it out of you, but there is light at the end of the tunnel!
I’d love to hear your feedback!