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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Without going into too much detail (detail that I don't understand completely myself) but I have three compressed discs, a bulged disc (L1 and down) and a constricted spinal column (not quite sure what that is, but it translates to excruciating (sp) lower back pain and sciatic nerve pain all the way down lower back and left leg). I am over weight and need some advice on low-impact exercises. Walking feels good (typically) but I need some way of strenthening the back and getting rid of the gut. I am trying to work on the diet and walk when the pain isn't bad enough that I am constrained to a cane. Any one have any ideas?
 

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Take it slow. Sounds like you've got serious injuries. They take a long time to heal. Make sure you don't hurt your self again.

Walking is your best bet for a while. Light stretching. Lying on your back. The doc will have some cartoons of how to do them. Keep your shoulders flat bring up one knee, then the other. Eventually you roll the knee over your chest to touch the floor on the opposite side. This may take you weeks, depending on how you are now. Muscle repair is pianfull but fast. The vertebre damage is much slower to heal.

I also like to kneel in an asian style meditation pose. Kneel on your bed or cushion, knees slightly apart, toes touching. Sit on your feet, and try to sit very straight. Practice slow deep breathing exercises. Breathe with the diaphram. Shoulders back, chin down. Imagine a thread holding your head up straight. 1-5 minutes at first. Build up how long you can sit in this pose (it may take you weeks to even get into this pose). 10-15 min is a normal sit for me, sometimes longer.
This really helps straighten my back/neck when nothing else does.

Eat lots of high fiber foods. Oatmeal, salads, green veggies, etc. No cheese (binds you up). No caffine, nicotine, etc. Drink lots of water, pain pills or advil.
Heating blankets help. Get your back really hot with a blanket, lay in front of a heater, or just a hot shower on your back.
Make sure your back is straight as it cools down. Lay on the floor, bed, kneel or go for a walk.
A glass of wine, as a muscle relaxant when the pain is bad. Don't mix with meds of course.

Sit ups and leg lifts are great for building back muscles. Just lay on your back and lift your heels 2 inches off the ground, hold, drop & repeat.
Also yoga, martial arts or dancing (seriously) are good too.
Stay healthy and pick a program of streching, exercise, meditation & diet. Stick with it. I've been there.

Good luck.

:patriot:
 

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Ask your doctor for exercises. Years ago, I strained a bunch of lower back muscles so badly that the doctor thought I herniated a disc, but thankfully I didn't. He recommended some exercises, such as laying on the ground, face down, and lifting my legs off the ground, one at a time and both simultaneously. I think he also gave another one that was similar, but lifted my chest off the ground as much as possible, which isn't far.

Because you have disc problems, I'm not really sure these exercises would be good for you but if he recommends exercises, I think they'll be similar to these.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the replies. I tried to lay on my back on the floor and stretch out earlier this week, it took me twenty minutes to get back up the pain was so bad! (Don't think the back was ready for that yet). I am starting to feel a little better, so I will try these suggestions. Thanks again.
 

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Originally posted by SomeDay
Thank you both for the replies. I tried to lay on my back on the floor and stretch out earlier this week, it took me twenty minutes to get back up the pain was so bad! (Don't think the back was ready for that yet). I am starting to feel a little better, so I will try these suggestions. Thanks again.
From your second sentence, I am much more sure that you need to clear any exercises with your doctor or physical therapist.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
You're right I could potentially do more harm than good on my own. Since I don't have insurance right now, I need to wait til I get back on a health plan to talk to my doctor.

My back is starting to feel a little better compared to the way it has been the past couple of weeks, I've done things like stifen up the bed and have done some light stretches - that's about it. I can stand up and walk short distances without a cane during the day, but by the end of the day I need the cane to get around. I am hoping to not need the cane at all within another week. I think I will start with short walks (I like to walk, but haven't much because of the pain). If I can't really exercise, then at least I can start to control the diet a little better than what I am doing now. I am hoping that that will work in thr short run and that I can get under a doctor's care and start a PT routine to get my strength up.

I do know some docotors, but unfortunately, they all happen to be anesthesiologists (SP), not one is a physical therapist or chiropractor!:frown:

Will keep informed. If you have any other ideas for now, I would appreciate them. Thank you for the replies, it is nice to know that there are people here who are concerned enough to help a stanger. Thanks
 

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My problem is that I don't know squat about how to deal with disc problems. If you had muscle problems, then patiently working the muscles and eventually making them a brutally strong and flexible bodypart is the way to go. I did that years ago and it worked great. Soooo many people seem to have these disc (or is it disk?) problems, so I'll be interested to read how your situation turns out. I'm curious if it's possible to stabilize and strengthen the area and make a good recovery over the long haul.

Good luck dude. Your situation sounds miserable at the moment.
DBD
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Originally posted by DBradD
My problem is that I don't know squat about how to deal with disc problems. If you had muscle problems, then patiently working the muscles and eventually making them a brutally strong and flexible bodypart is the way to go. I did that years ago and it worked great. Soooo many people seem to have these disc (or is it disk?) problems, so I'll be interested to read how your situation turns out. I'm curious if it's possible to stabilize and strengthen the area and make a good recovery over the long haul.

Good luck dude. Your situation sounds miserable at the moment.
DBD
Traction, pain medication, and muscle strengthening are the way to go it seems. I tried "the rack" a couple of times and it really helped (back when I had medical insurance). I should be back on a plan in a few months. I will periodically post updates as I figure out what to do.
Yes, it is miserable, but I'm thankful - I could be in a wheel chair!
 

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Originally posted by Minuteman
[

"Sit ups and leg lifts are great for building back muscles. Just lay on your back and lift your heels 2 inches off the ground, hold, drop & repeat."

Not to start a war but I can't begin to stress how erroneous the above advice is regarding this persons current condition. The guy has to use a cane to walk and mentioned that it took him 20 mins to get up off the floor. As someone who has recently been in this EXACT same boat I must state that from his described level of pain he shouldn't attempt any sort of sit ups or leg lifts. In fact I asked my physical therapist about these exact exercises just last week and she said absolutely not for any sort of disc injury--and I've been dealing with this awhile now. Strengthening muscles is important but this guy is dealing with his spinal cord and nerves--too early exercising could make things worse.

This guy has a LONG way to go before he can attempt muscle strengthening stuff. Trust me, it's not that I've been there, it's that I'm "there" now. Leg lifts or sit ups early on would have messed me up beyond repair. Sometimes it's better to do nothing; nothing but learn patience.

To "Someday" I strongly suggest that since you don't have medical coverage you at least Google your diagnosis (you did see a doc at least once, didn't you???) and read as much as you can on the subject. Don't rely on forums for your sole medical advice. Also, pick up a copy of a back book by Robin Mckenzie. He's got a couple out but they all are on treating the back. Simple stretching that can really help...if you're patient. Trust me, the best thing I did was pick up a copy of "7 Steps to a Pain Free Life" shortly after the disc thing hit and I'm convinced it helped.

Good luck my friend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Originally posted by hotlunch
Originally posted by Minuteman
[

"Sit ups and leg lifts are great for building back muscles. Just lay on your back and lift your heels 2 inches off the ground, hold, drop & repeat."

Not to start a war but I can't begin to stress how erroneous the above advice is regarding this persons current condition. The guy has to use a cane to walk and mentioned that it took him 20 mins to get up off the floor. As someone who has recently been in this EXACT same boat I must state that from his described level of pain he shouldn't attempt any sort of sit ups or leg lifts. In fact I asked my physical therapist about these exact exercises just last week and she said absolutely not for any sort of disc injury--and I've been dealing with this awhile now. Strengthening muscles is important but this guy is dealing with his spinal cord and nerves--too early exercising could make things worse.

This guy has a LONG way to go before he can attempt muscle strengthening stuff. Trust me, it's not that I've been there, it's that I'm "there" now. Leg lifts or sit ups early on would have messed me up beyond repair. Sometimes it's better to do nothing; nothing but learn patience.

To "Someday" I strongly suggest that since you don't have medical coverage you at least Google your diagnosis (you did see a doc at least once, didn't you???) and read as much as you can on the subject. Don't rely on forums for your sole medical advice. Also, pick up a copy of a back book by Robin Mckenzie. He's got a couple out but they all are on treating the back. Simple stretching that can really help...if you're patient. Trust me, the best thing I did was pick up a copy of "7 Steps to a Pain Free Life" shortly after the disc thing hit and I'm convinced it helped.

Good luck my friend.
I will check out the book. I have seen a doc a few times over the years, last time back in February before I lost my health insurance. He referred me to Physical Therapy for traction and Physical Medicine, unfotunately I didn't get to go before I lost my insurance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
BTW, I do know better than to rely solely on forum posts, but I know that I cannot be the only one out there to be going through this. Being able to hear from other people that have had similar problems or can point me in the right direction is important to me. Luckily, I have been able to get good advice from people who seem genuinely willing to help, some I can do now, some I may need to wait a while to do until I am physically able to - I thank everyone for advice and for taking a moment to share it with me.
 

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SomeDay, I have 2 suggestions.

You can get an exercise ball from Wal-Mart's sporting goods department. They come in a small assortment of sizes. Try to get one suited to your height. There are all kinds of things you can do with one of these, but in your case, just sit on it. Sitting on it is similar to sitting on a chair, but with one difference -- your core muscles, those of your torso, must actively keep you stable. Sit on it for as long as you can each day. Even 30 minutes at a single session is useful. What this does is it forces your weak core muscles to do something useful such as cooperating to keep your spine properly aligned over the pelvis and keeping the head and shoulders balanced over the spine. This may cause sensations of "muscle soreness" after the first day of trying. This would be the normal result of muscles being forced to do something they are unaccustomed to doing. After a few days of sitting on the ball, you will certainly have enough strength in your torso to sit. I am not being sarcastic. We fat people sit in chairs and our muscles have to do nothing. Our fat wants to fall to the ground and our skeleton just lets it. Once our skeleton is allowed to distort the nerve channels, we get pains such as you've described. Strengthening your torso with the ultra-low-impact method of sitting on an exercise ball will tone up the muscles which keep the skeleton in proper shape. I have seen this work on my wife. She had symptoms similar to what you've described. I read about exercise balls on glocktalk, and I got her one. She sat on it for about 30 minutes each for two days, and declared herself relieved of pain.

Also, you should consider some self-administered pool therapy. In water, your skeleton is relieved of having to support your weight. Get in, swim around, get some exercise. This is also a very-low-impact method of exercise, and if you persistently do this several times a week, it comfortably substitutes for anything else you may have considered to be exercise.

What you need is strength in your musculature, enough strength to hold up your weight. You've lost that strength, or your weight has overrun your strength, and the pain you feel is from your skeleton being distorted into unnatural shapes by your weight.

I am not a doctor. I only know what works for me. I've had episodes of excruciating, debilitating pain which did arise from nothing other than my fat overpowering my muscles and mis-shaping my spine. I did have insurance, and chiropractic treatment did set me straight, and torso-strenthening exercises did prevent a recurrence of that pain. This was also the episode which marks the beginning of my efforts to eat better, exercise more, and try to become healthier and more fit. It's been a long, long road for me, and it may also be such for you. OTOH, you may be running triathlons next year.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Originally posted by geminicricket
SomeDay, I have 2 suggestions.

You can get an exercise ball from Wal-Mart's sporting goods department. They come in a small assortment of sizes. Try to get one suited to your height. There are all kinds of things you can do with one of these, but in your case, just sit on it. Sitting on it is similar to sitting on a chair, but with one difference -- your core muscles, those of your torso, must actively keep you stable. Sit on it for as long as you can each day. Even 30 minutes at a single session is useful. What this does is it forces your weak core muscles to do something useful such as cooperating to keep your spine properly aligned over the pelvis and keeping the head and shoulders balanced over the spine. This may cause sensations of "muscle soreness" after the first day of trying. This would be the normal result of muscles being forced to do something they are unaccustomed to doing. After a few days of sitting on the ball, you will certainly have enough strength in your torso to sit. I am not being sarcastic. We fat people sit in chairs and our muscles have to do nothing. Our fat wants to fall to the ground and our skeleton just lets it. Once our skeleton is allowed to distort the nerve channels, we get pains such as you've described. Strengthening your torso with the ultra-low-impact method of sitting on an exercise ball will tone up the muscles which keep the skeleton in proper shape. I have seen this work on my wife. She had symptoms similar to what you've described. I read about exercise balls on glocktalk, and I got her one. She sat on it for about 30 minutes each for two days, and declared herself relieved of pain.

Also, you should consider some self-administered pool therapy. In water, your skeleton is relieved of having to support your weight. Get in, swim around, get some exercise. This is also a very-low-impact method of exercise, and if you persistently do this several times a week, it comfortably substitutes for anything else you may have considered to be exercise.

What you need is strength in your musculature, enough strength to hold up your weight. You've lost that strength, or your weight has overrun your strength, and the pain you feel is from your skeleton being distorted into unnatural shapes by your weight.

I am not a doctor. I only know what works for me. I've had episodes of excruciating, debilitating pain which did arise from nothing other than my fat overpowering my muscles and mis-shaping my spine. I did have insurance, and chiropractic treatment did set me straight, and torso-strenthening exercises did prevent a recurrence of that pain. This was also the episode which marks the beginning of my efforts to eat better, exercise more, and try to become healthier and more fit. It's been a long, long road for me, and it may also be such for you. OTOH, you may be running triathlons next year.
Thanks for the ideas. Yes, I am over weight, but the pain is just as bad as it was when I was lighter. That said, these both sound like reasonable things to try, as long as I don't fall off the ball and hit my head on the way down ;) . Seriously though, I have thought of both of these and hearing someone else say them makes me feel better.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Originally posted by geminicricket
If sitting on the ball actually works, I and several others can describe other ways of using the ball to stress and strengthen muscles you didn't know you had.
I'm almost afraid to ask.
 
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