I’m recovering nicely from my slipped disc; making good progress.
Im working hard to ensure the problem doesn’t reappear. With that in mind, I’ve found some detailed information about the management of lower back pain — in particular herniated discs.
The information comes from a publication called, Herniated Disc: A Survival Guide… by Dr William E. Morgan.
Dr Morgan has numerous qualifications and is a respected specialist in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
There is a huge amount of helpful advice in this book. One section I was particularly drawn to was about bed-rest. The doctor has this to say:
“Bed-rest should be avoided if possible. Certainly if you are unable to get out of bed you should seek professional care. Bed-rest, especially for more than three days, is contraindicated and results in a downward spiral of deconditioning-pain-fear-avoidance — further deconditioning and so forth. It is important to strive to maintain an active lifestyle. Excessive rest can also lead to a feeling of hopelessness and depression. Being confined to a bed is not a treatment: it is a consequence of injury.”
Dr Morgan makes good points here; even though his advice appears to contradict the fact that 5 days bed-rest worked for me.
That said, I was only able to have bed-rest because my wife took vacation days from her work to look after me. Many people who perhaps live alone don’t have that luxury.
I also had a healthy mindset; the determination that once the situation with my back improved, I was going to be up and out of bed; making further progress with physical therapy.
Anyway, throughout the time I was laid up I still had to get up to use the bathroom. Oh, come on, you didn’t imagine I just lay there peeing and pooping in my bed, did you?
I’ve read the doctor’s publication fully now; I can appreciate just where I went wrong, which resulted in me being eventually advised, to take to my bed.
When my disc initially ‘popped’, I lay on the bed for an hour or so and took a dose of opiates. Okay so far. And, when the pain became tolerable I got up and tried to continue with my daily tasks.
There lies the problem: Before giving advice, nobody asked me what my normal work or activities entailed. I’m self-employed and I run a business which involves sitting for long periods at a computer. I also have to drive on a daily basis.
That’s in addition to the normal activities of bending to lift things, shaving, brushing my teeth, drying my feet when I finish showering etc.
All theses activities involve a degree of bending at the waist and are, in Dr Morgan’s professional medical opinion, ill-advised for someone suffering with a herniated lumbar disc and are apt to make the situation worse.
In respect of the term, ‘carry on and be as active as possible,’ I now know what I should’ve been doing. I should’ve avoided all my normal daily activities, adopted new activities such as walking and performing certain stretching (extension) exercises; no flexion (bending forward from the waist). In addition to managing pain with medication.
So the advice I was given, wasn’t in itself bad advice; it was generic and incomplete advice; non specific advice — you could say, half-arsed advice. As my dear dad was apt to put it: “a little knowledge can be dangerous”.
So now I know. I also know: once you’ve had a herniated disc you are more susceptible to it recurring. Apparently not even surgery can cure a bad back; it can only, along with lifestyle changes, help you manage the problem. … Oh well, c’est la vie.