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How to be a Patient Patient

Have back pain? Have a slipped disc? Frustrated? Scared? I know. I have been through the same. Disc herniations are common experiences. Luckily,  most back pains get better without surgery. Most disc pains improve with time. You need to be patient. 

If you have watched my videos, we discussed how your body has the ability to remove disc herniations, and reduce your pain naturally.

Unfortunately, there can be lots of pain while waiting for your body to remove the herniation.

That is a source of frustration for everyone. Slip disc pain occurs when you least need it.  You cannot work, take care of family, or enjoy your life. It is easy to look for a quick fix, and many will be offering you such a fix. 

There are concerns about these quick fixes. Many times, they are invasive, and have risks that have not been explained or disclosed.

Let me be clear. If you have a significant pain, make sure to have an evaluation by a doctor who can determine if your pain needs urgent care. If you do not, then you must be a patient patient.  You must allow your body the chance to remove the disc herniation and resolve the pain. By 6-8 weeks, the vast majority of people will be better, and will be able to get back to their life. 

So what are the ways to be patient?

First,  make sure you do not have a situation that needs urgent care. The inability to move your muscles because of paralysis, or the inability to control your urination or bowel movements are urgent conditions and must be evaluated right away. If you do not have these conditions, know that you can now wait. In fact, to give yourself the best chance, feel confident that you will be part of the greater than 95% who get better without any invasive treatments. It turns out your confidence, your psychology is a very important factor to your recovery.

Make sure to keep moving. Bedrest no more than two days. Even if very painful, make sure to get out of bed, get off the chair every few hours. Even if you can only take a few steps, walk 10 to 15 minutes at least two times a day. 

If you can take medications, consider over the counter anti-inflammation medications such as Motrin,  Aleve, and aspirin. Make sure you let your doctor know you are taking these medications. 

There are natural anti inflammation medications such as fish oils, and turmeric. You can also consider them as long as it is OK with your doctor, and your diet. 

Keep stretching.  Yoga, Pilates, and back and neck exercises are good. We have created a spine exercise app that can be downloaded on your Android or iPhone.  (https://www.shimspine.com/exercise/)

Ice your back and neck to decrease the inflammation.  You can alternate with moist heat, but know that heat can actually increase the swelling of your tissues.  That is why we recommend alteration if you will be using heat. 

Sleep with pillows underneath your knees if on your back.  If lying on the side, use a hugging type pillow. Make sure to keep your spine in alignment, and not overly bent in any one direction.

Modify your living quarters so you do not need to climb stairs.  Remove obstacles in your path to the important areas of your home.  Arrange furniture to accommodate your height. Consider a firmer chair, or place a board under the cushion of your chair. 

Elevate your toilet seat, or adjust it’s height so you do not have to excessively bend to get on or off.  Take stool softeners. 

Lifestyle changes should include weight management, and stopping any tobacco products. 

Remain socially engaged with family and friends.  Depression can cause prolonged pain and prolonged recovery. 

If you can be a patient patient,  you will give your body time to remove the cause of your pain.  You can avoid much more invasive options that have associated risks. 

While these steps may not work for everyone, I would say it will work for most of you.

Good luck and I hope you start getting better!

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Last modified: October 24, 2019

9 thoughts on “How to be a Patient Patient

  1. I have undergone microdiscotemy surgery I feel numb ness sometimes inmy right leg my MRI shows that degeneration of disc has started what should I do to avoid further disc herntion and leed smooth life

    1. Hi Kothari. There is almost always degeneration after a herniated disc. Please check out our other blogs dealing with this. I wish you a smooth life.

  2. Slip disc herniation happened with me several times over the last ten years. Every time I recover with no medical intervention. What annoys me is its frequent recurrence. What shall I do to avoid that knowing that I go to gym regularly practicing bodybuilding

    1. As you probably know, your biggest help is a strong core and proper body mechanics. By the way, Body building is not the greatest sport for someone with back problems.

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