Thanks for keeping us all updated with Paul's condition. Vertebral disc prolapses are very common, and in the neck it is usually the lower ones that experience this, which is unsurprising considering how most people are head forward in front of screens these days. Fortunately, they are usually self-limiting (resolve themselves) if not too severe, but often reoccur because the root causes are not dealt with. However awful it seems at the moment, it is still early days and this is when it is at its worst.
By the way, the disc does not need to resorb for symptoms to resolve - conservative treatment can produce significant reduction in symptoms without any changes in MRI. There are also many people out there who have a serious looking bulge (on MRI) who have never had any symptoms at all, while some with excruciating pain may have a very minor bulge or even none at all! Severe loss of sensation or arm weakness are better indicators of severity, and is usually what surgeons will use to decide whether to perform surgery or not. As Marilyn said, surgery often leads to further surgery down the road, but obviously it is sometimes necessary (but not as often as the surgeons make out!)
You've already had plenty of advice from the lovely folks here, so the only thing I would add is to keep Paul's head and neck well supported and as comfortable as possible. What I said previously about a reduction in arm symptoms being a good indicator of improvement still stands, so any position that achieves this is good. This position will change over time though, so be aware of this.
Hope things start to get better ASAP. Stress is one of those things that seem to amplify the problem, so have a relaxing recovery
Damn. I wish I'd seen this thread sooner. I'm a physical therapist so would like to humbly chime in with my advice.
Regarding the advice that has already been given, I can't comment on the dietary stuff, but regarding physical exercises - DON'T CRACK YOUR NECK!
The neck stretcher might be a good idea, but make sure you do it gently and don't worsen symptoms while doing so. A very good exercise is neck retraction. Here's a video of it:
If doing it when upright is too painful or worsens things, then try doing it lying on your back, with pillow supporting your head and neck (NOT under shoulders), with the head resting in a neutral position (ie. facing the ceiling, in line with trunk, not turned or tilted). You know it is working if the symptoms move away from your arm and back towards the neck. Sometimes the neck pain worsens when you do this, but centralisation (where the symptoms move away from the extremities) is seen to be indicative of lessening of neural irritation.
As for surgery, I'm afraid the doctor is wrong about surgery being very successful. Spinal surgery of any kind is very risky and has maybe a 50% success rate (I don't have a reference for that but it is roughly true). Anyway, a radiculopathy is a self-limiting problem provided the right management plan is followed.
This kind of problem is usually caused or triggered by poor posture and heavy labour. The head forward posture causes increased compression of the lower cervical vertebral discs, and over a long-term period can cause disc prolapse and/or irritation of the neural tissue. Working on stretching out your front (chest and shoulders back) and strengthening your back and core (yoga or pilates) would be helpful in remedying this. Losing some weight would also help, but I'm sure you'll be on top of that with all the advice you've been given already!
Anyway, hope that helps and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Yeah - that's the one. I wrote them an e-mail too and got a really cryptic reply and a request for a donation. I did offer them money if they'd repost the episode, but got an even more cryptic one about how the video was shot years ago and how a lot had changed since then. All the same, I have offered a donation anyway, but find the situation rather strange!
If you chop some but not all of it then the plant will not die. Just leave the chopped material on the ground. You don't need to cover the rest of the plant, but to be honest, even if you then normally the plant will grow through it. My nasturtiums will grow through almost anything, although I do live in a much colder climate than you.
Cashew yoghurt is amazing. The way I do it is to make rejuvelac first - soak a cup of wheatberries overnight (up to 24 hours), then discard the water and recover in water (a quart) and soak for 2 days covered in a cheeseloth or tea towel. After this you shold have a liquid that smells slightly sour/yeasty but not rotten. This is the rejuvelac - a great source of probiotics. You can make another batch by adding the same amount of water to the wheatberries and soak for another 24 hours.
After you have your rejuvelac, blitz with raw cashews at a ratio of 1:1. Leave covered in a cloth overnight in a warm place (8-10 hours, depends on how warm the room is) and you should have a delicious yoghurt that tastes similar to milk yoghurt. You may have to play around with the cashew:rejuvelac ratio.
Hope that helps.
I don't have acres of land myself, but I planted some quinoa transplants into a basic sheet mulch (cardboard and hay) and they are doing surprisingly well, even though they went in late. This was in an area that was very heavily populated with horsetail, bindweed, docks, nettles, couch grass and brambles. The tomatoes I planted in a more elaborate sheet mulch (hay, manure, compost, leaves) are fruiting more heavily than ones I have planted in a tilled bed. I have watered the tomatoes and the quinoa maybe a once or twice since they went in, and it has barely rained here this year at all (for the UK). I can't speak for anyone else, but it appears that no-till can be extremely effective for growing annuals.
I'm based in Bristol, where there seems to be quite a few permies. Me and my girlfriend have been into permaculture for about 18 months now, and in that time we've transformed most of the garden from overgrown lawn to a hugelkultur paradise (lol). We've also taken on three allotments between us that are handily behind the garden.
Regarding building a composter, I would recommend a three-cell one and make sure you humanure! We haven't thought about building a new house though...
Thanks Bob! That's such a generous offer. I've got some little yellow ones growing fine on top of a hugelbed (yellow currant tomatoes that I got from realseeds.co.uk: http://www.realseeds.co.uk/tomatoes_vines.html ), but those other ones don't want to play ball! Will try again this year but may take you up on that offer
Shame the British climate isn't favourable for sowing tomatoes outdoors. I'd love to have them sprouting up everywhere!
Thanks for the replies. I actually started them indoors because I live in the UK and it's not exactly ideal to sow tomatoes outdoors here! By the time the ground is warm enough, it's too late to sow them outdoors as far as I know. Same goes for peppers, aubergines, and other plants that need heat and take a long time to fruit. Seems like there's tons of info on growing normal tomatoes out there, but very little on wild tomatoes.