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Paul has cervical radiculopathy (from a bulging disc) - advice?  RSS feed

 
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I remembered a few more things that probably contributed to the improvement of my symptoms.

1. Using an inversion table, slowly increasing the angle as tolerated, while using a rolled-up hand towel under the neck to assist with maintaining correct curvature. Un-weighting the compressed disc was a revalation for me! Slowly, once inverted and unweighted, moving the head and neck around to free up the compressed, stagnated disc, to increase circulation and decompression. If you happen to be in the tacoma/Seattle area, or have someone out this way, you are welcome to have my table. I haven't used it in quite a while. We got it off of Craigslist, so it isn't immaculate, but if you have anyone passing through our area, it's yours. =)

2. Hydration. Discs contain a lot of water and need it to maintain their correct form.

3. Chiropractic adjustments. Not all chiropractors are created equally, and this didn't lead to sudden relief, but because my symptoms have improved, and chiropractic adjustments were part of what I tried, I mention them.

The doctor who administered the steroid injections was an osteopath; Jason Attaman, of Seattle.

I think the best way to go will be to hydrate, decompress, gradually increase decompressed movement, and reduce stress.

Best of luck, Paul!

John
 
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We find using beef gelatin daily in our hot lemon ginger drinks keeps our pain and spasms away - we don't have anything as severe as Paul - but we can get pretty tight and achy if we don't have a few of those a day - or gelatin in soups, etc. A few times throughout the day seems to work better than once. And we go through a lot of fresh ginger, we usually keep a pot of it and water warming on the stove.
 
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Jocelyn

Sounds overwhelming. I am sick myself at the moment and so have some "free time" indoors for a day or two and I would be happy to phone people on Julia's list if that would help; or other telecommuting. To actually sound legit and not waste anybody's time I, or any helper, needs some information and a way to get back to you or Paul timely for reporting, schedules and decisions. I can't promise large time because I will have to catch up here once I get moving again, so maybe we don't have a fit. But perhaps others can chime in if you have a list of telecommuting chores. Follow up w/the John in Seattle offering a traction table - see who knows somebody that might be traveling your way?

Anyway, maybe there are more options in the community for getting help w/less personal or specialized tasks. Clear a little space, give you time to work on stuff only you can handle.

Best wishes.

Rufus
 
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Julia Winter wrote:As Paul gets more mobility, I'd urge you to look into at least that first PT on the list I published (I know, it's a super long list - I'm sorry! I couldn't figure out how to wean it down). I shared the whole list on the off chance that one or more people has a connection to someone in Paul's circle.

(side note - a local person who wants to help could call these people and find out 1) who is actually in business 2) if they think they could help 3) if they make house calls (unlikely) and 4) what they charge. Actually, anybody with time and free or low-cost long distance phone service could do that.)

Hang in there, Jocelyn! You have a ton on your plate, and you are doing a great job. Cheerful is awesome! (as long as it doesn't come from alprazolam, or lorazepam, or diazepam, etc)



Wahoo, so many practicioners in 1 city!
A frend of mine, osteopath in france, made the journey to learn the method, as it can be used when it hurts, and when muscles are tight by pain and or stress.
She told me it is not an easy method, and that people have to work on their posture so as to not break the job she has done.
She does not do it when people cannot rest 3 days or will ruin the relaxation by going on with bad posture.

That is why I was soooo interrested by the link about Dr Jolie bookspan.
Read almost all her website,
AND started what she said.
Definitely worth it.

About Jones techniques:
They work by making the body "want" to relax the involuntary tensions.
I do not know it personally, as it is more complex than what I do, but it was the closest that I could recommand...
What I do is also with looking for the "tender point".
Those points indicate which muscle has an involuntary tension (one that you cannot relax with your wish).
But I work only with the postural muscles in neck or feet, that is to say either side of the muscular chains.

As I cannot do it to myself, I have to find other ways.
THIS IS PERMACULTURE.
I have been thinking....
Why do us folks go out of the healthy way of living?
When you have urgency and pain, and no hope because of no autonomy and no knowledge,
then you are likely to accept what "doctors" advise,
and it can be spreading chemicals in fields or taking surgery...

Also, we are likely to be lazy, or have more important things to do,
and tend to neglect prevention, because we know that counter-poisons exist.
So we grow badly until pests arrive, or we stand, sit and bend badly as long as pain does not come.

Thanks to Dr Bookspan site, I have understood a lot, and I am retrainning myself now.
Thanks Paul for the side effect of thinking and doing.
I have a very bad posture, and it is difficult to change the pattern, but I try.

I think that bad postures are from a lack of consciousness, and more, but also they are adaptative.
It is a vicious circle, pain and tight muscles bring more bad posture that will bring more pain etc.
I do have some tight muscles and I really cannot, at the moment, stand and sit in the neutral spine posture that Jolie advise.
But if I do not practise to reverse it, then no chiropractor work will work.

I advise everyone and myself to think of our bodies in a more permies ways!
Everyone who works long hours sitting for computer work should read Jolie Bookspan website.
Let's treat ourselves as good as we treat our land!


By the way, I am in town for writing because of the dentist, as I also took some more permies decisions for my dead teeth,
also thanks to some advises I read here.
I want to be there IN HEALTH a few more years so that I can tend my land longer.
 
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Super great news that Paul is feeling better. i was in a similar difficulty as far as pain and immobilization was concerned, but the cause was not as severe and I was better after about a week, a week with massive pain and without sleep is still an experience. I couldn't get any help from hands on practitioners since they couldn't manipulate me until I had essentially healed. I am working on posture and exercise and the pain in any severe form has not returned.
 
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lecithin ....your body produces it - but not always in sufficient quantities

what it does is to insulate your nerves as a coating and reduces pain

Paul , i have a pillow going longways beside me to elevate my arm a bit
which takes the pressure off... helps allot

and of course: cannabis allows you to disassociate from constant pain
giving you a mental break from the aggravation of it...a mini vacation

i had a guy hit me with his car when i was a kid in elementary school
and then he kept going even after i bounced off his windshield.
so i know about back pain from an early age.

so sorry to hear about your situation
 
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I talked to somebody at the doctor's office yesterday. I had to rephrase my question a couple of times too get an answer. Before I finally got the answer they kept telling me what I already knew: I am either getting better or the Gabapentin is finally starting to kick in because it takes a while to kick in.

My new question was how long does it take gabapentin to usually kick in? The answer was usually about a week. Since I started feeling better several weeks after taking Gabapentin then I think the answer is that I am actually getting better.

I thought I was told that I would wake up one day and I would be all better. I wish to report that that is not the case.

The MRI showed that my disc was bulging in such a way that it was pressing on my spinal cord. The surgeon said that it is possible that my body will absorb the bulge or dissolve the Bulge in time. Speculation is that the Bulge is now getting dissolved.

When I sit up or stand up my arm still hurts but it doesn't hurt as much as it used to. In fact it will kind of do an on-and-off of hurting and not hurting.

So my next question was... is it something where if I feel pain I should lie back down or is it something I should bully through. The answer was something in between. If the pain is light I can try to bully through for a little while, otherwise I should lie down.

I have now had this for 2 months. My understanding is that I've had it worse than most people. And I would feel like quite the whiner if it were not for the MRI showing a bulge and the doctor responding with wow that's a bad one.

I have a lot to get done. I'm anxious to get back to work. I think I'm going to be in bed for another week or so... Based on the amount of pain I have when I sit up or walk.

Once I am standing again, I am curious to measure how tall I am now. With the smashed donuts in my neck, I should be shorter. Maybe I am not the giant I once was.
 
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Paul, I am so glad to hear that you are starting to feel (a little) better! I really didn't want you to have to go through surgery, of any sort.

I would still advocate for creating some way to invert yourself, to take the pressure off your spine. Personally, I find that if I do yoga at least two good sessions a week, my back pain is kept at bay. Down-dog is THE pose for keeping me pain free, and I think it's helping me get taller.

Your anti-inflammatory diet is probably helping, so I'd try to continue that. I would also see if you could work with physical therapy for some time, maybe one of the practitioners trained in the Jones techniques. Learning to stack up your spine the way it should be will require lots of practice, but will help avoid future bad episodes.

Ha! Writing to you about posture has me trying to sit up better in my seat here at the computer. Computers are bad for your posture. . .

OK, if you do nothing else, consider a standing desk as an adjunct to your usual desk. A treadmill desk might be even better, once you are feeling up to it.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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Any method, find the most permie one!
Jones can be used when it hurts.

Julia Winter wrote:
Ha! Writing to you about posture has me trying to sit up better in my seat here at the computer. Computers are bad for your posture. . .

OK, if you do nothing else, consider a standing desk as an adjunct to your usual desk. A treadmill desk might be even better, once you are feeling up to it.


I also note that with the Dr Jolie method, her advise about the computer is the best when you have to use it. When I go off what she says about posture, I can feel it in my neck, and then in my arm. Righ away.
Dunno if same as you Paul, it starts under the arm, near the chest, but I also have a bad dorsal vertebra at this level, not only cervical.

The problem with computer is to put the head forward.
Same problem as biking.

I also like the standing posture for reading, writing.... I alternate.

I use Buteyko breathing so that I get enough CO2 for delivering proper oxygen, and for its relaxing effect. The effect is immediate for me, and pain soothing.
 
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Soooo glad to get another (good!) update. Thank you, thank you, thank you! And

I'm anxious


... I think anxiety slows down healing... any breathing technique will take care of it ;) (Yes, it's boring... but what else have you got to do ? ;)
 
paul wheaton
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nancy sutton wrote: (Yes, it's boring... but what else have you got to do ? ;)



I have been working about 12 hours a day. I can do voice phone calls. And I can do email... Slowly. And I can reply to Forum threads... Slowly. All through my cell phone which is held over my face by a weird Metal Arm. I lay on my back and face my cell phone.

Yesterday I was up at 6:30 a.m. and went right to work. Last night at about 11 I was exchanging emails with Priscilla about pictures she took when she was here last fall. Specifically pictures she took of Tim Barker. Who is going to be teaching classes here in May and June. I forwarded the picture to Destiny who seems to have already posted it in the PDC thread.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

nancy sutton wrote: (Yes, it's boring... but what else have you got to do ? ;)



I have been working about 12 hours a day. I can do voice phone calls. And I can do email... Slowly. And I can reply to Forum threads... Slowly. All through my cell phone which is held over my face by a weird Metal Arm. I lay on my back and face my cell phone.

Yesterday I was up at 6:30 a.m. and went right to work. Last night at about 11 I was exchanging emails with Priscilla about pictures she took when she was here last fall. Specifically pictures she took of Tim Barker. Who is going to be teaching classes here in May and June. I forwarded the picture to Destiny who seems to have already posted it in the PDC thread.



Sounds like you need a bed side assistant to read aloud, take dictation and make you laugh! Sending virtual resorption and anti-boredom salve
your way!
 
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Ihope you have a Bluetooth keyboard or something, so you can respond to the phone with less strain.
 
paul wheaton
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Janet Branson wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:

nancy sutton wrote: (Yes, it's boring... but what else have you got to do ? ;)



I have been working about 12 hours a day. I can do voice phone calls. And I can do email... Slowly. And I can reply to Forum threads... Slowly. All through my cell phone which is held over my face by a weird Metal Arm. I lay on my back and face my cell phone.

Yesterday I was up at 6:30 a.m. and went right to work. Last night at about 11 I was exchanging emails with Priscilla about pictures she took when she was here last fall. Specifically pictures she took of Tim Barker. Who is going to be teaching classes here in May and June. I forwarded the picture to Destiny who seems to have already posted it in the PDC thread.



Sounds like you need a bed side assistant to read aloud, take dictation and make you laugh! Sending virtual resorption and anti-boredom salve
your way!



I am reading your suggestion as Sara is sitting next to me helping me grind through the stuff that needs to be done for the new 4 DVD set. She had a good laugh.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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The Buteyko breathing works, it can reduce pain in minutes.
It imitates the high altitude effect without climbing up!
The effect of increasing CO2 is to better oxygen delivery, and it also takes care of the nervous system as a side effect, because it reduces any sympathetic activation.
Muscular spasms have to go by themselves, but you can help them...
It's logical, the disc go opposite way of the muscles that are too tight. It creates the bulge, which goes away poco a poco when the muscles relax.
 
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Paul,

I suffered from herniated discs for 2.5 years between C5,6 and 7. I put off surgery in the hope that it would fix itself. Often I was fine but for the last 9 months I had 6 months of grade 3 pain followed by debilitating grade 7/8 for 3 months when I could not get off my back except for short periods with lots of medication. My right arm became useless. I finally decided to take the surgical option. [ACDF] I was bothered at the prospect of the surgery having researched what actually occurs! I awoke after 3 hours of surgery and was pain free immediately except for some residual relating to the surgery itself. Within 5 days I was not taking any pain relief at all. Two weeks I am almost recovered although very cautious about lifting etc - no golf , hiking just yet.
Get yourself a good Neurosurgeon and get on with it. Life is too short to live it in pain.

All the best
Mike
 
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I also had a "large" C-6 herniation a few years back. I tried sucking it up for about a year before I opted for surgery. They had me on Flexerols which turned me into a drooling mess. The procedure they gave me was called an Anterior Ferminotomy, basically they cut through the front of my next and drilled into my vertebrae where the spinal column was being compressed. Dr Vasco Da Silva from Ottawa, ON was my neurosurgeon. I'm not sure what kind of herniation you have or which specifically they can do this procedure for, but I was 85%ish pain free within a few weeks and completely recovered in 6 months. Lol then I got smashed in the head and fractured my C-7 and have been hurting for about a year and a half now. The thing that has helped me most right now is acupuncture, once every week or two. Voltaren helps a little, for short bits of time. Also as so many others have said, the Yoga stretches help as well. Yoga might be a little tricky to do if your stuck in bed though. There's a topical cream called Zostrix with capsaicin as the active ingredient, my specialist said it is supposed to trick the brain and block the pain signals from the nerves. It didn't work for me, but everyone's different. Saunas and hot tubs are always good too.

Cheers and good vibes
You've got tons of people rootin for ya


 
Xisca Nicolas
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This topic was like a warning to me, as my back and neck were going bad, but so little by little....
They I read about this Dr Jolie Bookspan work, and I said ok, this is the "what I can do to myself" that was missing!
I know something else, but I cannot do it to myself, so...

1st I thought Jolie was right, and cared about my posture.
Then I thought she was wrong, because some very old pains came back (namely, I had a horse fall at 16, and also a whiplash)
-> a bad posture is an adaptation to not feel the residual pain.
It worked years for me....

Then I decided she was not wrong but right, as my 1st thoughts, and that I had to go through the untightening of the muscles.
I cannot sleep on a hard floor since this accident, because of the too much S form of my spine.
So I have been sleeping on my back on a wooden floor almost since this post about Dr Jolie...
And a rolled blanket so that I can expand my shoulders.
All the pains I had YEARS AGO came right back! Decided I was stubborn and would not submit this time. I fight. Those muscles must surrender.

AND I BEGIN TO HAVE RESULTS!

I did not do this method alone, I also used the slow breathing of Buteyko, and each time I can feel that some muscles LET GO.
I also can apply some of my Somathic experiencing knowledge.
(It is not the best to do to oneself, but unlike bodywork, this is possible).
So, I had some autonomic discharges = trembling, shaking, sighing, mixed with some laugh and tears, followed by spontanious relaxation, leading to a relieve in the pain.
Then the modification was leading to some other pain nearby, and I went on untighing other muscles.
We have some links between muscles and nerves, that is why it works best to work both at the same time.

Now I have less pain and I can stand almost straight. I feel a totally diferent balance in my body and on my feet. I worked mostly on part below omoplates (where the bra, and where the diaphragm attached, I had this breathing muscle pulled when I felt on my back). But I have a clear result on my neck as well.
I can feel I have to work on my psoas muscles, they are the ones that pull my lower back, and for my neck I have to release mainly the sterno-cleido-mastoidians.

It is very important to be careful with stretches. It is like a permaculture tool, it must follow precise rules. It was not my main way to relax the muscles. Actually, all the relieves came by themselves, like a sudden let-go. If you have been told to "let-go" about anything, especially an emotional issue, then you know through experience that you cannot do it by forcing it, or else it is not let go...
I used the posture and the forced streching at night to make me aware of where the "activation" was, and then allow the process. "activation" in somatic experiencing is the activation of the sympathic system, which occur in activity, danger, and pain etc. The intensity of activation depends on the intensity the system wants to be in active mode, for acting.

I am going to open a topic on my progress, I will find someone to take pics so that you can see the change.
 
nancy sutton
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Please do open a separate thread, Xisca, as this is soooo interesting. (Most of our real learning is hearing someone else's 'story', Ithink ;) Thanks for sharing, and please include this posting in the thread ;) ox
 
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You want to address the underlying pattern of general coordination that is causing the injury. I have seen a photograph of a spine of a farmer who died young from working in a malcoordinated way. Buteyko is a good technique, but it's really helpful to have some kinesthetic and psychophysical literacy also.

Alexander Technique is the best I know of, but many people find relief in different ways if they are acting along the lines of the principle of what Alexander discovered--somehow inhibiting (ceasing to activate) the muscles that are not a part of what's needed to the activity and allowing the ones that are to be doing their job.

The TEchnqiue is very much a permacutlure of the self--when you take the short-view approach, you use fast-twitch fiber to do the support-mucle's job, and then the latter become atrophied. It takes a few months to recondition to a basic level, but back pain will go away, and bulged disks will not be a problem.

I'd suggest a phone appointment with David Gorman, since I know he works by phone/skype.

There is one Alexander teacher in Missoula in the summer, Jan Baty.

But you don't need a teacher to get some hands-on work, a friend can do that for you and at least help you get more accurate kinesthetic input and conduct experiments. Or you can work on your own with mirrors set up to allow you to observe your own use.

There is NO mystery to any of this--once you see yourself moving, you can easily begin to pick up what it is that you're doing to injure yourself. If you don't see it at first, just take a little time practicing seeing it, and it will begin to become obvious. Observe, observe, observe. Or observe other people, how they move, how they sit at the computer, how they coordinate. Not just the posture--posture is only a small part of the picture. A cat will eat in a "poor" posture with one paw up on a surface in a way that wouldn't be comfortable for a human for long, but its poise is perfect. Look for poise, not just posture, sense what you sense in yourself as you're observing people. Zone negative 10.

Recommended reading: The Use of the Self, and Frank Pierce Jones. Cathy Madden's book also is good, and while geared toward performing, it's a match for any overachiever.

Paul, you're not going to give up working, it's just not how you are. You don't need to be lying down for the rest of your life, you just need to be not interfering with standing up--with nature's design for how you stand up. It takes a while to get used to it again, you don't need to fight through anything at all here. Some change can be felt instantly, even if it's not taking you 100% to where you want to be, you can sense the delta. Just detach from any mystification of it. Look at what you can sense and observe for yourself.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:Cervical pillow: what is that?


A cervical pillow is a pillow shaped to support the natural curve of your neck (C-shaped) instead of forcing your neck to be straight in line with your shoulders and head (very firm "normal" pillow) or giving no real support to any parts (feather pillow).
 
paul wheaton
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Cervical pillow ordered.



When this first happened, one of the things that Jocelyn did was to take me to a friend of hers who is an acupuncturist. I got relief in the first couple of minutes and then she did something else and I ended up back where I started. Jocelyn's friend continued to push for me seeing an acupuncturist in Missoula.

So on Tuesday we went into town and I got stabbed with little needles.

I had to wear my crazy looking neck collar to be able to make it into town... Even though I've been feeling a little bit better lately. On Monday night I sat and ate with people for about 15 minutes. I was feeling like that was pretty good. A new record.

So I wore the crazy neck thing and I was having a fair bit of pain on the way in. This had better be worth it.

After the treatment on Tuesday morning Kama we found ourselves on the streets of Downtown Missoula at around lunch time. I put the collar in the car because I was currently relatively pain-free. Right there next to the doctor's office was a fun little restaurant. So we went in with the idea that if my pain returned I could step out of the restaurant and get my collar. I managed to finish my meal. And then I got into the car without the collar and we went to the little room that we rented for two nights. All in all I think I was up right for about an hour. I laid down 4 an hour and was up right another half hour... Progress!

I went in for another treatment yesterday and another treatment this morning. We are now back home. I probably spent three hours being up right this morning.

I'm finding that my body is complaining about all sorts of things tied to being on my back for two and a half months. My back doesn't like chairs, my butt doesn't like chairs, my neck is complaining... but these are all normal pains... Things that are easy to deal with... A little ibuprofen and some exercise. Nothing like the bizarre crazy pain that comes from something pushing on your spinal cord.

I'm not sure how much of this might be that my affliction is just going away or how much of it is the mighty power of acupuncture, but it feels like I'm on a strong path to mend. Even if my cervical radiculopathy is 100% mended... Which it's not... But if it were, then I would still need to spend the next month or two exercising and getting my muscle tone back for just day-to-day stuff.

I helped to Jocelyn load the car today for the trip back. A good sign.

...

I told Jocelyn I think it was the ice cream sammiches that cured me.
 
Julia Winter
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That is great news!!
 
nancy sutton
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Whew!!!
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Great to hear.

Do keep observing.

Coordination coordination coordination coordination coordination coordination coordination observe observe observe observe observe observe.
 
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Greetings, I ran across your experience somewhat randomly, so I signed up to post some suggestions. I wasn't able to read all the posts here so sorry if I duplicate some other suggestions. It's good to see you're improving!
Be aware that in addition to helping with nerve pain, Gabapentin can of course have psychotropic effects which could be positive or negative. Note that while less potent, non-prescription GABA could in theory potentially help as well, although absent any compelling reason, you would be ill-advised to switch off something that's working. Note also that taking a supplementary GABA analog or Gabapentinoid drug could in theory cause the body to make less of its own GABA, so the efficacy of the drug could fluctuate accordingly over the course of a few weeks, as could psychotropic side effects. Increasing dosage might offset diminished efficacy, skipping a dose now or then might help encourage the body to make more of it's own GABA. The Half life of Gabapentin is about 6 hours. It is therefore flushed out of your system relatively quickly. I don't know about Gabapentin specifically, but I expect that it might also take effect very quickly. If it takes a week to notice improvement in pain, I would expect that maybe it took that long for the Gabapentin to help the muscle system to finally relax or to help a feedback loop within the system to resolve. If you went several weeks before noticing improvement, I would take that as an indication that the dosage is too low to be effective or that you simply are not responding to the Gabapentin. Given the short half life of Gabapentin, you can be completely off it within a day or two; completely stopping it would be something you could try to test to see if it is doing anything. Note that discontinuation of a GABA analog or Gabapentinoid drug can result in new psychotropic symptoms or exacerbation of existing symptoms such as anxiety, seizures, pain, etc., therefore consideration should be given to incremental discontinuation under the supervision of a physician. If you do go cold turkey, have some on hand in case you feel the need to go back on it. I am not a physician and these various suggestions apply to GABA analog and Gabapentinoid drugs in general; please refer to sources more experienced and qualified than myself for advice vis-a-vis Gabapentin and your specific case.

As for spending long hours in front of the computer, I recommend:
* A very high quality screen, with sufficient ambient room lighting. This will reduce muscle issues in the neck, as neck muscles are used in coordination with eye movement. A lower quality screen makes for more work for the eyes, and a bright screen in a dark room can be fatiguing as well.
* an adjustable height sit/stand desk
* A Swopper chair. A Swopper chair will be uncomfortable for at least a few weeks while your muscles adapt to it, but once you develop the appropriate muscle balance, you won't want to sit on anything else because sitting on it hurts less than sitting on a regular chair, for some people it doesn't hurt at all.
* Ensure that the relative strength of muscle groups is balanced; reference: The Happy Body Book.

The above recommendations are expensive to implement, but can potentially help obviate the need for much more expensive-to-treat medical problems which often result from sitting.

I hope this helps!

paul wheaton wrote:

Janet Branson wrote:

paul wheaton wrote: .

 
Xisca Nicolas
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Very good news indeed! And yes, I think it is all about muscles, as they are the ones maintaining together bones and disks etc.
Yes Buteyko is a good technique, because it is one key to act on muscles. Alexander also looks good, I know only its theory, never done it.

Joshua Myrvaagnes wrote:The Technique is very much a permaculture of the self--when you take the short-view approach, you use fast-twitch fiber to do the support-mucle's job, and then the latter become atrophied. It takes a few months to recondition to a basic level, but back pain will go away, and bulged disks will not be a problem.



Very good, that would have been a better title for the post I opened in the permaculture forum!
Permaculture of the self, I love it.

I think what we have to do for ourself is very similar to what we can do to for soils...
 
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yes acupuncture is amazing, I am on a~ 3 week continuous visit schedule regardless if I "need it" or not. I usually have something to complain about and he usually has the solution. also is a great teacher and wise in the ways of nutrition. Keep going, keep going!!!
 
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So glad to hear you're starting to mend. Just like every food forest is a little different, so is every person's path to healing.

FYI - a friend of mine only made it through University by setting up a treadmill in front of his computer. He'd walk at a slow speed while reading and thinking, but could turn it off if doing a bunch of typing. The idea was to imitate the original Hunter/Gatherer Human - lots of gentle walking while looking for good things to eat. Sounds sort of like Permaculture to me, except someone will want to use your effort to power something...
 
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Paul, The joints in your neck are hypomobile/fixated and have been for years/decades. Find a competent chiropractor to free up the stuck joints or it will never heal. The muscles are in spasm as a protective measure from mother nature. Lying on your back w/ a roll and ice would help.....DMSO as a linament would be great. Please call/email me and I'll tell you more..ezra34@hotmail.com 704-472-9500 I AM a chiropractor/naturopath x 25 years Hope you get some relief.

Using Rx for healing is like urinating in bed to stay warm , you'll be worse off in the morning. Please feel free to give me a call

Dr. Z
 
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Hi there,
best regards to paul, I am so sorry to hear of his' health issues.
So I have been a registered nurse for twenty-two years, much of it in the emergency department.
During that time I have seen every conceivable type of injury and hundreds and hundreds of people that suffer from some form of chronic pain syndrome.
I also happen to have many back problems that starting occurring after being struck by a car in my twenties.
Blah. blah, now on to you Paul; first valium really only helps mask the pain, and is really prescribed to combat pain that is caused by muscle spasms , it s in a class of drugs called benzodiazepines.
cervical radiculapathy is a term used to describe in general terms , pain , numbness and tingling caused by pressure /swelling on the spinal cord.
Most people that have these symptoms can trace them back to either a repetitive motion or in many cases being "hunched over all the time.
Think about it, sitting for long periods of time in from of the computer, the way you drive, the way you stand and use various tools in the garden.
When you are always in flexion, as in bent forward you put undue strain on your neck and upper back.
As a person who has suffered for years off and on and never took narcotics for the pain, I just had to learn other ways to deal with my problems, yoga, swimming etc. but I found that many of these activities really did not always help.
Then this year I discovered a way of working out that to me seems revolutionary, based on Joseph pilates program, however tweaked a little, sometimes referred to as somatic pilates, takes out a lot of the pure flexion aspects of his work , while learning to really work your core, get back your balance, and overall strength. I am actually taking a class at the mendocino community college, where the woman teaching is using pilates principals modified by some principals from the woks of Liz Coe on somatics.
I know this really long-winded but I would suggest you look into those works to get out of that horrible rabbit hole you are in right now
Please feel free to contact me if I can be of any help.

best regards, Skip

 
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Wow, Paul was upright for a continuous 3 hours today, with pain going to only about a level 1 in his arm! We had a magazine photographer here taking photos of Paul and the permaculture playing cards.

Such good progress.

We know there is still more healing, re-strengthening, and more re-structuring to do (with ergonomics, lifestyle, body mechanics, etc.) though this is really so encouraging!

The nerve pain medication (actually an anti-seizure medication that also lessens nerve pain), gabapentin, needs to be gradually reduced to avoid seizures, so Paul is looking forward to creating a schedule with the doctor's office to do that.

We have more to work out with continuing care and advice, including the re-strengthening and body mechanics, maybe additional acupuncture, etc. These details include insurance, schedule challenges, cash flow, events and visitors, projects at the property and online...all the things in a normal household multiplied by about a factor of 20 due to being the Duke of permaculture!

 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Look! Even after 3 hours, plus another 2 hours vertical, Paul and I walked down the driveway to sit with folks around the ring of fire!



Paul was mostly tired out from using muscles that had already weakened from being on his back for so long.

An excellent day, to be sure.
 
Julia Winter
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That is truly encouraging to see - may you just get better and better!

I know right now you have a "lying desk," but I hope someday soon you can have a walking desk. Finding a big enough/strong enough treadmill is the hard part. . .
 
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I want to reinforce the few that have suggested that you go to a Chiropractor!!! You seem aware that the problem in a nerve that is being irritated/pinched as it passes the hard tissue (bones) and the protective sheath is getting rubbed. The actual repair requires that the space for this nerve to pass is enlarged to it's original size. After many years of getting this way it may take several treatments to gently pry them apart, yet it is a simple procedure that has been practiced by Chiropractors for many generations. As you have been trying salves and stretches for these past several months, with only limited effect, I think it is time you consider seeking this professional help. You can be back in the yard in a few short weeks, as good as new.

You can get references from your neighbors. Then the Doctor will start by explaining the physiology of his/her treatment. I know it seems "too easy" to just move the pressure off the nerve, but that is it in a nutshell. The bulging disc is also the result of the vertebrae being "pinched" through years of pressure, gravity, etc.

My own experience is with both neck and lower back pain resulting from a car accident. It does recur because of my own activities and yet I know it is so easy to go get relief.

WHAT IF this was a simple solution that you have been avoiding because the general Medical Profession is stuck in their own pharmacology and surgical solutions.
PLEASE, give Chiropractic a try before you allow any invasive surgery or even continue untreated any longer.
 
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APTA Cervial Radiculopathy

Hi Paul,

I am a massage therapist and am also someone who has suffered from severe neck and shoulder pain (not being able to lift my head off the pillow to get out of bed type of thing)

Of course Im going to advocate for massage since that is what helped me along with seeing a chiropractor. I DO NOT have cervical radiculopathy so I cannot say that I know what that feels like. I can only equate the pain I was in for a few days at a time to the possibility of feeling pain like that every day and how awful that must be!

You mentioned that you've tried massage and I just wanted to point out that in your case, it is common to not see results until you've had several MT sessions. The same goes for acupuncture. Disregard all of what Im about to write if you already have been seeing a massage therapist regularly.

The body has an amazing ability to heal itself when it can fully drop into parasympathetic nervous system mode....full relaxation mode...usually our bodies are in fight or flight mode and being in pain and feeling stress is the same to our body as being hunted down by a fierce lion. Gentle warming massage every few days would be great if you can swing it. Most important, make sure you are lying down on a massage table and not sitting up. A massage chair might be okay for quick fixes but getting the whole body massaged is the only way to really trigger that parasympathetic response. Once your body becomes used to getting into relaxation mode, it will be easier to have more work done in the targeted areas of the neck.

When you are looking for a massage therapist make sure they are familiar with your particular condition and that they are well seasoned. There are so many muscles in the neck anterior and posterior! Just in the posterior neck, the origin of the muscles are ligaments and spinous and transverse processes of the cervical spine. In the front of the neck, along with other anterior muscles are the scalenes with their origins from the C2 to C7 and attachments to the first and second ribs. As you can see there are so many muscles that can be tight and therefore affect other muscles leading to a domino effect of acting like a vice grip around the nerves of the cervical spine. A lot of people who have issues with carpal tunnel are really suffering from impinged nerves due to tight muscles. The body over time, tries to protect itself from repetitive movements and postures. One muscle tightens up and tries to compensate for the other that is being overworked or over stretched. This happens a lot when we hunch over a screen, our muscles in our chest tighten and once we are standing upright again, they stay tight because that has become the "norm" for them. Once the pecs (chest) is tight, other muscles kick in and compensate for the pecs being tight and so on and so forth...

This issue with cervical radiculopathy didn't just happen overnight or over the course of a few week. Its been years in the making. There is no way that a few massage treatments or even physical therapy will be a quick fix. It will take some time and dedication and patience....a very hard thing to have when you are in pain.

As far as nutritional stuff, well, my OPINION is that as long as you are feeling awful, you are not going to be motivated to make any significant changes and even if you did and your issue was from inflammation (and no one knows at this point, I suspect) it can take weeks or even months. I've had the challenge of dealing with chronic pain for 20 years and one of the worst things besides finding ways to deal with the pain was feeling like my "dis-ease" was my fault. If only I ate the right foods, thought the right thoughts, did more yoga, took different herbs, etc etc... The truth is when you're in it, YOU ARE IN IT and no one else can be in it with you. That means YOU and only you can make that decision. If you need to throw a bunch of pain killers to get to the massage table, do it! Im not advocating the use of drugs but it beats sitting there in pain feeling immobilized. If you feel you can change one thing at a time that helps you relax in a day or say one positive affirmation a day, do it, just do it from a gentle perspective so that the journey of healing is actually one of healing and not stress.

So, there, that's my OPINION. As a massage therapist, yoga teacher, and Reiki Master since 1998 with a couple degrees in mental health for what its worth to ya... Get your mind and your body relaxed first and foremost. Seek out a seasoned knowledgeable massage therapist and see him or her a couple times a week. Retrain your body and your muscles to relax. When muscles relax, they stop pulling on joints and ligaments etc...right now they are bearing down on your nerves, literally and figuratively.

Not sure if you've had an MRi to see if there is any degeneration of the vertebra or disks. I think knowing exactly what you are dealing with is the best defense. If the doc says you have this, he/she should be able to tell you exactly where and why. That's why they get paid the big bucks.

You are a smart guy with good people looking after you. You are doing great things for the world so make sure you do great things for yourself to get better soon.


 
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paul wheaton wrote:Slept poorly. Jocelyn is getting some breakfast ready. We will be heading to Missoula in a few minutes. It sounds like we're going to go get advice with the professionals in Missoula.

I find I cannot wrap my head around my problem. I'm just entirely leaving all decisions to Jocelyn. As I sit in my bed and think about all of my projects I kind of think about how there will be a day that I'll be dead. & I really very much want all the stuff to move forward. I like to think that I've created a framework so that all of you all can continue to do amazing and awesome things without me. I hope to come back and play a role. But it looks like it will be at least a few weeks. I kind of think that a lot of stuff will only move forward if I do a large part of the work, but I think that my illness might be the propellant to transition away from that and towards other people building these experiences also. I like the idea of garden and gardeners. I think the same can be said for this community and for so many of the other things that we have collectively solved.

Can you tell I'm not typing? I'm trying to use the voice thing in my phone. I think I can actually contribute about 3 minutes a day right now.

I'm still in a lot of pain I'm even having trouble breathing. And now I get to spend eight hours sitting in a car. I hope come back and find that you guys had lots of fun and save the world while I was gone.

I'm sure this is where did very poorly because I don't have a chance to polish it or even read what I'm writing, speaking. Not to mention the fact that my brain is a bit addled from the medications.

I hope somebody is flushing out the reviews stuff. This is something that is a foundation to a foundation to a foundation to a foundation for something really amazing. The same can be said for spiffy.



SHARING
Paul, this is my second post today and ever, but I'm a long-time lurker.

I've suffered from debilitating back pain for most of my life -- since middle school, mostly in my mid-thorax. The first time I had a thoracic back spasm, I woke up with it on a Saturday morning trying to get out of bed. I couldn't even breathe, so I started hyperventilating, which hurt so much I just started crying. Family couldn't understand what was going on with me. I thought I had somehow broken my back while sleeping during the night, and was going to be paralyzed the rest of my life. Then it went away. Then it came back, periodically, worse and worse. Always while I was doing something mundane. Like reading.

I finally found a physical therapist who focused less on stretching and more on developing core strength to promote consistent good posture and stabilize the spine, and that seemed to help immensely. Years later, I learned what good posture is supposed to be (shoulders down and back, chest out, butt out in a J shape with a sizeable arch in the small of the back). And the final relief came from significant diet and lifestyle changes I started making a year ago, including an elimination diet and healing period which I just started, since so much chronic systemic inflammation comes from a compromised gut. I had multiple other symptoms, too, that I thought for years and years were separate, disconnected issues. I was wrong.

RECOMMENDATIONS
You've done an amazing job of building an online community and institution much greater than yourself. This is a great time to step back and do everything you need to do to take care of yourself. Permies.com and richsoil.com will continue to move forward, and you have a lot to feel proud of in that respect. If you haven't already, triage and delegate the high priority stuff, and set everything else aside so you can give this issue the attention it deserves.

These recommendations are mostly for long-term treatment, healing and management.

I think the comments focusing on inflammation are spot-on. The bottom line is -- do whatever the hell you need to do to figure out what the causes AND/OR contributing factors are, and them make tackling them your absolute first fucking priority. Keep in mind the possibility that the horrible pain you feel is a symptom of other things going on rather than the problem in and of itself. Which means you need to treat the pain and proximate inflammation and then start nailing down all the other major contributing factors in order to heal. I've found Dr. Sarah Ballantyne's book on diet and lifestyle factors contributing to optimal health or chronic inflammation-related illness immensely helpful in this regard (which my first post covers in greater detail here: http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/55406#462363.

One thing I haven't seen mentioned is wild lettuce -- a fantastic and mild sedative and painkiller. Eat a sufficient quantity of greens (e.g., steamed) or as a concentrated tea. On bad days I just take the latex straight (it tastes a lot like opium, but is more mild). It's also a nutrient dense wild food and should be fairly prolific this time of year, albeit going to seed depending on micro and macro climates. I've used it medicinally throughout its lifecycle, although its food value is limited to its young and tender weeks in spring.

In the short run, you may need something more severe, like a steroid injection to escape the vicious cycle of inflammation, tissue irritation and pain, and kickstart the healing and recovery process.
 
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Paul, you've been on my mind, how are you doing today? I think the last post updating how you're doing was a week ago.

laughter is the best medicine so here is one of my faves:


 
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I recommend reading the book What's Really Wrong with You: A Revolutionary look at how muscles affect your health by Thomas Griner and the website neurosoma.com. These sources cut to the root of the problem rather than just addressing symptoms.
 
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