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

 
Sharla Kew
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Paul is in a bad way, folks.

An easily-ignored twinge of back pain has blossomed into cervical radiculopathy, and he is currently in so much pain that he is unable to use the computer, read, or sleep without the help of Valium and painkillers. On the Brosh pain scale (attached), he's been hanging out in the 6 to 10 zone.

He is going to be out of action for at least a week, possibly for several weeks. On top of this, it is already a crazy busy time for Jocelyn, so please send them both good vibes.

Cervical radiculopathy, also referred to as radicular pain, is a somewhat broad term for symptoms of any "condition that irritates a nerve in the cervical spine (neck)." The good news is that it's probably not caused by a herniated or ruptured disc, but he will be getting an MRI soon to make sure. The likely culprit here is long hours at the computer, so consider this a reminder to get up and stretch.

He wanted me to post about his condition not only as an update to his loyal public but to ask for help and advice. Does anyone have experience dealing with cervical radiculopathy, or any kind of spinal nerve pain? We seek tips for exercises, stretches, remedies, meditations, and anything, really.

I'll post updates on this thread as things unfold.
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Brosh Pain Scale 0-6
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Brosh Pain Scale 7-12
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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A little earlier this morning, I tried to rub what felt like a knot above Paul's right shoulder blade, and that was baaaad. It seems muscles are pulling, yanking, knotting, spasming to create this spinal pinch.

Paul managed to watch a YouTube video or two on cervical radiculopathy (out of sheer desperation), though I think the stretch he found, and other cervical spine lengthening things he's trying, are only increasing his neck and shoulder muscle spasms and knots right now. It's as if he's making a Hulk-style pose, fists clenched, arms in semi-circle, to get his neck to lengthen and un-pinch. That doesn't look right to me.

Until we have more information, I'm thinking easy stretching and movement to loosen and lengthen as gently as possible make sense right now. Plus gentle movement to flush out the inflammation and minimize the soreness of too little activity and/or trying weird positions to alleviate the pain. Open to suggestions along these lines!

We're attempting as anti-inflammatory a diet as possible, to which I'm adding coconut oil, tumeric, garlic, etc. anything I can think of to help and promote healing. Magnesium! Ah, I need to get him more magnesium. I'll be doing that as I can, too. What else am I forgetting?

It's hard to remember all these things when someone you care about is suffering such intense pain and everyone's sleep has been disrupted; so having thoughts, lists, and links here will help.

 
Casie Becker
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My family's go to remedy for fast relief of cramping muscles is pickle juice. And can he soak in an epsom salt bath?
 
Penny Dumelie
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Ginger root is a powerful anti-inflammatory, among other things. There are capsules for people that don't like the taste. If you don't mind it, try it as a tea.

Hope he's better soon.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Paul loves pickle juice! I'm on it! And ginger, check! Thanks!

Here, for the uninitiated, is a link to the allie brosh pain scale blog post, Boyfriend Doesn't Have Ebola. Probably.

And here are Allie's narrations of her pain scale:

0: Hi. I am not experiencing any pain at all. I don't know why I'm even here.

1: I am completely unsure whether I am experiencing pain or itching or maybe I just have a bad taste in my mouth.

2: I probably just need a Band Aid.

3: This is distressing. I don't want this to be happening to me at all.

4: My pain is not fucking around.

5: Why is this happening to me??

6: Ow. Okay, my pain is super legit now.

7: I see Jesus coming for me and I'm scared.

8: I am experiencing a disturbing amount of pain. I might actually be dying. Please help.

9: I am almost definitely dying.

10: I am actively being mauled by a bear.

11: Blood is going to explode out of my face at any moment.

Too Serious For Numbers: You probably have ebola. It appears that you may also be suffering from Stigmata and/or pinkeye.


 
Marianne Cicala
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Hate this for both of you. Friend & fellow suffer suggests a blend with turmeric, pepper (activates the turmeric) ginger root, coconut oil and pineapple. Light massage every few hours if possible. Comfrey is also a great anti-inflammatory if you can find some to simmer
.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
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I'm only writing because you invited me to. Ordinarily I don't like to deal with these kinds of topics, because people don't like what I have to say... So my sincerest regards to Paul and his family before I begin. Best wishes on healing.

It looks to me, based on videos of Paul, that he eats a highly inflammatory diet. That's not unusual. It's pretty much the default diet in the usa. I ate that way myself until I decided that it didn't work for me to not be able to bend over to tie my shoes. The literature on diet seems pretty clear to me that the most significant factor leading to weight gain is the amount of carbohydrates eaten. There are two primary sources of carbohydrates in the typical american diet. First is refined sugars that are added to food. The second is wheat. Not eating those two foods can go a long way towards lowering a person's inflammation and also weight. Thinner people tend to feel better and get along easier in life. It's my opinion, that many of the health problems that people face in the usa can be directly attributed to being overweight. And being overweight is most straight forwardly attributed to eating sugar and wheat. Take it for what it's worth, the opinion of a fit and trim farmer that used to be an overweight and unhealthy chemist besieged by aches and pains.

In my own life, wheat is highly inflammatory. By that I mean it causes me to bloat up. If I eat a sandwich today, I'll gain 7 pounds of water by tomorrow. If I eat wheat 3 days in a row I max out at about 15 pounds of added water weight. Additionally, I get throbbing muscle aches, and joint aches. Not from working hard, or anything like that. Just plain old achy nerves, muscles, and joints for no discernible reason other than pigging out on wheat.

In my own life, to avoid inflammation, I avoid refined sugars, refined oils other than olive and coconut, wheat, and dairy. I eat inflammatory meats from feed-lot cows. I think that I'd be better off eating grass-only beef. But we make our choices and live with the consequences. I avoid eating processed foods, or foods from a box, because they contain so many ingredients that I believe cause me to experience inflammation. If it's a whole food, and I can tell what species it is, then it's good to eat. If it's a sauce, or a bread, or a blend, or a paste, and I can't tell what species it is, then I really don't want to eat it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I suffer because of it.

When I stopped eating wheat, I didn't replace it with anything else... Instead of eating spaghetti and meat balls, I'd eat meat-balls in spaghetti sauce. Instead of eating a sandwich, I'd toss the insides onto a plate and eat it as a salad. Instead of making stews thickened with flour, I'd blend up a potato, or eat a soup instead of a stew. I stopped eating refined sugar decades ago, so I don't remember much about that.

I really enjoy fasting. A few days per week, a few weeks per year, etc. It really helps with weight control. And it helps me to not be a slave to the dinner table or to carbohydrates. I train my body to live off the stored fat. I train my mind that it's OK.

In the short term, marijuana and alcohol can be useful for soothing temporary aches and pains. I agree completely with the suggestions already given of light massage, and herbs like ginger and turmeric. I make a point of getting routine massage. I drink an anti-inflammatory infusion most every day, and add lots of anti-inflammatory herbs to my food.

People give a lot of food to me that I consider to be highly inflammatory. (That's my kind words. My inner grump calls it poison.) The food makes great compost. The microbes don't seem to mind.


 
R Scott
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I have never spent prolonged periods over a 7, but did spend about a year straight at a 5-6. Chronic pain messes with your mood.

All the herbal advice for anti inflammatory diet sounds good.

Do not resort to chemical painkillers or steroids unless a last resort, they really set back healing. But so does a week without sleeping.

Omega supplements are a sleep aid for many. Ginger and turmeric can be stimulating, so be careful using them in the evening.

What about heat/ice therapy?

Does he have a good comfortable chair or some place to rest with good support? A friend with a bad back and neck swears by his anti gravity lawn chair, brings it in the house to sleep on when he jacks up his back. He has a spot, exactly 8 1/2 feet from his woodstove, that gives just the right heat on his back while the ceiling fan keeps him from sweating. Fairly cheap answer if it works.

Get better soon, Paul!
 
Dave de Basque
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Oh dear. I've dealt with this before. Actually cervical something, never heard the word radiculopathy, but from what Wikipedia says, it sounds like the same thing. Oy. This is advice is not meant to treat or cure any disease, your mileage may differ, always consult with your doctor, etc.

Astaxanthin is a really good anti-inflammatory. Vegetarian version is a red algae in a pill and fishy version is krill oil pill. Works great for me. I second the ginger and turmeric advice too.

Arnica gel on the spot can be soothing, anti-inflammatory and muscle relaxant when the pain is not too ridiculous. Cacao is also a muscle relaxant so get him eating some dark chocolate with hopefully little or no sugar, sugar is inflammatory. Green juice works great if you've got a juicer. Try to avoid grains too and have lots of greens in general.

Try this if you need to gently stretch the cervical spine: Put a Do Not Disturb sign on the door to the room in the house that gets the least traffic and is nice and cozy. Get a 6-or-8-foot-ish piece of rope, rope of a material that won't slip like cotton. Fold a comfortable towel into a long strip, long enough to go all the way around your head and then some. This will become a sling for Paul's head. Put the ends together and tie them in a really strong, tight knot with the middle of the rope. Wrap the ends of the rope around the inside doorknob or handle in the above-mentioned room. The bottom of the towel-loop should hang about an inch off the floor. Again, a really strong knot around the door handle, it must not slip off. Put a yoga mat on the floor right by the door. He lays on the mat and puts his head in the towel-sling, with good, solid support at the base of his skull so he can pull on it. Or the door can. He uses his feet to pull away from the (closed) door to whatever position produces semi-agreeable stretching. He can stay there for hours and probably will. Put on some zen spa music. You obviously can't open the door to check on him, otherwise, kaboom!

A physical therapist will often have something like an inflatable collar at their office to stretch his neck out. That feels good. Also they'll suggest some good exercises once the crisis phase passes. Chiropractor in our case didn't do much of any good.

Hot showers every few hours. Constant massages -- can you enlist a helper?

Patience (it's hard!) and good pain killers. Do everything to get in to see a neurologist QUICKLY and make it clear this is an emergency, life is too short to spend days waiting for this. They can prescribe things others can't and can order and interpret an MRI properly. If you don't believe in abusing pain killers, now is the time to abandon those thoughts as an experiment, and you can return to them in a few weeks.

Good luck! I feel for both of you!
 
Tyler Ludens
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I'm afraid all I can offer is my empathy and best wishes for a fast recovery!
 
Matu Collins
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I'm only writing because you invited me to. Ordinarily I don't like to deal with these kinds of topics, because people don't like what I have to say... So my sincerest regards to Paul and his family before I begin. Best wishes on healing.

It looks to me, based on videos of Paul, that he eats a highly inflammatory diet. That's not unusual. It's pretty much the default diet in the usa. I ate that way myself until I decided that it didn't work for me to not be able to bend over to tie my shoes. The literature on diet seems pretty clear to me that the most significant factor leading to weight gain is the amount of carbohydrates eaten. There are two primary sources of carbohydrates in the typical american diet. First is refined sugars that are added to food. The second is wheat. Not eating those two foods can go a long way towards lowering a person's inflammation and also weight. Thinner people tend to feel better and get along easier in life. It's my opinion, that many of the health problems that people face in the usa can be directly attributed to being overweight. And being overweight is most straight forwardly attributed to eating sugar and wheat. Take it for what it's worth, the opinion of a fit and trim farmer that used to be an overweight and unhealthy chemist besieged by aches and pains.

In my own life, wheat is highly inflammatory. By that I mean it causes me to bloat up. If I eat a sandwich today, I'll gain 7 pounds of water by tomorrow. If I eat wheat 3 days in a row I max out at about 15 pounds of added water weight. Additionally, I get throbbing muscle aches, and joint aches. Not from working hard, or anything like that. Just plain old achy nerves, muscles, and joints for no discernible reason other than pigging out on wheat.

In my own life, to avoid inflammation, I avoid refined sugars, refined oils other than olive and coconut, wheat, and dairy. I eat inflammatory meats from feed-lot cows. I think that I'd be better off eating grass-only beef. But we make our choices and live with the consequences. I avoid eating processed foods, or foods from a box, because they contain so many ingredients that I believe cause me to experience inflammation. If it's a whole food, and I can tell what species it is, then it's good to eat. If it's a sauce, or a bread, or a blend, or a paste, and I can't tell what species it is, then I really don't want to eat it. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I suffer because of it.

When I stopped eating wheat, I didn't replace it with anything else... Instead of eating spaghetti and meat balls, I'd eat meat-balls in spaghetti sauce. Instead of eating a sandwich, I'd toss the insides onto a plate and eat it as a salad. Instead of making stews thickened with flour, I'd blend up a potato, or eat a soup instead of a stew. I stopped eating refined sugar decades ago, so I don't remember much about that.

I really enjoy fasting. A few days per week, a few weeks per year, etc. It really helps with weight control. And it helps me to not be a slave to the dinner table or to carbohydrates. I train my body to live off the stored fat. I train my mind that it's OK.

In the short term, marijuana and alcohol can be useful for soothing temporary aches and pains. I agree completely with the suggestions already given of light massage, and herbs like ginger and turmeric. I make a point of getting routine massage. I drink an anti-inflammatory infusion most every day, and add lots of anti-inflammatory herbs to my food.

People give a lot of food to me that I consider to be highly inflammatory. (That's my kind words. My inner grump calls it poison.) The food makes great compost. The microbes don't seem to mind.




As I understand it, Paul is gluten free and eats mostly vegetables and meat.

I'm so sorry to hear, spasms are so debilitating. I had a terrible one in my lower back not too long ago and trigger point theory/ therapy was the thing that helped the most. I was a bit surprised to find where the trigger point was for my spasm, it wasn't local to the pain. The idea, in a nutshell, is that small knots of spasm in a muscle can refer pain to a broader area or even a different location. I couldn't say where the trigger point(s) might be for Paul's current pain, but I highly recommend looking into it. Massage is really good, massage in the right places can help unspasm a spasm.

I use cramp bark if it's not too bad and naproxen sodium if it is really bad. Yes, also to the epsom salts bath. The magnesium that I take is a liquid that is easily absorbed and causes no belly trouble but it tastes horrible! It does the trick, so I take it. My kids laugh at my grimaces.

And as soon as possible, lots of time walking around The Land and less at the computer! I know he's got an empire to support, but he needs his health! Like when you go on the airplane and the flight attendants say to put on your own oxygen mask first before trying to help anyone else.

Best wishes.
 
r ranson
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Sending love and good thoughts.

We've had a major spinal issue in our household the last few years, which resulted in a quadruple laminectomy (they took 14 bones out of his neck over 4 vertebrae in his neck - apparently the vertebrae are made of many bones). Follow that up with whiplash a few days after surgery and we can honestly relate to Paul's trouble. Our problem isn't the same, but I would like to share some of the things we learned.

A BALANCE between Magnesium, Zinc and Calcium helps tremendously with the muscle and general back pain. Most people are deficient in Mag, or have too much Zinc, so taking Mag helps them. But apparently it's really the balance between the three that actually does the trick. Vitamin C also helps the body absorb these in the right way somehow... doctor said so. It might be something worth looking into.

For the member of our household with the spinal problem, the anti inflammatory diet caused a great deal more pain than his regular diet. Each body is different, so don't feel bad if a mercile diet isn't working for you. You may not be doing it wrong, like 'they' tell us. It might be your body doesn't need that diet at the moment.

Cinnamon - taken in hot water and honey at least three times a day (about 1 tsp a time - working up to that dosage over several weeks) was very good for arthritis but not so good for gut ailments like crohn's.

Replacing all beef with lamb made a major improvement in all aspects of our health, especially spinal and nerve problems.

Having a low fibre diet put a lot less stress on the rest of the body and thus less pressure on the spine.

Take from it what you can. They are just ideas to use as a starting point in research. Not actual suggestions.
 
Kate Muller
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Paul I hope you feel better soon! Neck and Back pain is awful deal with.

I haven't had any major injures to my back other than muscle spasms but I have had major problems with my knees, shoulders and ankles.
In my case ice often works better for pain relief than the narcotics and muscle relaxants from the doctor. When I was 39 I had a rotator cuff repaired and both knees replaced with a total of 5 surgeries in 19 months and ice packs were my favorite pain relief.

These are the best ice packs that I have found. They are soft and have great coverage. Soft is really important when you are in a great deal of pain. I know they are plastic but the comfort level is worth it.

http://smile.amazon.com/Chattanooga-ColPac-Therapy-Vinyl-Standard-Size/dp/B000EAPNCQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1453602137&sr=8-2&keywords=ice+pack


Physical therapy is a great option to stop the spasms and learn how to strengthen the muscles to prevent future spasms.
It is worth the time to research the best PT in your area and not just go with any random provider. I have had amazing therapists and some pretty disappointing PT over the last 30 years.
 
John Elliott
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A problem like this has twin etiologies, the muscle spasm, and the nerve that initiated the spasm of the muscle. If you take care of the first, you can buy time to take care of the second. When I get hit with muscle spasms, I reach for the calcium and quinine remedy. In my case, I chew an antacid like TUMS and try to put away a 2-liter bottle of tonic water daily until the spasms subside.

Yeah, yeah I know BLAHBLAHBLAH "the FDA doesn't recommend quinine because it can cause..."BLAHBLAHBLAH. I've read gobs of disclaimers and put-downs of my favorite old wive's remedy, but it works for me.
 
Ron Helwig
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I've had back issues all my adult life. Nothing as severe as this, but most of my work years have been in front of a computer as well.

A few years ago a friend posted some yoga stretches specifically for back issues. I broke down and tried them (always been suspicious of yoga as being too silly and definitely not Manly ) and I found a couple that worked well for me. So now I do one of them when I wake up and as I go to bed.

I lie flat on my back, raise one knee as high as I can, and swing it over to the other side as far as I can while trying to move my shoulders as little as possible, using one arm to force it. Repeat for the other leg. This usually cracks the lower back/spine (like cracking your knuckles) and releases pressure there. I find this helps my neck some as well.

The other big thing I do, which might be totally the wrong thing for Paul, is whipping my neck. I sit on the edge of the bed and whip my body to one side, stopping it quickly with my arm, cracking the neck. Repeat for the other side. Again, this is like cracking knuckles. It works well for me, realigning things. YMMV
 
Judith Browning
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...any updates? So sorry this has happened and wish you all the best health and quick healing.

The best advice from me and Steve would be to stop doing the things that make it hurt....major lifestyle changes sometimes come after excruciating pain.

My carpal tunnel problems went away after I stopped weaving all the time...Steve is making a recovery from 6 weeks on crutches and has stopped (after 40 years) and will continue to stop, carrying logs on his shoulder and felling trees, swinging axes, etc....

We know many craft people who are having different issues because of the time spent using their body like a machine....

I think we all need a variety of work and play everyday...
 
Dale Hodgins
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My friend suffers from gout and debilitating pain. He loves meat, but finds that overindulgence can bring on a bout of gout. He was in a motorcycle accident 30 years ago. Gout has given trouble mostly around the injured leg. The higher acid conditions caused by a paleo diet, would not work for my friend.

Paul has mentioned that his high iron levels cause him problems, and that he feels better after giving blood. Blood letting seems extreme, but desperate times...

A hot tub, big enough to move around and sit up in, would allow light exercise. I assume that most bath tubs would be too confined for much physio work, in Paul's case. No matter what the ailment is, many symptoms can be alleviated to some degree, by a soak in a hot tub. There's a project for your rocket builders.

 
Erica Wisner
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So sorry to hear about this.
I've had back pain/back injuries after the long computer days in winter, and a drop-injury from an old chair losing a bolt suddenly. In my case the chiropractor helped, specifically asking him for a list of stretches to try helped (they are gentler and work better than some of the stretches that I'd had recommended by sports coaches or laypeople), and getting up more often helped a lot. I have not had that problem again since getting Radar, just getting outside for a few minutes a day, on someone else's schedule, helps me break up the computer-chair marathons. I've also been switching work stations and positions more (couch, straight-backed chair, legs up, feet on the floor, etc).

With the cramps and spasms - the food advice all sounds well-informed, it's just hard to self-diagnose what you as an individual might be lacking.
Don't forget the hydration aspect of cramping (and of recovery from massage or any kind of body-altering therapies, like a chiropractic adjustment). Coconut water is a good base, and you can add other juices or minerals as you feel they're helpful. I also like hot herbal tea for this kind of thing, especially mint (seems to help get things flowing), and you can bring the mug around and use it as a mini-heating pad on a sore spot too.

In my case, as I don't use sugar, sometimes when I indulge in artificial sweeteners I get the impression they are contributing to these sorts of problems instead of helping (not sure exactly how they interact with the body chemistry, but too much and I start to be able to guess). this includes stevia, much as I've been enjoying the stevia-sweetened treats you introduced me to (zevia is the first root beer I've kept in the house for a long time, and I've even eaten most of that bittersweet chocolate you gave us).

I would be tempted to lay in some good fruit juices and keep a stash of canned or bottled juice with the snack supplies. Cutting fruit juice with sparkling water, or one of the mineral-fortified options (club soda has sodium salt, tonic water has a few interesting things), will increase hydration while reducing the excess calories from drinking juice instead of water.

I also have watched more severe back problems with Ernie, and with my uncle (also named Paul) who injured his spine in a motorcycle accident. Spines are under a lot of strain and big guys have it worse. In Ernie's case, he has to be careful of movement and mobility, and being able to walk on both legs help a lot. He probably walks a half-mile per day down to his dad's house and back, and now that he's got his brace it is helping his back straighten again. A walking routine helps a lot - anything to get a few extra steps into the day can make a difference.

In my uncle's case, there have been several operations to repair his broken back and then relieve nerve pinching. Steel rods have been inserted and removed to stabilize certain vertebrae. I sincerely hope you never need the benefit of my uncle's experience. but I will ask him about nerve-induced spasms and see if they have found things that help.

It seems obvious that losing some weight would relieve the strain a lot. And it seems obvious that if Paul wanted to lose some weight, he would be doing that already. Paul's normal diet mostly seems based on keeping his brain smart and happy, and his body is just along for the ride.

If weight reduction becomes a serious goal, there is some very bad diet advice out there to avoid.
For myself, I find doing more is almost always more effective, and more satisfying, than eating less.
There are some good scientific notes about the pitfalls of dieting in the book "Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much," which generally looks at the mental effects of perceived scarcity (never enough time, money worries, etc). Paul might find this book interesting, in general. I find its insights are a good filter to use when considering health or weight-reduction strategies that will not interfere with keeping his brain smart and happy.

The other note I might offer, also based on some scientific studies of diet and exercise, is this: There's a difference between urgent interventions and transitions, and the kind of work it takes to voluntarily change your habits in any lasting way. If you need to change habits and create a new "normal," allow about 6 weeks to practice the new habits before judging whether they are likely to work for you. The first few weeks of any change are almost always the hardest, where you're struggling and relying on conscious discipline. But by about 40 days in, you are starting to be able to run the new game on autopilot sometimes, and feel what it might be like if this were your new "normal."

Of course, if something is obviously dangerous or counter-productive, you can stop earlier. But don't stop early just because it is "hard" or "a pain in the ass," those aspects usually do ease up, in a surprisingly predictable amount of time.

Wishing you immediate relief and success with long-term prevention.

Love,
Erica
 
leila hamaya
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"child's pose" might help some, this is sort of like yoga's version of the fetal position, only starting from your knees.



https://edgeofthemat.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/on-the-mat-childs-pose-balasana/

actually any version of the fetal position is one of the most comfortable, natural positions, it basically lets all the muscles relax because they are all at rest, rather than tensing to hold something..which is why its such a natural and easy position for humans.

this one is good too --->
 
S Bengi
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Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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As others have said:
Breathing: breath with your belly and not your chest, completely fill your lungs, mindful breathing, etc, etc
Water: Aim for a water intake of 2 gallon/day
Sleep: To bed before 10pm, up no earlier than 5am and a nap from 2-3:30
Food: Cut out GMO food, sugar, alcohol, the entire grain family esp wheat&corn, increase calories exerted without an increase intake of calories
Mental Stress: Mediation, cut back on human interaction, work worries, take some herbal or pharma
Enviromental Stress: Go to Florida or Phoenix for the winter it works for millions so there must be some truth to it.
Musculoskeletal: Yoga, Massages, Stretches, Chiropractic, Valium
 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22179
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Lots of pain. Getting worse. Saw nd. Massage therapist. Acupuncture.

Too much pain to make decisions for myself. Relying entirely on jocelyn.

My arm is 8n excruciating pain. But I am told there is nothing wrong with my arm. It is a pinched nerve at my spine.

It could be a weeks or months until I can be back. I worry about you all and the glorious awesomeness in my head losing momentum.

I made several foundations for moving forward. Spiffy. Reviews. Pep1. Many, many things. I hope they move forward even while I am offline.

I get moved back to missoula tomorrow. That will be some industrial strength suffering. I hope I will get some relief soon. Please keep giving Jocelyn ideas. She is trying lots of the things that you are suggesting. Thanks for your warm thoughts. It's a big help
 
Samantha Lewis
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I love you both so much!

Turmeric mixed with black pepper for reducing inflammation.

Pineapple for reducing inflammation.


Homeopathic:

Arnica for pain.
Hypercum Perforatum for nerve pain.

Magnesium as a muscle relaxant.

Warm Castor oil compress for healing and pain relief.
 
Steve Oh
Posts: 44
Location: SW Ohio, 6b, heavy clay prone to hardpan
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I always hesitate to give advice like this. It's impossible to know all of the factors involved. I am not a doctor, obviously you should consult your doctor before taking any medication.
Unfortunately the most prescribed pain meds (narcotics often combined with acetaminophen) don't treat the problem at all, only the symptom. Inflammation is the enemy.

The intense sharp stabbing pains, and shooting burning sensations can be extreme. Irritated nerves cause the shooting burning, the sharp stabbing is usually from muscle spasms.

I too suffer from the same condition, caused by a serious injury, over thirty years ago. My right shoulder was run over by a car, tearing ligaments and damaging nerves. The rest healed, but the nerves flare up and can cause excruciating pain over my shoulder blade and down my arm. I learned to use ice on the nerve (spine) to the reduce the swelling and heat on the muscles to calm the spasms. If it is really a bad episode, I take a steady dose (continue normal dosage for several days) of NSAIDs for the anti-inflammatory effects and a shot of whiskey. Advil works best for me (I usually four capsules/total of 800mg every four hours, a prescription dosage). I know this isn't an herbal remedy, but this level of pain sometimes requires more. Hopefully there are some NSAIDs you are able to take. Again, this is to reduce the inflammation, and let the nerve heal, not only for pain relief. Tylenol/acetaminophen isn't effective for this, it can reduce pain but does nothing for the swelling, and we are more concerned about the inflammation. Opioids/narcotics are great for pain, but have little anti inflammatory effects.

You need to get the inflammation under control, and don't let it cause additional damage and irritation.. Ice and NSAIDs will help with that. Irritation and inflammation are the root cause of the problems, however much of my pain is from muscle spasms, so I apply heat to those areas (heating pad or hot water bottle) to calm the muscles. This really works well. You should NOT apply heat to the inflamed nerve root, heat will likely cause additional inflammation.

Cliff notes:
Cold for swelling and inflammation. (ice packs are great, no need for anything fancy)
Heat for muscle pain (this is for spasms, not for an injury) (hot water bottle/heating pad)
NSAIDs every four hours until the irritation/inflammation subsides.
If you drink alcohol, go ahead and have a drink or two. Alcohol has anti inflammatory effects also. Do not drink if you are taking narcotics or tylenol.
Minimize movement to avoid additional irritation. If you find a stretch that feels good, that's fine but be gentle and don't risk further irritation. The goal is to reduce that nerve irritation and sometimes excessive stretching can make it worse.

Don't wait. Inflammation can be damaging. If nothing is working, unfortunately you will NEED to see a doctor, or you risk continued damage.

This has really helped me deal with nerve pain, we are all different, and I can't promise it will resolve your pain, but it's worth a shot.
Best wishes for you to get well soon.


 
Rhys Firth
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http://www.kiwitub.com/home.htm

Get some serfs from the plantations on reverse engineering one of these tubs to soak in.

 
Kerry Rodgers
Posts: 114
Location: North Texas, Dallas area suburbs, US zone 8
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Oh wow! I hope you will get some relief soon, Paul.

When I'm trying to get my neck to calm down after too much computer, the best way to get the perfect position is my buckwheat pillow. Maybe you are already using one, since I think there is a whole bw bed in the tipi. When I've had low back pain, I slept in a recliner chair.

Don't repeat my mistake: do not stretch a spasming muscle, ignoring the increased pain because some expert said. First the spasm has to stop, then just light range of motion work at first.

One other insidious neck irritant I struggle with: now that I have a variety of old age glasses, I catch myself holding my head at funny angles to see the computer. It is so easy to ignore the increasing pain until a big spasm comes!

I'll be hoping and watching this thread for improvement! And hang in there Jocelyn!

 
Tam Deal
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I have had this kind of pain, and am having a mild version at the moment. About 2 years ago in the summer, I slept badly along with my bad posture and other problems and had extreme neck pain that made it impossible for me to sleep or eat for at least a week. I did not gain any traction on this problem with normal approaches. I visited a chiropractor, which I normally do not. I was too strong for him to adjust my neck (not something I was feeling all that happy about anyway). He did solve my problem though, by recommending ice and robaxacet.

I had it on good authority that one never iced a spine, that one heated it, and that this would relax away the problem. But for those of us of a certain age with spines a good deal "older" still, we are not having merely a muscle spasm, we have an inflamation in the joints, and my Chiro told me that I needed to ice the area, and robax it (get the correct pain killer version for any other problems you may have, and be sure it is safe with any other drugs you are taking). Incredibly this solved my problem very quickly and it has not returned, with the exception of the fact that I get occasional twinges as I currently have from sleeping on a bad pillow. It isn't even really painful for almost anything I do, except draw a bow, which is not a happy circumstance, but I am not in the pain that I was in a few years back.

Here are four things I do with my neck to reduce pain when I have problems:

1) I place the hand of the side that hurts behind my back as though trying to scratch my shoulder blade with my thumb. The back of my hand is touching my back. In this chicken wing position I approach a post or door frame and move by elbow to the rear, as much as is comfortable and then a bit. You can't get the effect by just pulling the "wing" back, you need to press it back, either as described or with the help of another person. This is a remarkably effective stretch.

2) I have one of those inflatible collars that goes around the neck and supports the head, or pumps it up putting the neck in traction. Fat, or large necked people may not easily fit these devices, so you may need to extend their reach with some two sided velcro. If using them like that be sure there is someone around so you can have the brace removed should you unintentionally cut off circulation. I have put one of these on and pumped it up and had the pain I was suffering just disappear, from mild traction. Thing I might have to repeat the exercise many times, but in fact the one time worked. I did this for my current neck problem and it did not work so it is not 100%. I also get this thing where when I try something and it doesn't work and put it away, keeping it in reserve in the hope it will do it's magic again, when what I am really afraid of is having it not work. Even if it doesn't cure you, the neck support can allow some relief.

3) I do a stretch where I rotate my chin to the left or right as far as I can, then I place a hand on my chin and gently rotate it further still. This is often very helpful, with my current problem it is not helping however. Or at least it hurt in a way I did not think was appropriate though maybe it does feel better.

4) I do a stretch where I place a very solid pillow to the non-pain side of the head, then with that same side's arm I pull the head to the side. The idea is to brace the non-pain side and stretch the pain side. Sometimes I use my non-pain hand and holding it like a hitch hikers thumb up. I rotate it thumbs down so my thum is on something solid at the base of the neck and the little finger in my fist is wedged under teh skull bump unde the ear. Then I use something to bend my head to the non pain side.

All of these stretches are done very gently, though with the intention of getting the greatest motion in the articulation possible. If you hold a gentle stretch while taking deep breaths, your degree of motion usually increases. All these stretches work pretty well for me, and I am only doing them a few times when necessary. Not working out in them. Though that might be good.

If the diagnosis you have suggests inflammation in the joints of the neck, then physician guided, I would try the ice and the robax as being possible solutions. The pain can go away, and it probably will. There is no ten point scale, pain can always get worse. But it usually gets better. My dad had a miserable bout of this stuff and it eventually went away. If possible stay positive as part of the pain, a big part, is the uncertainty that the pain will ever end.

As far as posture and computer problems, follow the usual advice that the monitor should be at eye level = mid screen, and the hands should be at a shoulders relaxed elbows 90 degrees position. As my heart doctor says, sitting is the new smoking. Consider a desk that allows you to stand and sit some of the time (height adjustable elements). Gougeon Bros, epoxy mavens, had an early article on just such a desk, but I can't use them due to a slew of other ortho injuries.

Mobile devices and laptops, etc... are not helping.
 
Lorenzo Costa
steward
Posts: 800
Location: Italy, Siena, Gaiole in Chianti zone 9
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All my love to Paul and Jocelyn! hope you find a solution, I can't give big suggestions, sorry. All I can write is I'll help on my side make things work here at permies for your return!

I hug Jocelyn, Paul probably would shout in pain, sorry I joke when I feel worries...
 
Fabrizia Annunziata
Posts: 33
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So sorry to hear you are suffering from this Paul.

One thing I would do if it was me, is get a session with a REALLY GOOD cranial sacral therapist. Make sure whoever it is has excellent recommendations from satisfied clients. Cranial sacral therapy has really helped me in the past and I bet it would be helpful for you too. No guarantees obviously.

 
paul wheaton
master steward
Posts: 22179
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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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.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Posts: 9895
Location: Portugal
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paul wheaton wrote: I hope come back and find that you guys had lots of fun and save the world while I was gone.

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.


We're working on it!!

Now, ahem, takes a deep breath - get off the computer!!
 
Lorenzo Costa
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Posts: 800
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It's all being handled by the awesome Mother tree and Smiley one and Devaka, plus all the saplings and seedlings in staff and the awesome permies, Get well and off the computer!
 
Dave Green
Posts: 32
Location: London, United Kingdom
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get well soon mate

i'm tall and get back issues but nothing like what you have. I do the child pose stretch posted above as well as the bottom one below



although im no doctor so might be wrong for your specific problem
 
Devaka Cooray
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paul wheaton wrote:I really very much want all the stuff to move forward.

I'm sure you are also thinking about improvements to the forum software. And what I can tell you is we all keep moving them forward.

Get well soon!
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1166
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Standard disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with or make any money from the following advice. I am simply an ecstatic patient.

Get on a plane, train, or automobile and see Dr McNally in Tomah WI. He is a NUCCA chiro that has people come from all over the world to see him. You could not have found a bigger skeptic of this practice in the world, and I am still absolutely amazed that it worked, but Dr McNally fixed pain that I have had for more than 30 years. I couldn't turn my head enough to look when backing up a car, my neck ratcheted when I would turn my head, I had weird electric nerve shooting pains from my lower neck across to my left shoulder, and on and on. I can't count the number of people that have gotten relief from chronic pain that I personally know, many of them since childhood. I have been in a number of pretty bad motorcycle accidents and have many old injuries, and my results have truly been life-changing. I can't recommend Dr McNally enough.
 
Betty Lamb
Posts: 62
Location: Vancouver Island, Zone??
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I happened to find a tincture that is good for pain, especially for nerves, it's teasle root. I found this mysterious plant all over the place and with the help of permies, identified it. Then obsessively looked it up, dug it up, cut it up and made medicine out of it (doesn't everybody?). It might be something that can help with the pain. For me though, it's the nightshades, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, those purple disgusting things that people eat the name just escapes me at the moment. EGGPLANT that's what it is, can't eat any of that stuff or my bones and joints start to hurt. The thing about nightshades is they cause inflammation which can affect your nerves as well. When I eliminated them, my acne cleared up completely (that's just one of the signs that one can't tolerate that plant group) and the pain went away. Also another tincture that is good to for reducing inflammation is tumeric. My brother is in a lot of pain from gout and tumeric helps to ease the pain. Teasle is more specific to nerves and tumeric is for inflammation.

I hope you're feeling better soon.
 
A Walton
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There are some pretty long posts in this thread that argue various fine points of diet. IMO this situation is pretty simple. Paul needs to lose some weight.
 
r ranson
master steward
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Location: Left Coast Canada
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Thanks for the reminder Betty.

Teasel Tea (you chop up the dry roots, boil it for at least 3 minutes) I was taking for something else, helped my family member with the damaged spine and nerves.

Start with a week dosage, and work up over several weeks. If Paul has an infection of any kind, the teasel might cause a Herx reaction.

I know a good book I can recommend privately that talks about using teasel. The book has some wild ideas, so I don't like to recommend it unless I'm confident the other person is capable of critical thinking.
 
A Walton
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
In the short term, marijuana and alcohol can be useful for soothing temporary aches and pains.


Ugh no! marijuana maybe but alcohol promotes inflammation.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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A Walton wrote:
Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
In the short term, marijuana and alcohol can be useful for soothing temporary aches and pains.


Ugh no! marijuana maybe but alcohol promotes inflammation.


I think, from many previous discussions, that Paul would not be very interested in either.
 
Chris Badgett
pollinator
Posts: 289
Location: Whitefish, Montana
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To Paul and all those who see are suffering from pain like this from the sacrum to the neck.

I have experienced similar pain and found relief in the most unlikely places.

I would encourage you to have an open mind and check out a condition call TMS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tension_myositis_syndrome



Feel better soon!
 
Roses are red. Violets are blue. Some poems rhyme. But this is a tiny ad:

The permaculture playing cards make great stocking stuffers:
http://richsoil.com/cards


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