Mike Wong

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since Mar 09, 2013
Southwest UK, Maritime Temperate climate, Zone 9, AHS Heat Zone 1
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Recent posts by Mike Wong

I use rotted and chipped bramble (wild blackberry) stems. They grow abundantly and when used as cover are much lighter than wood chip. So far so good - been using them for a couple of years now.
3 years ago
Glad to be of some help. You guys have given me plenty of inspiration over the last few years
Hope the stress situation gets better. Sending lots of healing thoughts.
Mike.
3 years ago
Hey Jocelyn.
Thanks for keeping us all updated with Paul's condition. Vertebral disc prolapses are very common, and in the neck it is usually the lower ones that experience this, which is unsurprising considering how most people are head forward in front of screens these days. Fortunately, they are usually self-limiting (resolve themselves) if not too severe, but often reoccur because the root causes are not dealt with. However awful it seems at the moment, it is still early days and this is when it is at its worst.
By the way, the disc does not need to resorb for symptoms to resolve - conservative treatment can produce significant reduction in symptoms without any changes in MRI. There are also many people out there who have a serious looking bulge (on MRI) who have never had any symptoms at all, while some with excruciating pain may have a very minor bulge or even none at all! Severe loss of sensation or arm weakness are better indicators of severity, and is usually what surgeons will use to decide whether to perform surgery or not. As Marilyn said, surgery often leads to further surgery down the road, but obviously it is sometimes necessary (but not as often as the surgeons make out!)
You've already had plenty of advice from the lovely folks here, so the only thing I would add is to keep Paul's head and neck well supported and as comfortable as possible. What I said previously about a reduction in arm symptoms being a good indicator of improvement still stands, so any position that achieves this is good. This position will change over time though, so be aware of this.
Hope things start to get better ASAP. Stress is one of those things that seem to amplify the problem, so have a relaxing recovery
Mike.
3 years ago
Damn. I wish I'd seen this thread sooner. I'm a physical therapist so would like to humbly chime in with my advice.
Regarding the advice that has already been given, I can't comment on the dietary stuff, but regarding physical exercises - DON'T CRACK YOUR NECK!
The neck stretcher might be a good idea, but make sure you do it gently and don't worsen symptoms while doing so. A very good exercise is neck retraction. Here's a video of it:

If doing it when upright is too painful or worsens things, then try doing it lying on your back, with pillow supporting your head and neck (NOT under shoulders), with the head resting in a neutral position (ie. facing the ceiling, in line with trunk, not turned or tilted). You know it is working if the symptoms move away from your arm and back towards the neck. Sometimes the neck pain worsens when you do this, but centralisation (where the symptoms move away from the extremities) is seen to be indicative of lessening of neural irritation.
As for surgery, I'm afraid the doctor is wrong about surgery being very successful. Spinal surgery of any kind is very risky and has maybe a 50% success rate (I don't have a reference for that but it is roughly true). Anyway, a radiculopathy is a self-limiting problem provided the right management plan is followed.
This kind of problem is usually caused or triggered by poor posture and heavy labour. The head forward posture causes increased compression of the lower cervical vertebral discs, and over a long-term period can cause disc prolapse and/or irritation of the neural tissue. Working on stretching out your front (chest and shoulders back) and strengthening your back and core (yoga or pilates) would be helpful in remedying this. Losing some weight would also help, but I'm sure you'll be on top of that with all the advice you've been given already!
Anyway, hope that helps and I wish you a speedy recovery.
Mike
3 years ago
No problem. It's a bit alarming when holes start appearing in your hugel. Best thing to do is to fill as you're stacking the wood. That way there aren't so many gaps.
3 years ago
Yeah, I've made loads of hugel beds in Bristol. They work brilliantly, but make sure you use enough soil, as they are prone to collapsing a bit over time.
3 years ago
Second Topher on seeding directly. That's what hugelkultur is designed for. The seed balls were used by Fukuoka to delay sprouting.
4 years ago
Hey CJ.
Yeah - that's the one. I wrote them an e-mail too and got a really cryptic reply and a request for a donation. I did offer them money if they'd repost the episode, but got an even more cryptic one about how the video was shot years ago and how a lot had changed since then. All the same, I have offered a donation anyway, but find the situation rather strange!
4 years ago
I don't suppose anyone has a copy of Episode 4 of the Bill Mollison lecture series? The one on the website doesn't seem to be working, although the other ones are.
4 years ago
You could do worse than putting a few layers of activated biochar in the sheet mulch too