Last week I put my back out and I self diagnosed (doctor later agreed) Sciatica. I’d had it many years ago and so the pain in the lower back, on one side predominantly emenating through the posterior and down the leg were familiar. However there has been definite improvement and as everything these days I saw a learning opportunity and seized it. I now have more future coping mechanisms in the bag.
These things helped:
2. Stick on heat packs so I can move about and still get the relief of that soothing warmth without strapping pink water bottle to my back.
3. Stretches recommended for sciatica to help free up the nerve from the inflammation. These include simply maintaining good posture even though it hurts to get there once I have my spine straight and I do the imaginary cord through the top of the head pulling me up thing and press my shoulders down and back and curl my hips forward it does ease the discomfort. You can try some by clicking here.
4. A natural anti-inflammatory juice three times a day made with pineapple, lemon, ginger and turmeric root and cayenne pepper. Now I’m not going to say this is the nicest juice in the world but it’s not doing any harm. Here’s a fab list of anti inflammatory juices to try. What’s interesting is that while I was researching these to avoid taking prescription or over the counter drugs I read how many physical ailments have inflammation of some cells or other at their root and how these juices can help in general health and well being in terms of reducing the chances of inflammations occurring ever. Worth a try to include one every other day or so in the diet perhaps.
5. A cayenne pepper topical pain relief poltice. Which actually does seem to work. Try it here. I was amazed by the many and varied uses of Cayenne pepper. The mind boggles and I will be sure to try out some more however pouring the stuff into my socks is not happening anytime soon.
6. Resting up in comfortable well postured positions.
7. Water…not sure why but water makes everything feel better. You just know you’re doing something good when you put water into your body.
All of this and a manipulation session with a healer guy seem to be doing the trick. I can walk at least although I’m trying not to as any kind of stress or pressure seems to quickly start to undo the progress. But there is definite improvement in the length of time I can spend upright before I feel twinges so I’m listening to my body and letting it have a good rest.
I’ve been managing to work with the use of a lap table and delivered some training although I had to do that seated but it wasn’t such a big deal in fact it was more informal as I had trainees gather around and I felt that made it more effective. So I’ll be sitting more often.
I’ve been extremely limited in terms of exercise which is devastating but what I can do I do. For instance I’ve found it ok to just use a bungee band to exercise arms, chest and shoulders without any strain on my lower back. I’ve done some yoga which is not usually my thing but the well postured positions have helped and the overall sense of relaxation has really been good for me as well as the stretching.
I just don’t want to be a seized up atrophied lump at the end of this period of incapacity so I’m doing very little but it’s something.
I’ve also been hugely strict with my calorie intake. I’m not normally a calorie watcher but to compensate for the lack of movement I’ve had to become one for now. Hopefully that will keep me on a level and help me not gain weight. I’m on around 1200 -1400 calories a day and am sticking to three meals a day.
At first I sulked about this as I do eat large amounts and hate measuring and counting calories, it’s never been my bag. However, I have long since said that one day I will have to get to grips with portion control and volume of food consumed to shift the last weight and to develop a maintenance programme for life. The amount of food I eat has definitely decreased and of course the quality of it has improved in terms of it being nutritious and wholesome, healing and therapeutic. I found that over time I just wanted to eat less and less and found myself leaving food on my plate which I’d never done and so I subsequently reduced portions to avoid waste but still I consume more calories than would see my weight loss as sustainable in the long term and so this has been a good experience for me and is getting me into the calorie counting zone a little ahead of schedule. I’m becoming more aware and that’s going to help in the long run.
My heart goes out to people who are trying to lose weight and get in shape who suffer painful conditions or who have a permanent disability which brings about a lack of or reduced mobility. Exercise for me is not primarily about calorie consumption and weight loss it is about the feel good factor it brings and how that motivates, energises and enables me to carry on with all of my lifestyle changes. It must be so tough to have to do this without that physical and mental daily boost.
I believe though that ultimately it’s the changes we make to what we take into our bodies in terms of reduced fat and calories which have the biggest impact on our weight loss and while it must be more difficult to do without the exercise high it’s still possible for people who have mobility or pain issues to lose weight.
This is only my opinion based on my own experiences over the years, but the focus has to be on food more and ways to move body parts have to be identified and maximised rather than imagining that exercise is impossible. We see disabled athletes who prove that theory wrong more and more. While we don’t need to be olympic standard we can find something, most of us, that will help to shift some pounds but more importantly create a mental sense of well being.
Exercise is as I always say just moving and moving any part of your body more than you used to will use more calories and putting some resistance in with that will increase its benefit. Here are some tips I found while doing my research, although many of these are not doable for me right now but there is good advice about exercising through pain or disability. Obviously nobody wants to injure themselves further so always check with a doctor before doing anything drastic and don’t do anything which causes you more pain or discomfort or which puts you at risk of injury.
You could try resistance bands, light weights and such if you are able. Don’t rule out yoga or imagined resistance, muscle isolation and control techniques like tai chi either. They help with mental focus and relaxation for some feel good and they do utilise calories and increase flexibility and improve posture. If you really can’t do any exercise then diet has to be your king and you will lose weight if you reduce your calorie intake. The more you reduce it the faster that weight loss will come but be sure to do it healthily and make sure your body gets all of the nutrients it needs. Starvation is not healthy nor sustainable and muscle wasting if it can be avoided should be avoided.
This kind of advice regarding simple chair based or low level work outs is also pertinent for the very obese who may be bed or couch bound. Believe me it is amazing how fast we regain fitness and strength when we begin to move more. It’s like the body is relieved to find itself being used again and it rejoices and really helps us out. I started off eight months ago literally stepping from one foot to the other to my favourite music and chair dancing…read flailing my arms around. Within weeks I was taking long walks and following fitness class tutorials on you tube and within a few months I was swimming and biking and before my mishap I was running and in a cross fit programme. It really is amazing how fast our bodies forgive us our sins.
It hurts oh boy does it hurt that first time you push your fat body to a new extreme but the burn is good and it pushes you on to the next achievement.
I can’t wait to get back into full swing but I have to be patient and let my body heal or else I could do lasting damage and that isn’t going to help anyone. Again key message is to listen to your body.
There are lessons to be learned on every step of this journey and I’ve learned a few from this which will help me in the future. I’ve learned to be grateful for my health and fitness, for my mobility and I’ve learned ways of coping with pain using natural remedies and my own body and mind and I’ve learned to relax more and most importantly to respect my fitter body more than I did my fatter one.