This is my first post here. I just wanted to share some of my experiences.
I found that I had a herniated L4-L5 a few years ago and some degeneration in the adjacent discs. I'm female, mid 40s. The resultant pain made for some major life changes.
The surgery that the doctors were willing to do (Disc replacement) was not covered my my insurance, and so I have been left up to my devices to cope with the chronic pain.
One of the biggest problems was sleeping. Without a good night's rest, coping with my new forever-pain was impossible. I tried any number of arrangements of the floor, pillows, mattresses. What finally worked was a huge Brazillian style hammock. I sleep diagonally covered with down blankets (also one underneath the hammock. I sleep like a baby with no meds aside from anti inflammatories. I strongly recommend giving this a try if you have extension issues like me. It takes a while to get the hammock adjusted properly and learn to sleep in it correctly (diagonally), But I have gotten 2 years of solid sleep in mine regardless of the state of my back.
The thing that I missed the most with my bad back was gardening. The bending and stooping was really a problem. I ran into a partial solution that really gives the green part of my soul a chance to breathe. There is this primitive agriculture technique called seed balls, where you wrap the seeds in clay and compost- they can just be dropped on the ground, no need to bend over at all. Basically, you plant the seed standing up at your gardening bench, and then can throw it in your garden. You can make them yourself or just buy them on line a couple places :
I also found it well worth my while to hang out with other people with back pain. For me, that meant making friends with a more senior population. To do this, I joined the community band, where half my section is 60+ years old and most have back problems.We mention our aches and pains upon greeting, but only briefly. Mostly it is a chance to see others doing cool thing in spite of their bad backs, and gives me a long-term sense of perspective and hope. I don't really feel disabled, any more; I just have a bad back.
I hope this helps someone! I know I felt very helpless when my back first went out. Now three years out with no surgery, I am okay. Still in pain, but okay with it.
[Edit]I should mention that the doctors gave me all kinds of narcotic pain killers and flexeril. I hated the narcotics and won't take them. They make me dizzy. And the Flexeril really helps with spasms, but with my hammock and learning how to live with my back, I rarely need to take it. I just keep some on hand in case. I do take Maximum dosage of Aleve every day.
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Post Edited by Liz (Moderator)