Herniated Disc Tips And How I Healed My Back

Jul 16, 2011 by

Herniated Disc Treatment

 

About a year and a half ago I severely injured my back. It was the most intense physical pain I ever had to deal with in my life. The weird thing about it was that I could walk ( through some pain ), but I couldn’t sit or lie down without pain going from my back all the way down my leg.
What I had was a herniated disc in my lower back, which I was told will require surgery to fix. Since I don’t believe in traditional medicine, surgery wasn’t an option. I personally prefer Chinese Medicine such as acupuncture and homeopathy, because the principles of this type of medicine makes the most sense to me.
I am obviously not a doctor, and the methods that I am about to share with you worked for me, but it might not work for everyone.
What I do know is, our bodies are very smart. When there is an illness present in our body, it immediately recognizes it and begins to the healing process. If you try to trick your body by treating the symptoms and not the root of the problem, the body looses the ability to heal it self.

 

Here is the step by step guide of how I healed my back:

1. I went to the acupuncturist ( you can go about once a month, more if you can ).  Acupuncture works  with nerves and harmony in your body. When you go to the acupuncturist be prepared to answer a lot of questions, very personal questions. I found this cool web site about Chinese Medicine and acupuncture ( it’s free ), check it out, this way you can get familiar with how they make a diagnosis and why it works.  You can also have a free Online Diagnosis, which is pretty cool ( I am not promoting that website, and I am not affiliated with them in any way, I just found it very interesting and helpful )

2. Exercises for the disc you can do at home

  • a. March in place ( not too fast ) with your knees high for about 5 minutes a day. Your hands should be by your sides. This really helps to align the spine and relieve the pain in your back.
  • b. Using a balance ball appropriate for your height ( your knees should be at 90 degrees angle while sitting on a ball ), and perform mini bounces on the ball, also for 5 minutes, with your hands by your sides as well. This helps with pumping the blood to your discs, and also to relieve the pressure.
  • c. Laying on your stomach, place your hands by your chest and lift your back as high as you can. Do 10 reps of that lift several times a day. I found this exercise to be in the top 3 for healing the disc. Every time I did it, it helped me with the pain.  The exercise looks like this:

 

Herniated Disc Treatment

 

Here is also a very helpful pain relieving position, if you can lay like this for as long as you can, this will help you to relieve the pain even further and align your spine. Like this:

 

Herniated Disc Treatment

 

Stretching

Back stretches should be done everyday regardless if you have problems with your back or not. Our spine takes a huge toll while we stand or sit.  Stretching your back not only will release the pain and tension, but it will also prevent problems in the future. It is the best thing you can do for your back. The stretches should be performed in the morning, mid day and evening.

Knee-to-chest stretches  specifically stretch the muscles of the low and mid back and glutes.  The key to knee-to-chest stretching is to relax before beginning to pull.  Gently clasp your hands just below your knees, and pull with your arms, relaxing your low back, hold for 10 – 15 seconds and release.

 

Sleeping in the right position

If you have a foam roller you can use it underneath your back while you are sleeping, this will help to keep your spine in right position while you sleep. If you don’t have a foam roller, you can roll a towel, this works just fine. I actually still sleep like that every day. Don’ t sleep on your sides, this really deviates the spine.

 

Strengthen your abdominal muscles

The abdominal muscles provide approximately fifty percent of the support for the back. It is very important to keep these muscles strong. Every time you can find a couple of minutes a day ( let’s set on a commercial break while watching TV ), you can do few abs strengthening exercises. I recommend Myostatic Crunch, or anything similar to this exercise. Just as long as you keep using your abs. Tighten your abs while walking and sitting as much as you can, it becomes a habit after a while. This will really help you keep your back strong.

 

Your mind is everything

Remember that our body and mind is connected. The mind is a very powerful tool, once the illness effects the mind, the body will follow. So it’s very important to free your self from the root of your mind. It’s not always easy for us to do because the physical illness and pain makes it very real. I remember laying down on the floor and feeling so much pain, but I kept telling my self ” My body will heal “. It was an ongoing struggle with my mind.
Sometimes I did give inn to the pain, and I realized the more I gave inn, the longer it lived inside of me.

It’s been about 4 or 5 month’s since I recovered, sometimes I still can’t believe that I did, because I was told it’s impossible to recover unless I had the surgery. But here I am, healthy and loving fit ;).

 

 


  • Nattaya_55

    Hi there
    i have an injured disc myself its been going on for 5-6 months now.. i am very glad that i came across your blog because it gives me hope! im only 21.. im not really sure how i got this pain but possibly from over working my body with too much sport etc i started an office job during the time i injured my back so im always sitting infront of the computer. Iv been going to the chiropractor and had MRI scan and all that. my specialist thinks its something that will ‘heal in time’ but im too impatient to sit around carrying this pain. I really want to know how long did you have the pain for before you saw results? it started with a lumbar sprain for me, particularly painful on my left lower back, i seekd traditional chinese acupunture which helped but then my right lower back became painfull too and then the sciatic pain started down my right leg..i found it really painfull doing acupuncture with that pain..but does it actually help? i then went to see physio because i didnt think acupunture would help, he used some neuro-magnet which helped abit but sciatic pain still exists..and now chiro.. i really want to get back to playing sports (i had to stop playing tennis netball and soccer) my chiropractor said i would definately be able to play sports again (didnt tell me when). I hope you can help me answer my questions, my doctors dont really tell me much, i am confused and kinda lost confidence in myself..al though this blog gave me lots of tips and i am really looking forward to trying them out! :)Nat

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Hello Nattayaa,

      I am very sorry to hear about your pain. I definitely understand how painful it can be especially with the sciatic nerve pain, I had one going down my right let as well. And the doctors of course were not able to do much.
      When I went to acupuncturist, I had them give me a homeopathic shot into my back and also underneath my knee, ( that nerve is connected all the way down ).
      What helped me with the pain in the sciatic nerve is the stretching, here is the link to the video from youtube, ( this stretch is the best at helping with the pain )

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFiLb6BJtG4

      It will take at least 8 month’s to a year to heal, but if you take care of it, and do the exercises that I recommended it will heal, and you will be able to play sports again.

      I understand how frustrating it is for you, I was going crazy because I am a very active person as well.

      Since you have a sitting job, try to get up every 20 minutes or so and stretch, this will help you to recover faster. Keep me updated on how you are doing, the pain will go away with time.

  • Don

    Hi..

    Any recommendations on a large cervical herniation? I am
    finding a lot of recommendations about healing lower back herniation but not
    much about cervical. Got my MRI back and my C6/C7 is herniated. Possible cause
    is a combination of P90X and way too much golf (like 4 to 5 rounds
    week).

    I have an epidural this coming Monday followed by a lot
    of PT. Surgeons are talking about an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in
    January if things do not get better.

    I am of course trying to do anything to avoid
    that.

    Thanks,

    Don S

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Hi Don,
      You probably did get injured from too much physical activity. I never usually go to regular doctors, because they always seem to recommend things that might not always be necessary to do.
      I personally don’t know much about cervical herniation.
      But I do recommend you try a homeopathic doctor in your area, because they provide different treatment.
      You can also try a physical therapist, these days physical therapists can treat most herniated disc problems.
      Definitely look at all of your options before proceeding with any type of surgical procedures.

      • Don

        Hi,I just wanted to share what has transpired over the past year. I tried many different exercises, physical therapy, etc., but nothing worked. I lost about 50% of the strength in my right arm and grip, and my fingers went completely numb. The pain in my arm was compared to hitting your funny bone extremely hard, and that feeling was 24/7. I decided to not have the anterior cervical discectomy and fusion. Instead, I found a neurosurgeon in Beverly Hills that does minimally invasive surgery where he makes a 2mm incision and just removes the herniated material. I flew out there for surgery at the end of September 2011. I’m lucky I chose that route. The morning of the surgery he said after looking at the CT Scans that the herniated material broke off and got lodged in my main nerve going down my arm. He could not do the nano-surgery and the 2mm incision and instead had to make a larger incision to give him room to work, but the surgery was still much less invasive and successful. I was back in the hotel room that night, on a plane for home three days later, and back in PT a couple days after my return. A couple months of PT. No working out, running, or golf until a few months ago, but today I feel great. I have 100% of my strength back in my arm and hand. I am back to my normal workouts and playing golf a couple times a week. I learned two very important things from this experience: First, if something hurts and does not feel right STOP! Do not push yourself through the pain. That is most likely how I turned a herniated disc into material breaking off lodging in my nerve. Your body will tell you when something is wrong. Listen to it. Second, there are options. Pathology is unfortunately based on your zip code. Do not let them cut you open and install hardware until you have exhausted everything possibility. Lastly thank you Tatiana. Now that I am healthy your website has been invaluable to staying healthy! Don S.

        • jmsrebar

          Don, please PLEASE share with me the name of neurosurgeon in Beverly Hills you visited that does minimally invasive surgery and just removes the herniated material. email to jmstandish at gmail dot com Thank you!

  • Jolie Adelmund

    Wow Tati I am so glad I found your website.  It’s like no other site I have come across. 
    Thank you so much for this post – I am really going to start taking care of myself so as to not cause injury while working out.

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      You are so sweet Jolie :)

      I am so glad I can be helpful.  Before I had my injury I was like a non stop robot, and I am glad that I had to go through that because it really taught me to take care of my self more.  Now I am trying to teach others that as well, cause we only have one body in this life time and it’s not like we can migrate into new body when this one get’s tired.  So we have to do our best to provide our body with proper care.

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    I’m glad I can help :)

  • Unc73

    What was the total time that it took you to recover after you were out of the acute phase of your injury?

  • Amy

    Hello Tatianna,
    I too have been diagnosed with herniated disc l4,l5 and at l5,s1. I have been doing physical therapy and that has helped quite a bit but still suffer from the sciatic pain. I am unable to sit more than 5-10 mins so I can’t work (i’m a software developer ) nor am I able to do dishes as the pain gets worse during sitting too long or standing and bending too. Ive been told to continue with Physical therapy, hyrdro therapy and bed rest. I have a 2 1/2 year old toddler. I have some questions
    Where you able to do some light chores everyday during your healing time ? It gets boring if I can;t do anything.
    Did you completely heal from herniated disc?
    Can I a have a second child in the future after the healing process ?
    Please let me know what I can do. I am in pain and doing all the stretches good for herniation. While I do the stretches , i feel good, but after I am done, my pain is back again.
    Thanks

  • Robert

    Hello Tatianna,
    I do stretches every day and the other exercises you have shown me. My question is that my work place from home requires me to drive a car. It is an automatic car and i want to get better soon.Are there rules on herniated disc that forbids or directs how best to drive?

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      Hi Robert,

      You can still drive, of course if you have a sitting job, I recommend you doing stretches every few hours, stretching it will relieve the pain.

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    Hi Jess,

    I completely recovered from it, I had it for about a year and a half but now it’s completely gone.

    I recommend you do the exercises that I talked about in the post, that is what I did and it really helped me, I never had to take any pain killers, the doctors did try to give them to me but I don’t like how those things made me feel, so I just felt the pain all the time.

    I recommend you try a homeopathic doctor, these doctors will really help you to heal it.

    • Jesse

      i know this was 9 months ago but i also have a disc injury in my lower back and i do find it hard to get fully in shape again but none the less im trying and not quitting on my bodies capabilities to heal itself, but im rather curious to if you really read his post as it says he has a disc problem in his neck, which means the workouts you told him to do would do nothing but probably hurt him more if not be helpless to his needs in its process. So i do question the validity of your testament on your injury.

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    Thank you Roq,

    Yes back problems are the worst, I’ve never appreciated my body being healthy so much only after I got my back pain, now that I am healed I woke up to a whole new understanding.

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    McKenzie press up is actually very effective, I’ve done that as well. Yes, I was told by the doctors that I won’t recover from this and that it will only get worst, but here I am not only did I recover but I am able to completely comeback to high intensity training without any pain. So many things in this world is completely unexplainable by our doctors, just yesterday one of my readers shared a link with me of one woman ( and I’ve seen a lot of stories like this ) was seriously ill with cancer, her organs failed and she was clinically dead. Well, she did go into a coma, after she woke up she told an amazing story about what was happening to her while she was in this coma and she was also telling the doctors things that she couldn’t of possibly known because she wasn’t physically alive, after she woke up her cancer cleared in 4 days, and the doctors couldn’t explain it.

    • Raj

      My question is, why have I not had any improvement yet? I started doing the prone press up often everyday since September 29th. I’m 17 years old and my posterior L5-S1 bulging disc is far less severe than yours was. I don’t even have any pain anywhere else but the low back.

      You have stated in your post that about a year and a half ago you herniated a disc and that it’s been 4 or 5 months since you’ve been pain free. Did it really take you 12-13 months to recover by doing the exercises listed above?

      I don’t know if this is a hindrance to my recovery, but I workout every other day. But only because Elliot Hulse claims that it’s okay to in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLaSuDQh5kY

      Thank you for your time.

      • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

        Yes it took me about a year and a half to completely recover and I am fully recovered. You are gonna have to develop some patience. You can workout a little, but nothing explosive and you always have to do stretches as well.

  • http://www.facebook.com/wesleyfrncs Wesley Francis

    you cannot heal a disc you can only relieve the symptoms.

    • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

      I healed my disc, 2 of them actually 100% percent. I haven’t had any pain or symptoms of pain in over a year and a half. And as you can see in my videos I workout full force ever since ;),

      No surgery, did it all the natural way. Even the doctors were surprised!

      • sherice

        The info I looked up because I thought this was what was going on with my back but I think it’s just really severely pulled tight muscles from my back being out for so long and one leg being 4 cm shorter than the other.. said that only about 10% of herniated discs need surgery.. your body will absorb the fluid that has bulged out and heal itself.. and also that people can have a herniated disc and not know it because a lot of the time there is NO pain.. only pain when it compresses the sciatic nerve..

      • http://www.facebook.com/mg.kane1 Mg Kane

        I am curious did you get another MRI to support that you were healed 100% or are you basing it on a tighter core with no pain?

  • http://www.lovingfit.com Tatianna

    Hi Joe,

    You will definitely recover! Just remember, MIND OVER MATTER! My back has been recovered 100% about 2 years ago now, never had a problem since. I’ve never tried ginger compression, but for pain relief I used stretching, it always worked. Our bodies have this amazing ability to heal them selves, but it can’t do it without the mind, mind creates everything. Everytime I stumble on an obstacle in my life, I remember the pain in my back and how it’s completely gone due to me knowing that I was going to heal.

  • bill

    Hi Tatianna,

    I was diagnosed with L5/S1 disc herniation, and two more bulging discs. I am a construction worker and have been working with the pain, but it became too much. I am doing P.T. for about two months and doing core excersises. It has seems to be helping but I can not help but think I will not be able to perform my job anymore. It has really has become a mental strain on me. I try to stay positive but some days I cant. Do you have any words of advice?

  • Kat

    Hi Tatianna, I have been in traction every month for the past two years for my bulging L1-S5 disc. I have been running, spinning and using weights as per normal, but relying on anti-inflammatories, so I have managed rather well. However, I stopped using them 3 days ago as I am detoxing and I am now really feeling the pain. I want to self heal – the healthy way, but I also want to train. What training did you do when you were recovering other than what you have posted? Do your current programmes allow for such conditions? Thanks Kat

  • John

    Hi Tatianna,

    I’m a 38 year old male who has always suffered from back pain from bulging disks. About 6 months ago I started playing tennis and golf without strengthening my back firstly, and payed the price with 2 herniated disks and a couple of bulging disks also. Initially, I took med’s to deal with the pain and have since been doing physio twice a week and daily stretching at home. I have improved quite a lot, in that I no longer have sciatica and the chronic pain has been replaced with discomfort. Sitting gives me the most problems and I have to drive about 80km a day to travel to and from work. I also have a long haul flight in two weeks time which I’m dreading:((

    Anyways, my question Tatianna is,’My recovery seems ‘stuck’ at a certain point and I’ve seen little improvement now for about 6 weeks, did you have a similar experience in your recovery?’

    I’m also very weary about over-exerting myself and worsening my condition.

    Any tips for flying long-haul?

    Thanks!

  • Ken

    Hi Tatianna, Thanks for this. It gives me hope. I am 52 and I have a herniated l5s1 disc and was on prednisone that seemed to help the achyness in my leg but I still have weakness in knee and have started having skin sensitivity pain and burning sensations both on my lower leg. I was wondering if you knew anyone who had the skin sensitivity pain or burning sensations and if they will eventually go away. I am told the next thing I should try is an epidoral and if that doesn’t work the next stop is surgery which I am scared to death of. Not so much surgery but back surgery. I have done some of what you recommend already but now that I saw your site and your success I will continue to do them. Thanks

  • Jessie

    hi tatianna

    i have a curved spine and slipped disc in my lower back from having children to close together im 25 by the way with 3 children. i find it hard to get up and walk almost everyday. is there any suggestions to get instant relief? i stretch all the time but something as simple as a sneeze or stress can set me back

  • hitekmastr

    About 15 years ago I discovered a muscle relaxant that specifically targets lower lumbar when I was diagnosed with a herniated disc. My physician said I might need microsurgery but I talked to many friends and one of them said to try this. When I looked it up in the “drug bible” at the pharmacy it said it went directly to the lower lumbar to relax the muscles there. It was originally called “Tolectin” and since then the name has changed and it is now called Tolmetin – it is an ORANGE CAPSULE. Today, whenever I strain my back or start to get symptoms, I take one of these pills and typically it only takes one pill. For the past 15 years I have not had a serious problem and here is what I did: 1) I took Tolmetin to relax my lower back muscles, 2) when my muscles were relaxed using this drug, I did situps and exercises to relieve herniated disc problems, and 3) I have been careful how I lift or twist. Recently I over-exercised at a fitness center doing twisting exercises on an exercise machine, which aggravated my herniated disc and resulted in a painful strain, so I have been taking these pills to relax the region and doing lower back exercises – which is working again as it did 15 yrs. ago. I should mention that this pill should be taken with food, and may upset your stomach if you have a weak stomach. I have never had a serious stomach problem myself but my friend who originally recommended it mentioned this. I consider this a solution that definitely worked for me. Not sure it will work for you but it’s worth trying and hopefully it will help some people avoid surgery.

  • Rhodagi Yago

    Hi! I was recently diagnosed with cervical and lumbar herniations. I’m off work 6wks. I’m a nurse but I’m afraid when I get back to work I might hurt again, i might give up my job Bec of my back. Thanks for sharing the exercises

  • Laurie

    Hey Tatiana,
    I always read your blog and wish I could do our workouts. But last night Googling I found this old post. I have suffered from a herniated disc at L5-S1 since I was 19. Now 28 I still can’t find true relief. I’ve had 7 epidurals in this time and nothing. I do have a leg that is 1.7cm shorter so I guess that makes things worse but I wear a lift now. I want to know if you didn’t workout in that year and a half and if you didn’t have lift heavy things? I love to workout but I have to be careful with what I do so I wonder what you did because I can’t get rid of this.

    • http://www.lovingfit.com/ Tatianna

      Hey Laurie,

      During that year and a half when I had my herniated disc I didn’t workout at the intensity that I do now, I did do light stuff such as work on the floor and walking. I did daily stretches for my back and the exercises that I talk about in this post. With these kind of pains, or any kind of decease that our body attains we have to understand that the pain will be there as long as you believe it’s there. Once you shift your belief into recovery, your body will shift with it.

      That is how I truly healed my self, the exercises and stretches help for your brain to hold on to something, because we are analytical creatures, but the true healing is within the mind, it’s outside of our selves, something we cannot rationally explain but its’ there. I know this because I’ve witnessed this my self, I’ve know people who got rid of cancer this way at a point where they were told by doctors that they are going to die and nothing can be done.
      So, my advice to you is do everything you can to shift your mind.

      • Laurie

        Tatianna,
        I will take your advice. I’ll try to see the light at the end of this tunnel! I always watch your workouts and and say to myself “wish I could do that, but with my back no way”..I’ll keep the faith and hopefully get rid of it!:-) Thanks!