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Author Topic: Self help for a pinched nerve?  (Read 1887 times)

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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Self help for a pinched nerve?
« on: December 09, 2018, 05:38:02 PM »
SO I am just milling along (manual band mill) and all of a sudden my back starts screaming in pain. No special exertion on my part, it just happened. I could barely stand upright, let alone walk. I'll spare you the (probably very funny) details of setting the mill up for the night and cleaning up tools and getting back up to the house. Suffice to say I am in trouble and everything is a new adventure, taking a shower, getting out of a chair, pulling on socks, all those big challenges suck now.  I have a logging class next weekend that I am now worried about making (I have been waiting 8 months).
 Do any of you with thousands of years of combined experience have any suggestions as to how I can heal up quicker? This is not a routine thing with me, last time was around 1993 and gave me pain for a month and I had to go on painkillers. The time before that was around 1984. I don't like drugs, I don't trust doctors (they all tell me what I already know, then give me a huge bill and no help, just drugs), and I don't do 'alternative medicine' although one day I may find myself in a chiropractor's office, but not this week, I think. 
 Right now I am getting by with a warm fire, Advil (regularly), and beer (but it's getting low). Looking for suggestions the next level up. I could use the neighbors hot tub but the effort to get my butt there, in it, and then freeze all the way back home is more than I think I can bear right now. But I am still thinking about it even though it's 29f outside.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2018, 05:46:28 PM »
Stretches? They need to be the right ones.
Some can pick a pencil off the floor and be down for a month. :o  :(
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Offline Stephen1

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2018, 05:51:34 PM »
ICE ICE and more ICE. 
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Offline lxskllr

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2018, 05:53:21 PM »
I've had what I suspect are blown disks in my back for the last ~25 years. When it goes out, I can't do anything. It literally takes 15 minutes to get out of bed. Nothing helps but time. I can move /ok/ after a week, and I suspect I could do logging training after a month. Take it easy, and if you put your wallet in your back pocket, stop. Knock on wood, I haven't had a major back event since I stopped doing that. I still have issues, but nothing that completely knocks me out.

Offline Don P

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2018, 06:21:41 PM »
Walk around or lay down, don't sit, helps for me. Flat on my back with my legs up on a chair turning 90 degree angles at my hips and knees, my lower legs jacked up a little on pillows helps, kind of suspending the lower back a little.

 There are physical therapy you tubes, some of which I've found helpful when something lets go.
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Offline nativewolf

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2018, 06:58:39 PM »
acupuncture is amazing, several friends agree with me that it is the best treatment, always temporary but it does wonders.  Not self help of course but neat relief.  
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Offline Southside

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #6 on: December 09, 2018, 09:20:47 PM »
So I can't tell you much about many things medically related, but back issues I can speak to at length.  Lets see, broken L5, L4, blown discs up and down, PT, steroids, multiple surgeries, owned a couple of walkers, the list goes on.  

The first thing that comes to mind is you really need to know what is going on before you can do anything corrective without risking additional injury.  It could be that you simply strained a muscle and the ones surrounding it are guarding to prevent additional injury in which case alternating heat and ice, along with anti-inflammatory OTC and rest are the best thing you can do.  Most likely at your age you have some stenonis, maybe degenerative disc disease as well so the passages are more narrow, could be that the inflamed muscle is tweaking a nerve, could be a disc pushing on it.  If it's not too bad the disc will receed in time.  I would not go to a chiropractor without at least an X-ray of the area and most likely an MRI, because if it is a disc and you get to cracking and popping things it can go from bad to worse in a hurry.  

Less invasive treatments like deep medical muscle massage and e-stem really do wonders when it comes to muscle issues.  That is obviously not self help, but without knowing what's going on self-help beyond taking it easy and normal "first aid" could make things a lot worse.  

For sure I would stay away from any physical work until your GOL class because the last thing you need is to get feeling better in a couple of days and over do it, then you miss your class.  

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Offline JJ

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #7 on: December 09, 2018, 10:22:01 PM »
+2 on no wallet in back pocket.
my back pain ended years ago when I stopped carrying (and sitting on) a wallet, took way too long to figure this out.

         JJ

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #8 on: December 09, 2018, 10:29:57 PM »
This is some precise doctoring going on.  First we have a "self diagnosis" that it is a "pinched nerve" with a request for a "self help" cure.  We have no idea whether it is lower or upper back.  If it is behind a shoulder blade the "pop back into place" is quite simple.  Maybe it is a pulled/strained muscle.  Suppose it is an aggravated previous injury or possible even a ruptured or bulging disc.  ???  ???  Calling @doctorb.
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Offline doctorb

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #9 on: December 09, 2018, 11:00:05 PM »
Pinched nerve is both a catch all phrase and an specific diagnosis.  Most of the time, truly pinched nerves demonstrate more physical findings than just back spasm.  Numbness and weakness specific to the areas innervated by the nerve are helpful in diagnosis.  (Pain shooting down the posterior thigh, a numb portion of the foot.....). If you dont have any numbness or weakness, then your pain can be from a herniated disc or arthritis of the facet joints in the posterior spine.

I am going to surmise that you have debilitating low back pain and spasms.  You are already doing the right thing if you have stopped all physical work, found a comfortable position in bed or a reclining chair, use anti-inflamatories (I am not one to recommend muscle relaxer pills.  These are mostly just sedatives.). Ice and/or heat can help the symptoms. See somebody if your pain is debilitating for more than 7-10 days.
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Offline John Mc

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2018, 09:53:15 AM »
I've done that to myself on a number of occasions. It's always somethng minor that kicks it up: I'll be very careful and use good body mechanics while lifting a heavy trailer tongue to reposition it - no problem there. Then when I bend down to pick up the trailer latch pin I dropped (which weighs a couple of ounces), my back pops out, and I'm on the ground, and the process of getting back up off the ground takes me a good 5 minutes of careful grabbing on to things, positioning myself and attempting to climb back upright.

My Physical Therapist wife has done traction on me and given me stretches movements to ease things back into place. Once I'm healed up, she also gave me exercises to do to strengthen the area. They seem to work well, but I generally forget to do them once my back no longer hurts.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2018, 10:40:06 AM »
Well I am 2 days+ into this and still totally debilitated. Lots of pain. I have an appt. with a Chiro in a couple of hours, then we'll see. I don't think I can make that GOL class on Saturday. It take me 5 minutes to pull on a pair of socks, with a lot of pain. After reading the Doc's comments above I thought about it and realized it can't be a pinched nerve. I was in pain and not thinking clearly. It is either muscular (likely) or an diagnosed disc problem. All I know is that I am one hurting unit right now. Hope this chiro fella can do something for me or I am toast for a week or more. My improvement since Sunday is so tiny that i am sure this is a bad one. Thanks for all the advice offered. I am doing what I can.
Tom
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I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline John Mc

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2018, 11:19:54 AM »
Good luck with it, Old Greenhorn.

I've hesitated to detail the things I do to correct my back problems, since what has happened to you may be completely different than what happened to me. Also, I'm no medical professional, and if I were, I would not be dispensing treatment advice over the internet. There is too much chance of making things worse by not correctly understanding what is going on.

If this is something that happens to you regularly, you might ask your chiropractor or other medical professional about things you can do to help avoid problems in the future: motions to avoid, exercises to do to strengthen support for the area. We ended up buying an inversion table, which I don't use often, but has been really helpful for certain kinds of back issues.
If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.   - Abraham Maslow

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2018, 03:54:14 PM »
Just got home from the Doc and it turns out that it is mostly a muscular issue compounded by a nerve issue from a 14 year old injury I never had properly diagnosed or cared for. He worked on me for almost 2 hours. A very patient guy indeed. He thinks I could make that GOL class on Saturday, but is not too hopeful for me to wield a saw. I know how stubborn I am and if the instructor will work with me I can put up with a lot of pain to get it done, but I have to be able to walk and carry a saw. Today, that's not happening. The best thing that I can do now is walk, so that is what I am going to do.
Thanks or all the responses. I'll keep you posted.
Tom
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline lxskllr

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2018, 05:33:38 PM »
Best of luck OG! Hope you're able to make the class, and get value from it, whatever your participation level ends up being  :^)

Offline Okieokerton

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2018, 11:57:37 PM »
I had a reoccurring pinched nerve that eventually I just learned to live with until recently. Finally went to the doc, got an MRI and turned out I had two ruptured disc (c5-c6,c6-c7) basically right at the top of my shoulder blades. The vertebrae squeezed the nerve branching out to my right arm which gave me throbbing pain from my back to the tips of my fingers. Got the disc replacement surgery (not the fusion) which has been about six weeks ago. Doc cleared me at about 4 weeks to light physical activity and since then I've been for the most part free of pain and able to get out of bed fairly easily, oh and no pinched nerves. Still have all mobility in my neck and back. Last couple of weeks I've been able to saw a few logs and work on some of my equipment. Today I even scrounged through the firewood at lowes looking for straight lumber to build my kiln which was pretty taxing on the body but I dont have any bad pains just muscle soreness. Might be worth going to the doc to ask for an MRI. I dont know if this is your exact case but thought I'd share my experience with it. 

As far as temporary fixes before the surgery, what helped me the most was a foam roller. Basically just a round piece of foam you can pick up from academy or Walmart in the fitness section that you just put on the ground, lay your back on, then roll back and forth. Always loosened up all my muscles and temporarily lightened the pain. An inversion table might help as well.
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Offline thecfarm

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #16 on: December 12, 2018, 06:21:00 AM »
That sounds good!!
You might be able to go,but I don't know about carrying a chainsaw. :o I betcha you can learn a lot just watching. Bring a cell phone and record. That way you won't forget anything.
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2018, 07:07:55 AM »
I know the drill for the class, its a level 2. If I don't cut a tree I don't complete the class and I need the cert for continuing my certification. If there is any way possible I will get it done. And yes, I know I will likely pay for it later. Such is life.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

Offline LeeB

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2018, 07:58:42 AM »
Wrap up tighter than a mummy and bend, lift as little as you can get away with. Slow and easy does it. Keep up the walking. Sitting always ends up making it worse for me. Standing is better than sitting. 
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Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2018, 06:39:54 PM »
Progress report:
 Yesterday I was pretty shot from the Chiro visit, but I managed to walk a bit, we had lunch at a diner after the Doc appt., lots of ramps and walking (well lots for a guy that walks like Tim Conway doing his old man routine). I wanted to go to work today so that I was forced to be on my feet and moving, figured I could always bail when the pain got to be too much. But there was no way I could even walk to my truck, let alone the 500 foot walk from the parking lot to my office, then all the shop walking all day. I tried but there was no way.
 Today I walked down the driveway, across the road and down the neighbor's driveway, side trip to check the dam on the pond, and back up the hill home again, about 2,000 feet, no pain, some tightness, but I made it. Half hour later I had a hard time getting up the stairs. So it comes and goes. But tomorrow i am going to work for sure before things go too far awry. Right now I am thinking I will make that class on Saturday. I might re-do the injury all over, but I will get through it.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.


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