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Author Topic: Self help for a pinched nerve?  (Read 1997 times)

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Offline John Mc

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2018, 04:05:46 PM »
Half of Level 2 is just saw maintenance. You can probably get by without picking up a saw for that part - just screwdrivers, sharpening tools, etc.

For the tree felling part, you might ask someone else in the class if you can use their saw, so you don't have to carry your own around all day. If I recall, in my level 2, we each just dropped one tree. If you have to drive a wedge for your felling, ask if they will let you make the cuts, place the wedge, then have someone else do the hammering. The impacts involved with that will probably aggravate your condition.

Being in severe pain is not exactly a condition conducive to learning. I hope you are able to make it, but take it easy - it's not worth hurting yourself worse.


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 #21 on: December 13, 2018, 07:59:37 PM »
....................

Being in severe pain is not exactly a condition conducive to learning. I hope you are able to make it, but take it easy - it's not worth hurting yourself worse.
Being is severe pain is a familiar way for me to work, been doing it for years, however I am concerned about going down and needing 2 guys to get me up and carry my gear. I've waited 6 months for this class and I am going to get it done. It just dawned on me today that starting the saw would be my big challenge because that presents quite a load to my lower back. I just went out to the shop and piled my gear for the class, took a few file swipes on the chain and then fired it up. It wasn't a lot of fun, but I could do it. I My next concern is that I get a tree they want flush with the ground, that bending is nearly impossible for me to do. But I will get through it. I know the instructor well enough to know that if I am straight with him, he will pick a tree I can work with. He knows my skills, ability, and confidence. It's not really a test for me. (Plus, I am in the process of booking 3 classes for him for next year level 1-3, so there is that.) 
 I finally got back to the day job today and put in a full day, walked a couple of miles on the shop floor (slowly) and got everything I needed done. Tomorrow I see the chiropractor again for some tweaking. I think I am good to go as long as I don't do something stupid, like pick up a dime off the floor. :) And if I do get make it worse, oh well, that my choice, as long as I don't mess things up for anyone else in the class it will be OK. (The wife, on the other hand, is maintaining a slightly different opinion on the matter and just can't wait to say "I told you so".)
 It will be what it will be and it will all be fine. Thanks again to everyone for the suggestions and help.
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 alan gage

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #22 on: December 14, 2018, 11:20:01 AM »
Be careful. I've been fighting my back for 1 year now. Very frustrating. It's hard to stop yourself from doing things you want to do. I try and ask myself if it's worth it. "Is it worth doing "xyz" if the result is me being laid up an extra 3 months (or worse)?" It doesn't always work but it does make me think twice about what I'm about to do and how I'm about to do it.

If I could go back in time I'd do anything possible to keep myself from trying to lift a couple of those oak rounds last December. But at the time it was only a few real heavy ones and nothing I hadn't done before. Why did I think it was so important to load them right then? Why not split them into smaller pieces before loading or wait until I had someone to help or use the loader? There is no good answer. It was stupid and now I'm paying for it (mentally, physically, and monetarily).

If you think you can do the class then great but I can guarantee you if something gets aggravated from the class and you're still limping around a year from now you won't be saying to yourself, "well, at least I took that class."

I started by going to a chiropractor with no relief. He suggested going to my regular doctor but instead I found someone who specialized in back and spine issues. He started by ordering 5 weeks of physical therapy. When that offered little/no improvement he ordered an MRI and found some discs that were bulged. Not severely bulged but apparently, in my body, enough to impinge on some nerves. He hoped it would calm down on its own without surgery. First round of cortisone shots helped for a few weeks. Second round did hardly anything.

Tried another chiropractor who spent a lot of time massaging and working muscles and joints before doing any adjustments. He spent some time pushing and prodding in different places and seemed to confirm the pain is a result of those nerves being pinched by the bulged discs. After half a dozen visits I was in worse shape then when we started. Not blaming him. I'm happy with what he did/tried but things got aggravated in the process.

Still have to wait another month to get in to see my back doctor for another follow up.  I've read up on bulged discs and pinched nerves and most people seem to get relief in relatively short order with rest and maybe physical therapy. I don't know what's different about my problem but that doesn't seem to be getting me very far. As much as I don't want to have surgery my improvement seems to have halted and I can't do very many of the things that bring me enjoyment. I'm realizing that people with chronic back pain have a good reason to complain about it. Do everything possible to avoid it.

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.

Offline Dakota

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #23 on: December 15, 2018, 09:12:55 AM »
Very well said.
Dave Rinker

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #24 on: December 15, 2018, 08:37:32 PM »
Just a followup: I was up at 4:30 to walk a little before the 1.5 hour drive to my GOL 2 class. Got through it just fine. My biggest problem for the day was that I was pretty much standing for 9 hours. The pain was basic torture. The funny part was picking up the saw and doing the work was easy and felt good. No, I could not pound wedges, but other than moving carefully and a little slow I did everything that was asked. (in fact, it's embarrassing to say, but I wound up with the high score for the class. I beat out the young gal I thought was the best cutter by a few points.) The drive home on rural roads in the dark was very long and I didn't know hard hard it would be to get out of the truck, but I feel just fine but tired. Walking was easy, working was fine, but bending is slow and standing is barely tolerable and very painful. My thanks to the folks in the class that understood my slowness. The instructor said he gave me a lot of credit for showing up, working through it, and not bailing, he had been watching my face all day I think and could see the pain. It was hard to hide. I confess, about 3 hours into the tailgate talk, I was wondering if I could make it through the day. But I survived and there is no further damage, yet probably a little more strengthening. Tomorrow will tell the tale (if I can get out of bed :)).
 Again, thanks for all the input.
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 thecfarm

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2018, 06:33:31 AM »
Good for you. I think.  :)   Hope it does not set you back too much.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2018, 07:16:51 AM »
I don't think it 'set me back' at all, although I pretty much expected it would. I think it actually helped with the healing quite a bit. I was very careful and didn't make any stupid moves but it would have been easier without all the standing. I am a little stiffer this morning and not as flexible as I was last night, but I think that will ease up as the morning goes by. Still using the cane to get around, but am no longer depending on it, just have it for security to lean on in case I cough or hit a wobbly spot. This shall pass as it always does. In fact, if it weren't coming down in a steady shower of sleet right now I would probably venture over to the neighbors hot tub. Today is for resting, I think, but I might go catch a Tony Trischka holiday concert tonight. He's an old friend and I haven't seen him in about a year.
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 Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve? Final followup
« Reply #27 on: April 05, 2019, 04:57:29 PM »
Just thought I would close this out. It's now almost 5 months in and I have been going to the Chiropractor regularly, in the beginning once a week, then every two weeks, now once a month. He has found and worked on injuries I incurred over 30 or 40 years ago and long forgot. My recovery time from hard work days is either very short or non-existent. I feel better all the time and am able to do more back to back heavy days than I have in a long time. I am not superman, but I am sure able to work within my capabilities much more than I have in many years. Getting the right treatment from the right provider is the key here. ON a physical level, I am a very happy guy.
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 John Mc

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #28 on: April 28, 2019, 08:38:32 PM »
Great to hear you are doing better!

I've never managed to get my neck and upper back injury completely healed - I can get it fixed, and be pain free, but the area is not stable, and it doesn't take much to mess me up again. This is despite visits to a Chiropractor, and being married to a Physical Therapist

Wearing a chainsaw helmet aggravates it, especially if I do it all day. This year, once my land dries out, I hope to work up to it more gradually to see if it's a muscle conditioning thing. I also want to get my wife to watch me as I'm working in the woods: she's really good a spotting poor body mechanics, and might spot something odd I'm doing with my head or upper body.

Another thing that aggravates it is reaching out repeatedly with any kind of weight in my arms. (I think the way the muscles in my back support my arms tweaks things in just the wrong way, throwing things in my upper back out.) I've gotten much better at keeping the chainsaw close into my body, rather than reaching out with it (that reaching out is poor body mechanics anyway). That has helped. I have not figured out how to stack firewood without causing me problems. Even repeated lifting of relatively small pieces (4" diameter x 16" long hardwoods) can cause me upper back problems, especially if I'm raising them much above belly high. I think it's more the reaching out to put them in the stack than the actual lifting. I have not figured out a way around that yet.
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 #29 on: April 28, 2019, 09:34:49 PM »
Great to hear you are doing better!

I've never managed to get my neck and upper back injury completely healed - I can get it fixed, and be pain free, but the area is not stable, and it doesn't take much to mess me up again. This is despite visits to a Chiropractor, and being married to a Physical Therapist

Wearing a chainsaw helmet aggravates it, especially if I do it all day. This year, once my land dries out, I hope to work up to it more gradually to see if it's a muscle conditioning thing. I also want to get my wife to watch me as I'm working in the woods: she's really good a spotting poor body mechanics, and might spot something odd I'm doing with my head or upper body.

Another thing that aggravates it is reaching out repeatedly with any kind of weight in my arms. (I think the way the muscles in my back support my arms tweaks things in just the wrong way, throwing things in my upper back out.) I've gotten much better at keeping the chainsaw close into my body, rather than reaching out with it (that reaching out is poor body mechanics anyway). That has helped. I have not figured out how to stack firewood without causing me problems. Even repeated lifting of relatively small pieces (4" diameter x 16" long hardwoods) can cause me upper back problems, especially if I'm raising them much above belly high. I think it's more the reaching out to put them in the stack than the actual lifting. I have not figured out a way around that yet.
John, I get it. I think about this ALL the time. As we get older and 'weaker' as things break down, we start to think about ways to keep working and get things done, hopefully without pain. Your detailed description is the same as my issues, but yours are a bit more acute. Now if you caught me on a bad day a year ago, we would be about the same. My Chiropractor has done some magic for me, I found a good one, I got lucky. But still fixing damage from 40 year old injuries only goes so far on a body that is 63 years old. 
 I have a few 'new habits' in light of the foregoing words. I don't do the same thing all day, I mix tasks and go from one to the next so as not to tax one particular set of muscles. (well, maybe except for drinking, I can do that all day without any pain.) I reduce the amount I lift except when I have no choice. That is, instead of making fewer trips from the trailer to the woodpile by grabbing 5 splits, I just take one in each hand. Lots more steps and it takes longer, but I can go non-stop doing that verses the stress and pain I get trying to make time. If I am doing something and I really start to feel pain or soreness, I change the task and do something else. When I have to lift 80 pound rounds up to the splitter I have no choice and pay the price for a few days. You know all this already, I can tell.
 Your issues are much more acute than mine and I feel for you. I know the misery. Back in December I could barely walk with a cane. I am not suggesting that your chiropractor isn't doing well by you, but you might want to ask around for referrals of others that might do a better job for you, here are different treatment paths that can be followed. I know there is a limit to what anyone can fix. I bet your wife knows a few. Reaching is the tough part ALWAYS, that is the lower back. Strength exercises may help, and your wife knows those, but if you are not healed enough to do them, tread carefully and slowly.
 Good Luck,
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 John Mc

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #30 on: April 28, 2019, 11:14:12 PM »
Thanks, Tom.

One of my problems is that I've always tended to get very absorbed in my work. Couple that with the fact that this has been happening off and on since a wrestling injury in college back in 1984, and I've gotten pretty good at ignoring the pain until it gets bad enough that my range of motion is restricted (at that point, the situation is bad enough that I don't sleep well at night, and I'm grouchy and exhausted during the day).

Generally, one trip to the chiropractor fixes the problem, as long as I am careful about posture and activities for the following couple of days. What really need to do is get better at doing the strengthening exercises my wife gave me years ago, so that my muscles would be better able to hold things in line during the problem activities. Unfortunately, I've never managed to make those exercises a routine part of my day: when the pain goes away, I tend to forget about them.

I too have gotten better about not doing the same motion or job for a full day. I try to mix it up. That's one of the reasons I like to hand sharpen my chains. No matter how absorbed I get, I notice a dull chain immediately. It's then I stop and take some time to sharpen that I realize how dehydrated or hungry I am, or that I need to rest or move on to something else. Fortunately, since I'm working on my own property much of the time, I can easily take a break from felling or bucking and do some hauling, or switch to cleaning up brush.
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 #31 on: April 29, 2019, 07:01:37 AM »
Yeah John, that's the ticket, keep changing it up. One of the things I did last year that helped lengthen my day was buy and use a short pickeroon for picking up and moving the cut rounds up to, and on, the splitter. It keeps me from bending over at all for the smaller pieces and serves as a good handle for picking up those 90 pound RO rounds. I like that pickeroon so much that I got a second longer one (24") for dragging logs into position for skidding. Look around at what you do and see if there aren't tools that can help take the load off your back.
Best of luck to you!
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 Hilltop366

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #32 on: April 29, 2019, 09:44:57 AM »
Good to here thing are going better.
X2 on the pickaroon it has been a big help for me, for the larger ones once the pickeroon is stuck in the block I'll bend my knees and slide my hand close to the head so I can pick it up with my legs if the block is too big for that I lower the splitter (3 point hitch kind) to the ground and roll them on to split in 2 first but working that low also can aggravate my lower back muscles. 

I came across this video a while back, we will use the backhoe bucket to lift large blocks for his gas powered splitter but I thought this setup was interesting.


Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #33 on: April 29, 2019, 06:42:48 PM »
Yeah, that is pretty slick. i do so few large rounds that I don't think it would be worthwhile for me to build. My big stuff becomes saw logs mostly. Neat idea though.
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 John Mc

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #34 on: April 29, 2019, 08:43:49 PM »
Yeah John, that's the ticket, keep changing it up. One of the things I did last year that helped lengthen my day was buy and use a short pickeroon for picking up and moving the cut rounds up to, and on, the splitter. It keeps me from bending over at all for the smaller pieces and serves as a good handle for picking up those 90 pound RO rounds. I like that pickeroon so much that I got a second longer one (24") for dragging logs into position for skidding. Look around at what you do and see if there aren't tools that can help take the load off your back.
Best of luck to you!

Picking things up off the ground does not bother me, nor does carrying heavy loads (if I keep them in close to my body). Only reaching out with something - even if it only weighs 10 lbs. Stacking split wood is the worst.

My tool of choice for picking up rounds for the splitter is a set of 8 Husqvarna timber tongs. I can pick up up to about 12 diameter rounds one-handed, and without bending over.
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 #35 on: June 28, 2019, 03:08:46 PM »
I thought I would check back in on this thread with an update. I have been visiting Dr. Marc for 7 months now. I just go once a month these days, as I have since April, I think. Last week he asked me if he was "doing me any good" because he thought I was in great shape every time I came in and had only very minor issues. His question caused me to reflect and I pointed out that a year ago, everyday getting out of bed had to be done carefully and slowly. Heavy work had to be considered and approached carefully. Extreme loads on my back would put me in a hurt for 3-10 days, every time. I had assumed that was my life because I believed everyone when they told me I was getting old.
 Today, the only limit to my work sessions is how long my breath holds out, extreme loads are recovered from within 12 hours, Those stupid things I would do to mess myself up are no longer even an issue. I hop out of bed without a second thought every day. I attribute this to him getting everything back in balance and the loads being properly distributed, which is why I still go back monthly for the little things he does to keep me straight. In short, I told him he had no idea how much good he was doing me. He said I am in perfect shape for a man my age. I asked him if he knew I was 29? he laughed and said he has 29 year old patients that aren't in half the shape I am in.
 I am SO glad I found this guy. My life in general has gotten so much better and I can do things that I could not do before without paying a steep price. I am no stronger, but I sure feel like I am because I am not getting hurt when I think I should.
 Just thought I would fill that in.
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 alan gage

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Re: Self help for a pinched nerve?
« Reply #36 on: June 28, 2019, 04:22:00 PM »
That's wonderful news. It's good to feel good! 8)

Alan
Timberking B-16, a few chainsaws from small to large, and a Bobcat 873 Skidloader.


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