I recently wrote about dealing with a herniated disc at L5-S1 in a post entitled Can an Inversion Table Heal a Herniated Disc? I mentioned that I had bought an inversion table (Amazon link) to help with my injury and wondered just how much it would help in my healing.
Well, as it is now June, I’ve been dealing with this injury for about six months now. Yes, it is better – less severe sciatic pain and less overall soreness. However, I still deal with some aches and pain, especially if I overdo my physical activity. Too much gardening, working around the house, and improper posture (I try very hard to remember to stand up straight!) can leave me in a world of hurt. In full disclosure, I’ve gone back to my usual level of activity because who wants to lay in bed all day?! However, I’m very careful to not bend at the waist and making sure I spend some time during the day lying down to get pressure off my injured spine. I went back to my usual full workout, but have cut out any lower body heavy lifting that affects my spine. And while I am still using the inversion table, I am only using it 3-4 times a week.
I can’t say if the inversion table is completely helping me. I know, logically, it’s a great help to the spine, taking the pressure off the intervertebral discs. However, I don’t know if it’s aided in my recovery. Everyday that passes by, I wonder if I will ever be rid of this herniated disc. I think about all of the things I learned from the chiropractor and the internet about how to heal. I think I’ve just realized that, like with most things in life, there isn’t an absolute, easy solution to this problem. Multiple variables are in play and must work together to reach the desired outcome. I think the inversion table helps, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
Since my diagnosis, this is all that I have learned about healing a herniated disc: (If you are suffering from back pain, please see an orthopedic doctor or chiropractor. They will be able to diagnose your injury and give you proper treatment.)
Ziraki Memory Foam Lumbar Cushion – Premium Lumbar Lower Back Pain Lumbar Pillow, Protect and Soothe Your Back – Improve Your Posture – Soft & Firm Balanced Lumbar Support Pillow- Including Gift Bag
Back Pain Relief Half-Moon Bolster / Wedge – Provides Best Support for Sleeping on Side or Back – Memory Foam Semi-Roll Pillow with Washable Organic Cotton Cover (Large, White)
All in all, I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this injury is patience. My need to work around the house, yard, and still weight lift (as much as I did before) has continually interrupted the healing process. However, it is the price I must pay for not being the type that can sit, rest, and heal. So while I try to get assistance with chores where I can, there will be lots of tasks to still handle on my own. So between using my inversion table and being smart by using the guidelines above, I may finally heal this herniated disc. And if not, I’ll just have to suck it up and finally see another doctor.
Cheers to your health!
For a follow up on my back issues and my eventual diagnosis of degenerative disc disease, click here.
For a 2020 update on my degenerative disc disease, click here for the article.
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Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided on this web site is for general information purposes only.
Lewis | 1st Nov 17
I’ve been working through the exact same problem (except mine is my left leg). Had an mri done, and right at L5-S1 it’s looking pretty bad. Finally saw and orthopedic spine surgeon, and I’m scheduled for a microdiscectomy. Still trying to use the inversion table and Mackenzie exercises to try and get ahead of it. Hoping I can make enough progress to call the surgery off, but don’t want to wait if I can’t get free of the symptoms. I guess long term there is a risk of permanent nerve damage.
Have you had any more progress with your inversion therapy?
Julie | 1st Nov 17
Have you gotten a second opinion? If you would prefer not to have the surgery, it might be worth the effort to see another doctor. I found out recently I don’t have a herniated disc (I’m writing a post now about it, to be posted in about 2 weeks) but degenerative disc disorder. I don’t use the inversion table much now, since the most effective thing (for me) to decrease pain was to stop so much physical activity (weightlifting, gardening, etc) and stop bending at the waist. I wish I could help more, but I guess my best advice would be to see another doctor to ascertain that surgery is your best option. Good luck! 🙂
Lewis | 1st Nov 17
I’ve seen a couple Doctors over the last month or so. Also a chiropractor who said my options are surgery or a traction machine system called DRX 9000. Really considered going for his system, but it would be an extremely high out of pocket cost, and an hour or more driving 4 days a weeks for 10-12 weeks.
I hand picked the orthopedic spine surgeon for the second opinion, he has great reviews and a number of them said he only recommended surgery if it truly was the best option. The inversion and other exercises do seem to be helping though. Pain isn’t my issue anymore, it’s more of a numbness in my leg and foot, but even that seems to be improving.
I’m also lucky this didn’t become a problem until a couple weeks after making a change in lifestyle, I switched from very active handyman type work to a desk job. So I’ve been able to take things easy and avoid heavy lifting for almost a month now.
The microdiscectomy really doesn’t seem like a bad option, only 1-2 weeks of missed work, and full recovery in 1-2 months. Still wouldn’t mind skipping the surgery if I can eliminate the symptoms altogether, and continue being careful for a few more months.
Will try to let you know what the future brings. Thanks for your post! Very helpful to hear of someone else’s experience with this awful situation. Looking forward to reading your next post.
Julie | 1st Nov 17
Yikes, that chiropractic option doesn’t sound practical at all! It seems like you did your homework on this procedure and found a great doctor. The numbness that you’re experiencing is obviously a concern. Anything that involves the spinal cord is such a delicate issue. Do you wait and continue inversion and doing exercises in the hopes that it goes away? Or do you have the surgery (which itself is a risk), knowing that you should be completely free from the numbness, and have a short recovery? Definitely not an easy decision. Only you and your doctors know what’s best. Thanks again for sharing and best of luck on your recovery, whichever path you choose. 🙂
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