Friday, August 14, 2009

my aching back

A little over a week ago, I herniated a disk in my lower back. My wife, Becky, who is a Physical Therapist, explains that a disk is like a jelly donut: the jelly in the middle can be squished out toward the rim of the donut, or squeezed into the middle. When it is near the rim of the donut, it presses against a nerve, and the back (and leg, and...) experiences pain. When the jelly is squeezed back into the middle of the donut, it does not press on the nerve, and the pain goes away. Activities that squish the jelly to the center: laying on the stomach and pressing up with the arms. Activities that force jelly to the pain-producing rim: sitting at a computer, sitting in a meeting, driving somewhere... It is possible to sit correctly, with a "neutral spine," so the jelly is not squished to the rim, but virtually every chair I occupy (and especially the car) makes it difficult.

Fortunately, a congregant runs a pain clinic. This afternoon, I will visit his office, and use a vibroacoustic chair to relieve the pain. I hope that helps, and I still need to work on *not* squishing the jelly when I sit...


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