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LOW BACK PAIN – IS IT A SLIPPED DISC? Plus 10 WAYS TO AVOID LOW BACK PAIN…

What is the cause of your back pain? Is it sciatica, a strain, early pregnancy, Covid-19, overweight, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia or a slipped disc?

NHS England describes back pain as the ‘single largest cause of disability in the UK, with lower back pain accounting for 11% of the total disability of the UK population’. In fact, the country lost a reported 30.8m sick days due to problems associated with achy lumbar regions, back, neck and upper limb problems in 2016. So it’s clear that lower backache is preventing many of us from working and carrying out everyday activities comfortably.

A slipped or herniated disc is among the most incapacitating of back agony issues – once in a while with added indications, for example, the pounding leg torment of sciatica. When you have a ‘slipped’ (prolapsed) disc, a disc does not actually slip.  What happens is that part of the inner softer part of the disc (the nucleus pulposus) bulges out (herniates) through a weakness in the outer part of the disc. A prolapsed disc is sometimes called a herniated disc. The bulging disc may press on nearby structures such as a nerve coming from the spinal cord. Some inflammation also develops around the prolapsed part of the disc. Inflammation may irritate a nerve and also causes swelling, which may put pressure on a nerve.

This is a condition where the focal point of a spinal disc swells outwards and presses onto a nerve.  The spinal discs go about as safeguards and through an assortment of causes, including injury, helpless stance and general “mileage” (which means steady disintegration), the dividers of the discs can get more fragile. If the centre of the disc pushes out, this can cause the disc wall to bulge and that can be when pain strikes!

The usual advice is to carry on as normal as much as possible. Painkillers may help. Physical treatments such as spinal manipulation may also help or IDD therapy, exercises or injections. Surgery may be an option if the symptoms persist.

The long-term outcome of low back pain is generally favorable, but persistent symptoms affect millions of individuals. However there are three treatments which do not require surgery and have been very successful at treating slipped/prolapsed discs.

#1. Anti Inflammatory Courses…
Due to the fact that herniated discs can often times be incredibly sensitive, especially in acute cases, you may need to undergo a short course of anti inflammatories.

Once your general practitioner gives you the go ahead you can begin to take these types of medication which are a very effective herniated disc treatment.

#2. Exercises…
I know that the mere thought of moving causes you extreme mental anguish, but these types of exercises are actually designed not to aggravate your bulging discs.

These are low impact exercise routines which are geared towards reducing the bulged disc back into its correct location in between vertebrae.

#3. Lying Correctly…
Whenever you lie down, ensure that you are lying down correctly. You should always prop yourself up when you lie down and while resting slightly on your elbows for a few seconds.

Back in the early 80’s I had my first disc bulge problem and back then you were put into bed attached to traction and left to lie it out for a few days. Unfortunately for me I ended up with a trapped nerve in my leg and lost all sensation of it on one side so I was soon taken off traction. Over the following seven years every time my disc bulge I would visit a chiropractor and a physiotherapist but eventually in 1987 I had to have my first of many surgeries to remove a prolapsed disc and fuse my low back.

What followed on from that initial surgery was cervical disc problems as well as lumber and a further two emergency surgeries to fuse them and correct a kyphosis ( curvature of the spine that causes the top of the back to appear more rounded than normal). My pain now is from the discs above and below all my previous surgeries which all have bulges as they have had to work much harder due to the fusion above them.

Spinal surgery is nothing like this now and most is keyhole and you are in an out of hospital within days whereas mine took weeks and months to recover from. Looking after your back is the key to avoiding any disc related problems and ten key ways to look after it are :

  1. Keep active
  2. Keep fit
  3. Keep a healthy weight
  4. Eat healthy
  5. Keep your posture correct
  6. Take regular exercise
  7. Do not smoke
  8. Take great care when lifting
  9. Get plenty of rest
  10. Take great care when gardening.

Article Source: Ezine article (1) Ezine article (2)



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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF RAVI JAIPAUL, FOUNDER OF YOKE WELLNESS…

A Day In The Life of Ravi Jaipaul, Founder of Yoke Wellness

Hi, I’m Ravi Jaipaul, founder of Yoke Wellness and I want to tell you about a day in the life of my recover. But first, what was I recovering from? Let me take you back to 2018…

It was a really chilly, crisp December morning and I’m riding my bike to a spin class (ironic). It’s early, there’s no traffic on the roads and it’s great for getting my legs moving. The wind feels great in my hair, the only sound being the steady hum of my chain and two wheels. This feels alive. I notice a van coming the opposite way from me — I glance down and see my lights are still on, see the traffic light is green and am halfway through the intersection when, without warning, he turns directly into me.

Within the blink of an eye, I am airborne → through the side of the van → hurtled into a streetlamp, landing face up on the cold pavement. It happens faster than you can snap your fingers*. I hear someone running my direction screaming “Oh My God, You Just Killed That Cyclist.” Then it hits me. She’s talking about me. Fear consumes me, as I realise I can’t use my neck, I can’t stand up, I could barely even try to give her a “thumbs-up” sign to show her that I’m okay. My body, which was just moments ago at the peak of an early morning cycle, now, immovable. Stopped. Broken.

It takes 3 ambulance members and 3 police officers to un-tangle my body from the pole, trying to not move my neck in case it was broken. As a nurse, I specialised in Emergencies, so when I saw one of the busiest hospitals in the country clear a trauma bay for me I knew it was going to be bad. My girlfriend arrives and I get scans of my head, neck, chest, abdomen, pelvis.

Diagnosis is not good: a concussion (or ‘traumatic brain injury’ the Doctor said), left wrist sprain, left knee sprain, bruised ribs, potentially punctured lung, severe neck sprain, memory loss and what looked like years of recovery. I head home, not knowing the change that was about to come.

For the next few months, here is my day in the life of me: 

My brain is scrambled, I can’t remember anything, I have no energy, I have no energy, I don’t sleep well or I sleep 18 hours at a time. I found myself screaming at my incredible girlfriend, a huge-hearted person who took care of me every single day while I was ill. I wasn’t able to function at work. This was going nowhere good. My girlfriend was going to hate me, my business was going to let me go and I was afraid that I wasn’t ever going to remember anything again. I wanted to find the old Ravi again. I wanted my partner to be proud of me, I wanted to get back up from this. My days looked so scattered:

0001 – 1200Fractured, shattered broken sleep. It’s like my brain is trying to unscramble eggs. 

1201 – 1300: Start moving – I just keep repeating to myself. Movement is medicine, and I focus on one thing at a time. Toothbrush, toothpaste, onto my teeth. Kettle. Water. Turn On. These tiny steps lead to me being able to slowly get my day into order.

1330 – 1600: Head to Physio Appointment

1600 – 1700: Nap

1700 – 1900: Try to look at work emails (bad idea) and connect with my partner. 

1900 – 2100Look into alternative methods to heal (more below) 

2200 – 2300: Start a routine to get to bed.

As a nurse who has helped thousands of people recover, I had to become a patient. I kept doing what everybody tells you is the right thing to do — lots of rest, and sleep, and rehab. Do what we tell you and eventually you might feel better. Take these pills, they will help. I kept having setback after setback — they brought me in 4 months later to have another X-ray of my neck fearing it may be broken. So I peaked, and after asking all my health professionals for advice, I was frustrated.

I started getting curious into my own health, and looking into ways I could heal myself. I poured through medical journals, blogs, books, podcasts, casting the net as far and wide and crazy — trying things that ranged from changing how I slept, how I awoke, what I ate, how long I spent in front of the screen, what supplements I took. I experimented on myself like I was my own lab rat. I started feeling better, and that’s when my best friend introduced me to an acupressure mat.

Have you ever seen one of these?

It looks freaky! It’s a mat with like 8000 spikes! I was like “Woah, i don’t like needles.” She said she used it for sleep every single night. 

I lay on it for 10 minutes and felt my blood … moving. My skin tingling. A warm feeling. Felt energy that had been trapped… flow again. I had the best sleep in months.

So I added the acupressure mat to my healing, and along with everything else I was doing, it amplified the healing effects. Finding my body the right tool, the acupressure mat, was like giving my body permission to heal itself. To heal myself.

I stopped snapping at my partner, I started to get my energy back, I started excercising again. I even got back on my bicycle. I was starting to get the old Ravi back again. I’ve come a long way since that fateful day in December of 2018.

And it’s sparked something in me that wanted to share it with as many people as I can.

So I created Yoke Wellness, and the Acupressure Mat & Bundle, to help as many people as I can find their own wellness.

The days of my life now look a lot different than they did back then, but it brought me to a place where I can help others. And for that, I am incredibly grateful.

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5 GREAT BOOKS TO READ DURING LOCKDOWN AND BEYOND…

With Christmas now well and truly behind us but an awful lot of us still in lockdown I thought you might enjoy a post on some good books, I have read recently.

The Girls by Lori Lansens

The story is about conjoined twins, Rose and Ruby, and it’s told from each of their very different perspectives. This unusual tale of sisterhood is a wonderful read and makes you appreciate what we take for granted. In twenty-nine years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby’s eyes. Joined at the head, ‘The Girls’ (as they are known in their small town) attempt to lead a normal life, but can’t help being extraordinary. Now almost thirty, Rose and Ruby are on the verge of becoming the oldest living craniopagus twins in history, but they are remarkable for a lot more than their unusual sisterly bond. I promise: you will never forget this extraordinary story. Love, connection, loyalty, raw humanity and much more are the ingredients of this most unusual novel. Lori Lansens’ blend of tragedy and comedy will touch you deeply’ Isabel Allende

Letters of Note : Correspondence Deserving of a Wider Audience by Shaun Usher

It’s a book to pick up and put down and lovely to have on your lounge table with letters from everyone from Churchill to Virginia Woolf. An intriguing read. A collection of over one hundred of the world’s most entertaining, inspiring and unusual letters, based on the popular website of the same name – an online museum of correspondence visited by over 70 million people. From Virginia Woolf’s heart-breaking suicide letter to Queen Elizabeth II’s recipe for drop scones sent to President Eisenhower; from the first recorded use of the expression ‘OMG’ in a letter to Winston Churchill to Gandhi’s appeal for calm to Hitler; and from Iggy Pop’s beautiful letter of advice to a troubled young fan to Leonardo da Vinci’s remarkable job application letter, Letters of Note is a celebration of the power of written correspondence which captures the humour, seriousness, sadness and brilliance that make up all of our lives.

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

A lively and deeply inspiring novel which shows a view into the working-class life of Mike Muñoz, a 22-year-old who mows lawns for a living and has a talent for creating topiary structures. He lives in an overcrowded, dilapidated home with his hardworking mother and handicapped brother, Nate, and only wants his chance at achieving the American dream but everything seems to be stacked against him. The author gives readers a relatable everyman who is struggling to make ends meet but knows his self-worth and is determined to overcome the difficulties in his life to succeed. It’s a roller coaster of emotions. I went from sad to happy then back to sad again but it has a great ending. A good feel book.

Create Your Own Calm : A Journal for Quieting Anxiety by Meera Lee Patel

Feeling anxious, uncertain, or overwhelmedYou’re not alone. In this empowering new tool for self-care, a popular artist and author Meera Lee Patel present a fresh approach to feeling better. Designed to help us better understand and dial down the everyday worries getting in our way, these thoughtful and beautifully illustrated journal pages are a safe space for reflection, insight, and the freedom to move forward with more clarity and joy. Bringing together inspiring quotes from great thinkers and writers throughout history with engaging journal prompts and plenty of room to capture your thoughts, the book is a calming breath of fresh air and a quiet space to reflect and recharge in a hectic and uncertain world. I popped this book in as I felt it quite appropriate at the moment and ideal for someone who may be feeling anxious. Although I do not have this actual copy a friend bought me something very similar to jot my blog posts in it. However, I am going to use it to jot down how the next year unfolds. Something I wish I had done from the very first lockdown. I always feel good after I have written things down.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

My final book which I have found hard to put down over Christmas is another fiction book but one that will keep you hooked from the beginning to the end. Power couple Jules and Will have whisked their friends and family away to a remote Irish island for their wedding. But all is not going according to plan when someone is murdered. The tension gets almost unbearable and the creepy setting really adds to the atmosphere. The wedding cake has barely been cut when one of the guests is found dead. And as a storm unleashes its fury on the island, everyone is trapped. Need I say more.