How to decompress your spine in 3 steps- Part I

Symptoms of a herniated disc over time

Disclaimer: I am not a professional trained doctor or therapist, all honest opinions are mine from my past 5 years experience. This post does not contain any affiliation link. Please consult your doctor first when you notice you have discomfort in any area. 

Hello friends,

Today I want to talk about a topic that is very different from my other posts. 

I still can’t hide the excitement that I have finally done it! I successfully decompressed my spine!

A little background about me: I regularly work out at the gym, and yoga is my gem. Thanks to my pretty good flexibility, and highly-contained muscle proportion, almost all the hard-level yoga postures are just a piece of cake to me. 

Working out at a yoga studio is my showtime. I loved it, I enjoyed it, and embraced all the praises from several yoga instructors like: wow, you are so flexible, did you practice ballet before? I have never taken a ballet class, but I am constantly aware of my posture and my flexibility and keep myself in a good shape in all forms.

However, I had no idea things were going to change drastically. 

lower back pain how to decompress your spine 3 steps

Five years ago, one morning I woke up and felt tremendous pain in my lower back that I didn’t know would affect me for the last five years.

At the very beginning I assumed I was just got a simple muscle strain from weight training, I consulted different doctors, tried countless methods from East to the West: acupuncture, cupping, Interferential Current (IFC, TENS), yoga, deep tissue massages, chiropractic, food therapy, hot spa… you name it. They are not bad, they gave me relief after the treatment, but nothing has lasted too long, I could feel it has not been cured. 

Until one physical therapist/rehabilitationist visit, he examined me with care and got my spine X-ray. I finally got the answer of what it is- Herniated disc pressure nerves and anterior(forward) pelvic tilt.

Here I listed some of the symptoms I experienced in the early stage:

  1. In the beginning, it was hard to pinpoint the spot of your back where the radical pain is because the pain area is so big; the whole lower back was all covered with pain and it may feel like it has a needle sting deep in your lower back.
  2. When sleeping in bed at night, you find it difficult to turn your body around. It may cause extreme pain, sweat, and tears just to flip over to the other side, and must have to do it very slowly.
  3. The pain may change from side to side, sometimes it seems from the left lower back, hip, sometimes it seems from the right lower back and hips.
  4. When you squat down, you will find a needle sting pain spread out from the deepest of your hip. 
  5. When you sit down, you will have to juggle around your legs and hip somehow, try to find a spot that doesn’t cause the pain, and you will have to change your position from time to time because you can feel your hip, the crotch, to the whole leg are getting numb, some time is only one leg, other times maybe both legs if stay in one position for too long. 
  6. When you sit for a long time, you find out that you have trouble getting up, you have to take a very slow motion, incline your body or arm onto other objects to lift your back and upper body.
  7. Your body can’t take any fast action, especially those that include bending, twisting your back. 
  8. Stiffness becomes a new normal when you lie down (face up or down) for a long time, you can hardly bend down your back forward or backward. It will take you some time to warm up your back to sit up. 
  9. You have a hard time lifting weight, no matter if it is grabbing things from the ground, pulling, or pushing something weighted like a duvet or heavy door.
  10. Some yoga practices are no longer easy anymore, actions that require balance would take great effort. 
  11. When you sneeze, cough, jump, the rapid reflex actions cause your body to feel like a thundershock from the lower spine and spread through your whole spine.
  12. Pain level: Squatting > sitting > bending the back > lie > running > standing > walking 

Here are the symptoms if you didn’t treat it for years:

  1. One side of your arm (usually, this arm is on the opposite side of the lower back pain point) gets numb easily. especially when you sleep in bed, you find yourself feeling better only when you place your arm around your head. 
  2. Your knees sometimes get stiff or hurt out of blue, and your legs get tired and dragged at the end of the day.
  3. The lower body’s circulation is getting worse, your legs get swollen easily.
  4. In about 2 years, the shoulder and neck on the opposite side of the lower back pain developed stiffness, pain, nerves pinch feeling, your head tends to tilts forward, the uncomfortable sore/ache is hard to get rid of. 
  5. Your lower belly seems to get bigger, even though your diet has not changed a bit. 
  6. Even though you have learned how to live with lower back pain, such as constantly crossing your leg left to right, putting a pillow at your back or cushion on the seat, you can sit for a longer time than before, but you still can feel the pain in the deep side of your spine.
  7. After a long sitting time, you can feel tightness on your pelvic, to relieve the discomfort, you will twist around your pelvic joint from side to side.
  8. Lots of your joints started to make noise such as crackling, clatter, pop sounds on the neck, shoulder, pelvic, hipbone, ankles.
  9. You can do some yoga postures, but there are still some limitations. If you force yourself to bend over your back, you will encounter discomfort for the rest of your day.
  10. You may get mentally fatigued easily, and this affects your activity, such as you may just want to lie in bed all day, or you don’t want to take a long haul trip on a plane or a car just to avoid the long sitting time.

If those symptoms are familiar to you, please read the following chapters, because we are going to fix it together!

continue reading…

How to decompress spine in 3 steps- Part II
First aid for your lower back pain while living with it 

How to decompress spine in 3 steps- Part III
Let’s talk about the synergy we often overlook!

How to decompress spine in 3 steps- Part IV
We all need a strategy, don’t we? <— step by step decompress your spine right here!

How to decompress spine in 3 steps- Part V
Self-reflection after 5 years experienced lower back pain

Be well,