Bulging Disc, Anyone? Bueller?

First, I want to clarify that I am a massage therapist and yoga instructor by trade and not a doctor.  I was laid up recently due to a T2 bulging disc pinching a nerve and could not even sit up to eat for 12 days due to pain.  Over the last 10 years I have worked on a lot of you who suffer from bulging discs among many other spinal dysfunctions.  I aim to heal myself of this debilitating injury.

I want to share with you that a bulging disc does not have to haunt you a life time.

Be sure to have an X-ray and a discussion with your chiropractor or primary care physician.  You can put together a team of experts to help you rehabilitate and meet your pain free goals.  A gentle yoga practice will strengthen you over time.  Look for a physical therapist and massage therapist to round out your holistic approach.

Let’s talk about the big I word.  Inflammation.  This phenomena in our bodies has a hand in causing the majority of diseases.  If you mean business, an anti-inflammatory lifestyle will change your life.

Take inventory of your eating and drinking habits.  I love a glass of dry red wine but have given it up for a while to head off inflammation.  Keep in mind that dehydration may have played a role in this disc gone rogue.  We want to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!  Drink half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 lbs, drink 75 oz in water. Tired of water? Green tea hydrates too.  Coffee and sodas all dehydrate and then you’ve got to play catch up.

Refined sugar is a major culprit.   I know it is completely unfair of me to talk about giving up sweets and breads after posting my Sourdough Cinnamon Rolls YouTube video.  Watch for the ever sneaky high fructose corn syrup living among prepared, store bought foods.  Be mindful of switching out your white wonder bread for Ezekiel bread.  Also sausage and and lunch meats contain nitrates causing an inflammatory response in the body.

As a general rule to live by, anytime you have an acute injury use ICE not heat!  Rotate ice packs as often as you can stand.  Don’t give yourself frostbite though!  Until the inflammation is under control I don’t even think about that heating pad. Once out of the acute stage I start contrast therapy.  This is where you rotate cold and heat.  I have a heating pad that I can put a wet washcloth into so it is therapeutic, penetrating WET heat. <— Very important! The wet heat won’t cause inflammation like dry heat.  It will make those over used muscles supporting the vertebrae around the bulging disc simply melt.  Follow up with ice and always end contrast therapy with ice.

Once I broke out the heating pad I grabbed my ESSENTIAL OILS as well!  Taking a technique from Raindrop Therapy I found wonderful pain relief.  I applied 2-3 drops neat over the area of the spine where the disc bulges.  Again focusing on reducing inflammation I brought out the big guns: Helichrysum and Copaiba.  I have practically seen client wounds heal before my eyes in a matter of days with this combo.  Helichrysum is spendy but worth having on hand.  It is a nervine meaning it’s known to support the nervous system.  I also used 3 Raindrop Therapy oils.  Basil is my  go to muscle relaxer.  Marjoram calms the nervous system.  And Wintergreen also boasts anti-inflammatory properties.  It also has aspirin-like qualities for reducing pain.  Great combo, right?  For self application combine these oils in a roller bottle and slather on your spine.  Follow up with the wet heat, just like in a raindrop session.  The wet heat sends the oil deep, past skin level, into the muscles tissue and beyond.  Essential oil particles are so tiny they pass the blood brain barrier.  The heat sends the oils through the dura mater of the spine nourishing, reducing inflammation and killing dormant viruses.  Bonus!

Finally let’s talk about getting physical.  I read walking backwards for 20 minutes a day does a disc good.  I am back at the gym now hoping to get myself ready for the Warrior Dash in May.  No running for me yet, but I do get cardio done on the elliptical and work it backwards too.  This engages the glutes, hams and quads differently than we are accustomed to.  If you have sacroiliac issues and lumbar disc problems focus on building your glute medius.  This has worked wonders for me and I don’t suffer pain there anymore.

I am using these yoga postures to build strength.  We’re not focusing on flexibility here yet.  Be gentle with yourself!  Anything you can do the strengthen the muscles around your rogue disc will give much relief.

Cat/Cow is movement that increases circulation and mobility.  Draw shoulders down away from the ears while moving through a few of these at your own pace.  Inhale on cow, exhale on cat.

Sphinx pose

After Sphinx push yourself back into tabletop (on all fours) and move through Cat/Cow again a fews times returning to Sphinx. Then move on to….

Locus Pose

Bridge Pose… Be sure to keep your knees shining forward and feet parallel to each other.  Squeeze those glutes.  This is an inverted pose that helps reverse circulation and is quieting to the body. Don’t forget to breathe!

If you need more instruction look for a gentle class and let your yoga teacher know before class starts about your bulging disc. They can show you modifications!

So many of us are on this bulging disc journey.  Let me know how you are recovering!  I’ll be praying for your healing!


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