The Rabbit Hole of Back Pain: What Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You to Know

What Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You to Know About Bulging Discs

Bulging discs are one of the most common causes of low back pain. They’re often misdiagnosed as other conditions such as sciatica or osteoarthritis. But if they do cause symptoms, then it’s usually not acute and will resolve itself over time without treatment. However, there are some things that you can do right now to reduce your risk of developing them in the future.

The first thing you need to understand is that your doctor doesn’t want you to have back pain. If they did, they’d probably prescribe something like ibuprofen or naproxen. These drugs work well at reducing inflammation and pain, but they don’t actually cure the problem. They just relieve it temporarily so that you can get better care elsewhere (which is what happens when your doctor prescribes these medications).

So here’s where you come in. Here are three simple steps that you can take immediately to prevent or treat back pain from bulging discs:

1) Get regular physical activity.

Exercise is great for preventing and treating many chronic diseases, including those related to the spine. Regular exercise helps improve posture, reduces stress levels, improves blood flow to muscles and bones, decreases stiffness and increases range of motion. It’s been shown to decrease the risk of developing back problems later in life.

2) Get a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping isn’t just for laziness and teddy bears, it’s also an important part of your health. In fact, studies suggest that the best way to recover from back pain is to… wait for it…

get more sleep! The exact amount varies from person to person, but most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep a night.

3) Maintain proper lifting technique.

We all have to lift and carry things every once in awhile. When you do, be sure to bend your knees and keep your back straight. Avoid twisting or turning, and keep a solid grip on the object at all times. If you start to feel pain or discomfort in your lower back, stop immediately and re-adjust.

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If the pain persists or gets worse, see a doctor.

That’s all there is to it. If you manage your pain and prevent back injury right now, you’ll be better prepared to deal with the long-term effects of bulging discs later in life.

What Are Your Options For Healing A Herniated Disk?

There are many options for healing a herniated or slipped disc that range from rest and exercise to surgery and experimental trials (in other words, clinical trials testing new medications on humans).

The first and most important thing is to stay positive and be patient. Healing takes time, so give yourself at least a few weeks or even months before deciding what to do next. Here are some things you can try:

1) Rest, rest, and more rest

Spine specialists agree that most back problems get better with time and rest. So, don’t rush into anything too quickly. If you have a herniated or slipped disc that is causing you pain, then your body is telling you that it needs time to heal. Listen to your body and get plenty of rest.

Stop any activity that is causing more pain and focus on activities that feel better. Don’t be surprised if after a few weeks you start feeling better and can return to some physical activity. While this advise may not sound very exciting, it’s often the best thing for back problems.

2) Don’t be afraid to take pain medication if needed

Pain can be a good thing in the short-term because it’s the body’s way of telling you that you’ve done something to it. However, in the long-term constant pain can make it difficult to feel good and function normally. If pain medications given by your doctor or over-the-counter options aren’t working for you, ask your doctor about stronger ones.

3) Ask your doctor about physical therapy

Physical therapy is great for back pain because many of the exercises can be tailored to treat your specific condition. Also, a physical therapist can teach you techniques and exercises to do at home that will improve your strength and flexibility which will help prevent the problem from occurring again in the future.

4) Consider steroid injection

Steroid injections are given to reduce inflammation around a herniated or slipped disc. While they aren’t commonly used anymore for other types of pain, they are still considered the “gold standard” treatment for a pinched nerve because they work very well at reducing inflammation and alleviating pain. A steroid is injected into the area around the spinal nerves either by needle or by surgery. While they can work very well, there is some risk involved because they can cause serious side effects like skin thinning and infection.

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5) Ask your doctor about surgery

There are two types of surgeries used to treat a herniated or slipped disc: fusions and discectomies. A fusion surgery joins two bones together using a bone graft to eliminate any movement in that part of the spine. By eliminating movement, the bones no longer rub together which takes pressure off the spinal cord and nerves. Discectomies are used to remove the herniated portion of a slipped disc to relieve pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.

Both surgeries are effective but success rates vary by age, health and other factors. Like any surgery, they also involve risk and should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

While these tips are certainly helpful, it’s important to remember that everyone recovers at different rates so don’t be discouraged if you aren’t getting better as quickly as others. Your health and well being is the most important thing!

Back Pain Forum Discussions

Doesn’t this sound like a good idea?

Just think about it for a minute. You wake up in the morning and instead of rolling out of bed onto the floor or your bedroom floor, you roll into a harness attached to a bungee cord. Then when you hit the button, the bungee cord rapidly pulls you up to the ceiling.

In addition to stretching your muscles, this system could be used for other things. For instance, it could be hooked up to a toilet paper roll so that you can’t run out.

I’m sure that with a little thinking, there are many other uses as well.

You could have one system for the bedroom and another to tie yourself down in the kitchen so you don’t accidently knock over all your spice bottles while trying to cook.

It would sure make cleaning easier too.

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Anyway, those are just two ideas I had. Hope this helps.

Do you have any ideas of your own?

I don’t know, I mean it sounds good on paper, but there are so many things that could go wrong.

People getting whiplash from bungee jumping comes to mind.

Then, what would you do with all those people at the same time?

You certainly wouldn’t want one tow truck pulling up behind another. There would be traffic jams all over the place.

The harnesses and bungee cord may be expensive too.

Would it really be worth it?

What do you think?

Is this proposal crazy or a good idea?

Hey, I told you that I have a friend who has his masters in engineering from Stanford and he thinks it’s a great idea.

You just need to figure out a way to get the word out to people so that they will want to participate.

Good luck!

Well, if you come up with anything, let me know.

Wishing you the best of luck on this project!

Why don’t you start by telling me a little about yourself?

Great, it’s always nice to put a face to a name.

So what do you think about all this so far?

I’m not quite sure yet. I’m trying to weigh the pros and cons as we speak.

Do you mean with the project or your reason for being here in the first place?

That’s another good question. Let me think about that for a moment.

I don’t mean to be rude, but it’s not like I have anything better to do at the moment.

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. My relationship with my boyfriend is in a bit of a rocky stage as you may have read from my introduction.

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Then there’s the whole issue with my recurring back pain as I mentioned in my post. I’m also trying to decide if I want to be a registered voter this year or not. It’s a pretty big decision and I don’t want to make a mistake.

On top of all that, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was suddenly transported from 2013 to 2053. A part of me still can’t believe it.

And let’s not forget the doctors that I’m still trying to find a good one. They’re hard to come by these days due to malpractice insurance becoming too expensive for most people.

So now you’re asking me if I’m willing to travel back in time.

Geez, what’s wrong with this picture?

I’ll be perfectly honest, I’m still trying to get my mind around the whole idea of time travel. It seems so unreal.

Does it work like in the movies? Will there be a bright flash of light and a spinning tunnel that I have to hold onto or will I just be beamed up like on Star Trek?

Time travel just seems too far-fetched for me.

You’re probably thinking that I’m not very adventurous and you’d be right, but then again who would be in my situation?

I guess it’s all the logical sense I have left since I was suddenly thrust into a whole new world.

So do you think I should take this offer?

Hey, why not?

If nothing else, it would give you something to do.

But, you’re right, the whole idea seems pretty crazy.

Well, I guess if I really think about it, it isn’t that much of a leap of faith compared to what has already happened to me.

What was that line from The Lord of the Rings?

“Tis the fate of our race. To strive against the stream. To seek the unattainable. To pursue that which is always just beyond your reach.”

So what do I do if I decide to accept the proposal?

You just need to let me know that you want to participate and I’ll take it from there.

Hey, this is your choice. I’m not going to make it for you.

Just out of curiosity, what would you think about my decision?

I don’t know. It seems like this is a pretty important decision so I want you to make it for yourself.

But if you really need my opinion, I would say yes because you probably should experience everything that you can while you’re here especially since you may never know what the future may bring.

But again, this is your choice and whatever you decide, I’ll support you in it because ultimately this will be your life not mine.

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Good luck with whatever you decide.

I will be making contact with you within three days if you decide to participate in this project.

Until then, take care.

The computer screen goes blank and I’m left alone to ponder my decision.

I suppose if I really thought about it, accepting Harvey’s offer isn’t really all that crazy. I mean it would give me something to do and after all the weird stuff that’s happened to me in the past two months, a trip to the future wouldn’t be all that surprising.

But then again, time travel still seems pretty far-fetched to me no matter how much I try to rationalize it.

I’ll talk to Jennifer about this. Maybe she can shed some light on the subject since she’s had experience in this field before.

I pull out my cell phone and call her.

“Hello.”

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“Hey, Jennifer, its Kyle.”

Kyle, where are you? What’s going on?

The police are looking all over for you.”

“I’m fine. I just really need to see you face to face to discuss something with you.

Are you at the office right now?”

“Yeah, I’m here working on some things but the police have been monitoring me pretty closely. They’re probably still outside.”

“I’m sure they are, that’s why I’ll come in through the back entrance.”

What? Why would you do that?

If they see you then you’ll be in trouble.”

“I’ll be fine. Look I’ll explain everything when I see you.”

I hang up the phone and take a deep breath before I open the back door and enter the hallway. With any luck, I can slip into the office building unnoticed.

I walk down the dimly lit hallway with my head bowed and hands in my pockets. This is pretty typical behavior for someone like me, so I don’t think the cops monitoring Jennifer will be on to me yet.

As I get closer to the front of the building, I see that there are two cops standing outside of the entrance. I can feel their eyes on me as I walk by so this is going to be a delicate operation.

I put on my sunglasses and try to appear as aloof as possible while strolling past them. They don’t pay too much attention to me though they do stop speaking about whatever case they’re working on.

I get into the elevator and hit the button for the fourth floor. I can feel the stares of the cops through the walls of the elevator and try to just appear as calm as possible despite my accelerated heartbeat.

The doors open and I walk out of the elevator past the two cops still staring at me. I guess they didn’t recognize me or they would’ve said something by now. I walk over to their dispatch desk and see Jennifer speaking with one of them.

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“Jennifer.”

Kyle? What are you doing here? Are you in trouble?”

“No, I just need to speak with you for a moment.

Is there somewhere we can talk in private?”

Jennifer looks at her coworker who nods his head. She gets up and leads me into her office.

As soon as the door is shut, I tell her everything that’s happened since last night. She looks stunned by all this but remains calm.

“Okay, I believe you. But we have to tell the police about this.”

“I can’t Jennifer.

Don’t you see?

If they take me in, I’ll never get back to 2025.”

Jennifer thinks for a moment and then nods her head in agreement with me.

“Okay.

So what do we do?”

“We need to find this guy Harvey and convince him to send me back home.

Do you have any information on him?”

“Not much. Just his first name and that he works at some club called the Yellow Devil Lounge.”

“That’s more than I had before. Let’s go there right now.”

“But it’s afternoon, the club won’t be open now.”

“So we’ll go there in the evening then.”

Jennifer tells me that it’s in a bad part of town and not a great idea to go there after dark. Let alone in the daytime. But because we don’t have much choice, she reluctantly agrees to take me there.

We take an elevator down to the first floor and exit the police station. I see that there are actually a few cops watching us as we leave.

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You really think they’re watching us?”

“Oh I know they are. Which is why we’re not going back to the station. We’re going to my apartment where we’ll have the entire afternoon to prepare.”

We hail a cab to take us to Jennifer’s apartment. Which thankfully isn’t far away.

We enter the building and take the elevator to her apartment. Once inside, I see that it’s pretty nice. And very tidy for a single woman living alone. Not that it really matters, but it shows me that she’s a bit more than just a cop.

She has a life outside of work.

Jennifer asks me if I want anything to eat or drink but all I want is to get back home. She says she understands but that I should at least take a break and sit down. I do so and she turns on the television.

I don’t know what’s on but I’m not really paying attention to it. I’m more thinking about how I’m going to get home and feeling sorry for myself.

So you’re married?”

Jennifer says suddenly.

Huh? What?

Wait…you were watching the television?”

“Yes. I was.”

“Oh…um…yeah my wife is…”

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I stop and think about what I’m going to say.

I mean should I tell her I have a wife or just say girlfriend?

Or maybe I should just explain the situation and be more vague.

What is she to you?”

Jennifer asks again.

What do you mean? You know I came from the future, right?”

“Yeah, and I also know time travel is possible. But not for your wife. At least that’s what you told the officer at the 27th precinct. But now you’re saying your wife is from the future too. Make up your mind which story you’re sticking to because I’m sure the cops are watching.”

“I told them she was my girlfriend because…well it just seemed less strange to say she was my girlfriend. But she really is.

At least I think she is when I left. I haven’t seen her in ten years when she was still young. Now she should be an old woman.”

Jennifer’s eyes widen a bit at my explanation.

“So the girl you knew when you were seventeen is now your…um…fiance?”

“Girlfriend, well until tonight I thought she was but now….”

“Wait, you just assumed that she…nevermind. It’s not my business.”

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It isn’t?”

I meant to say that aloud?

Crap! Now I’ve gone and confused the situation even more. I don’t think Jennifer is interested in me at all. If anything, she probably just feels sorry for me because my wife is dead.

Jennifer doesn’t say anything else to me. Instead she just goes into another room. A moment later I hear her sobbing.

I feel like the worst person in the world right now. I didn’t mean to upset her, in fact I was trying to help by telling her my story. But I’ve only made things worse. I get off the couch and rush into the other room.

“Jennifer, I’m sorry if I…wait are you crying?”

She turns away from me and tries to wipe her tears but it’s no use. She’s sobbing uncontrollably.

I’ve never seen a woman cry like this except on TV. I mean my mom and sister would sometimes but it was rare. It just isn’t something you see every day. And in the past hour I’ve seen two women crying.

Maybe I say something wrong again but I’m really at a loss of what to do.

Should I try to calm her? Should I just leave her alone?

“You’re going to be alright,” is all I can think to say as I pat her on the shoulder.

Jennifer doesn’t look at me but she does calm down a bit. She doesn’t stop crying though and it’s awkward for me since I’m not sure what to do now.

Should I stay or go?

Eventually Jennifer’s tears subside and she heads into the bathroom. I hear the water run and the sound of her blowing her nose. A few minutes later she comes out with red eyes and a red nose but at least she isn’t crying.

“I’m sorry for acting like that,” Jennifer says, “I don’t even know why I did. It’s not even like you killed my fiance or anything like that.”

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You didn’t?”

Jennifer gives me a worried look.

“No, I didn’t,” she says, “Although I wish I did since he was an abusive prick. But that’s all in the past and shouldn’t matter now.”

So you’re not upset about your husband then?”

“Ex-husband actually,” Jennifer says, “and no I’m not upset about him. I’m just upset that you thought I was a married woman looking for an affair. That’s not who I am. At least I don’t think it is. But this is all so confusing and I’m scared. I really need to get home but I have no idea how right now. You seem to be the only person that might be able to help me. I’m sorry to lay all this on you but I don’t know what else to do. I’m frightened about all of this.”

Jennifer’s eyes begin to water again but she quickly turns away to hide it. I rub my hand over my face since I’m not sure what to say or do now.

“Alright,” I say, “Calm down and let me think for a moment. I’ll try to figure something out. But you have to help me though.

I mean are the police after you or something?”

“No, nothing like that. It’s just I don’t know how I got here and I can’t get home by myself.”

Do you at least know where you are?”

“I’m on some island called Catalina if that means anything.”

“Well that’s good at least. You’re not lost at sea or anything like that.

So what’s the worst that could happen? You spend a night in jail or something until we figure this all out?”

Jennifer shakes her head.

“I don’t want to go to jail,” she says, “you don’t know him like I do. He’d find me and do…I don’t know what but it wouldn’t be good.”

Who is after you?”

Jennifer is quiet for a moment. She looks around as if someone might be listening. It’s obvious she isn’t going to tell me no matter what. I’m guessing ex-husbands can be pretty intimidating even when they aren’t present.

“I’ll just say that he found out I was leaving and didn’t want me to,” Jennifer says, “Look, all I really want to do is go home.

Is there any chance you could take me back with you?

I can pay you back for the ticket when I get home, if that’s OK. I just really need to get back right now.”

Jennifer looks at me with hopeful eyes. It’s a lot to take in. She’s trusting me with her life on a vague promise that I’m going to help her get home. I’d hate me too if I was in her shoes.

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“Look,” I say, “I’ll try to see what I can do but I can’t make any promises. My boss is kind of a hard-nose about these things and…well I just don’t know.

But for now you can stay in the store and I’ll go see what I can do, OK?”

“Thank you,” Jennifer says while wiping her eyes, “Thank you so much. I knew I could trust you.”

As Jennifer starts to settle down in the back room of my store I head outside to make a phone call.

“Vic,” I say into the receiver, “This is Ed. I have someone who needs a ride back to the island and I was wondering if you could pick her up.”

Where is she?”

Vic asks.

“She’s in my store. She says she’s lost and her name’s Jennifer, but…well never mind.

I’ll tell you when you get here. Just come soon, I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Don’t worry Ed. I’ll be there in ten minutes.”

With that taken care of I hang up the phone and return to the back room where Jennifer and Lucy are talking. The mood has lightened considerably as if both of them are no longer concerned with whatever issue they had.

“Thanks for doing that,” I say to Jennifer, “I think I convinced Vic to pick you up.”

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“That’s great,” Jennifer says, “I really appreciate it.

I know I’m probably being a bother but is there any way you could help me get home?

It’s the least you could do after all I’ve put you through. I mean you could just drop me off on the side of the road somewhere and I’m sure I’ll be able to get home from there.”

“I don’t think that will be necessary,” I say, “Vic should be here soon. But you never did tell me what happened to you.”

Jennifer thinks for a moment and then looks at me. There’s a faint hint of fear in her eyes as she tells her story.

“I was walking back from the gas station down the road,” Jennifer says, “and these two guys in a black car pulled up beside me and told me to get in. I ran off and they chased me into the woods but I hid and eventually they left.

Have you seen them? Are they gone?”

Jennifer looks frightened again as she clings to her bag. I have to calm her down so I tell her the first thing that comes to mind.

“Don’t worry,” I say, “I haven’t seen them and if they were still around I would’ve chased them off myself. Now you just have to wait for Vic.”

Jennifer nods as Lucy goes over to give her a hug. The two of them seem to have become close in only a few minutes. It’s times like these where I’m glad I have Lucy around. The emotional weight she takes off of me is immense.

As I watch the two girls talk, an old van pulls into the lot. Vic gets out of his van and waves at me from across the lot. He’s an odd looking fellow with a long gray beard and dirty orange hair pulled back in a ponytail. He wears black sleeveless shirt and baggy blue pants that look more like pajamas. His face is weathered and wrinkled but his green eyes shine with intelligence.

Ed,” Vic says, “I’m here for the girl like you said but who are all these people?”

Before I can tell him to get lost Lucy runs up and gives him a hug too.

“That’s Lucy,” I say, “And that’s Jennifer and her mother.”

Jennifer looks at me in disbelief that I would divulge such private information to a stranger. She hugs Lucy from behind in an attempt to hide.

“Jennifer,” I say, “This is Vic. He’s going to take you home.”

Are you sure it’s safe?”

Jennifer asks.

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“One hundred percent positive,” I say, “He’s got an old van with a bunk bed in it and he takes kids around to earn money for his wildlife shelter. He even has the license and insurance to prove it. He’s completely legal.”

Vic flashes a toothy smile and waves. Jennifer is still hesitant.

“Jennifer,” I say, “You have to get in the van before he leaves. It’s your only chance of getting home.

I’ll be right here with you the whole time, OK?”

Jennifer nods and allows Vic to approach. He opens the sliding door to the back of the van and pulls out a bucket of tools before placing it down again.

“Just put your bag in there and make yourself comfortable,” Vic says, “I’ve got some cord that I’ll tie onto your leg so even if you wander off it’ll bring you back. We should reach your home in no time at all.”

Vic grabs a roll of yellow tape and heads over to Lucy.

Excuse me miss,” Vic says, “Could I tape your neck to my wrist?

This way if you wander off I’ll know immediately and we can get you back home.”

Lucy pulls away from Jennifer and allows Vic to tape the two of them together.

“Don’t worry,” Vic says, “I’ll have this off of you in no time.”

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I stand by Jennifer as Vic gets the rest of his tools out of the van.

Why are you helping me?”

Jennifer asks, “You don’t even know me.”

“I don’t need to,” I say, “I help people all the time. I just do it.”

“But why?

Sources & references used in this article:

Crossing the rabbit hole: Autoethnographic life review by C Ellis – Qualitative Inquiry, 2013 – journals.sagepub.com

Down the Rabbit Hole: A Novel by T Hell

Surgery at the BEST Medical Center—Clyde’s Adventures in BEST Land: Down the Rabbit Hole by JP Villalobos – 2012 – books.google.com

Reaching Down the Rabbit Hole: Extraordinary Journeys Into the Human Brain by PR Cohen – Clinics in dermatology, 2018 – Elsevier