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Navigating the Roadblocks to Progress – How my Herniated Disc Will Not Stop Me from Moving Forwards

And so, last week the inevitable happened.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will know that the main motivator behind my ongoing and relentless quest for health and fitness is to manage pain.

Over twenty years ago I experienced a couple of events that landed me with long term issues in my L4/L5 spine area and my coccyx. As the years have gone by I have ‘put my back out’, by which I mean suffered from a herniated disc, multiple times. Since I started focusing on health and fitness, the occurrences of this have become much less frequent, the pain is less severe and the recovery time is faster. However, every once in a while, BOOM. The resulting aftermath is days and weeks of recovery. Right now, I am lying on my stomach in the lounge writing this because sitting makes my leg go numb and tingly while my herniated disc is pushing on my sciatic nerve.

It’s always something minor that does it, I mean, I’ve hurt my back shifting the cat along the bed, taking off my boots and moving a bucket when washing the car.

The worst part about it is that I can see it coming. In the weeks before an incident, I experience growing discomfort and telltale signs and that’s when I know it’s just a matter of time.

Two years ago I gave up all high impact activity as it was putting too much strain on my back. It was a frustrating time but seemed to do the trick. Recently, as my fitness and strength improved I had reintroduced higher impact activities into my program. I’m not talking hard core here, just few high knees and some light jogging but NO, apparently that’s way to much for my sensitive back and here we are.

So high impact is off the menu again unfortunately, at least until I lose a few more pounds and can try again with a lighter frame putting less stress on the affected area.

In the past, I might have immediately headed for the couch and a couple of weeks of doing nothing but the fitness habits I have developed this year are well and truly entrenched now and my focus is on recovery and moving forwards.

Lying in bed this morning with a numb leg I spent about 10 minutes feeling sorry for myself, I mean this sucks quite a lot. Soon after that, my brain started thinking about how I could keep moving forwards despite my obvious limitations.

I have already started a mental list of what I can and can’t do:

  • Core work on the floor – YES
  • Bent over exercises with weights – NO
  • Floor based or upright weights – YES (if careful)
  • Walking – YES

Combined with anti-inflammatories, the total elimination of sitting and lots of resting, I will be back to a full range of activities (minus the higher impact for a while at least) in a few weeks.

The Year of Transformation was never about just an outwards transformation. It was about changing my inner mindset as well. it was about making a stronger, fitter, more resilient body and mind that remained on course despite setbacks.

Pushing the Flywheel is never dependent on the surface of the road. Sometimes the path is smooth and progress is fast, sometimes the path is rough and slow. In some cases, the path is impassible and you have to go backwards to go forwards. What’s important is to never stop pushing, regardless of whether you have to do it from the floor or not.

At the very least, my injury has given me something to write about.

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