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Day 1 - 28 Year Old Herniated Disk.

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Ben11, Sep 27, 2022.

  1. Ben11

    Ben11 Newcomer

    7 months ago I hurt my back when playing golf. Immediately after I went straight to the physio. After not being able to get off the couch for 3 or 4 days I was back at work (bartending,) taking anti inflammatories and pain killers for a week or 2.

    After a couple of weeks the pain in my lower left back had mostly gone and the discomfort was in my left glute/hamstring. Was doing an intensive physio programme and after 8 weeks the pain was quite a bit better and was back playing golf.

    After a night out I woke up and the sciatic pain had moved from my left side to my right which I got told could have happened. After that I was seeing a chiro/osteo/phsio/personal trainer/naturopath and anyone else you could have saw. The pain was fine during the day and then during work I would take an anti inflammatory and it would be fine until the end of my shift. Then as soon as I got home and sat/laid down I would be in agony. I put this down to being on my feet for 8 hours and doing a lot of bending at work. During this time I was still golfing during the day.

    Come the middle of July I got a CAT scan showing a moderate to severe disc protrusion (herniation) L5-S1. The pain was still ok during the day but no good at night.

    At the end of July I went home for 3 weeks to the UK for my brothers wedding. Went to Greece and the whole trip was meant to be fantastic. I couldn't wait for the trip as I thought 3 weeks off work would sort my back out. However, during the trip I didn't do much exercise and was flying a-lot. My back was hurting a-lot. A couple of days before I was flying back to Canada I was playing on the beach and after I stopped I was in tremendous pain. A flare up. I'd been warned if I didn't keep up with my exercises this would happen. The trip had been a bit of a disaster because of the back pain, lack of sleep and a very bad mouth ulcer. However the 2 days building up to the flare up had finally been enjoyable. I was so angry. Couldn't believe what I had done and the panic kicked in. I tried to walk it off and get on with it. Jumped on a plane a couple days later to Canada, 22 hour travel day and I wasn't in too much discomfort during the flight. Strange.

    Since then I went back to work and tried to keep up with exercises. Got told by my physio that it's just a flare up and it won't be as bad as the first time and won't take long to get back to golf etc. However 6 weeks down the line i've had to take 3 weeks off work (which I never had to do before.) The pain is the worst it's ever been. I still have a few hours most days when it's not too bad and then in the evenings it's horrific. Have been getting spasms and had pain/tingling travelling further down my leg than it use to. Been brought to tears on many occasions and am just going round and round with so many emotions and anger as the pain just won't get better. The fact that after the flare up 6 weeks ago I was able to walk up my local hill every morning for a few days completely pain free doesn't make sense to me. Surely the pain should be getting better not worse like when I first had a back issue 7 months ago.

    Have been doing research and practice of the mind body approach for the last month. Reading books, success stories but haven't had much luck. I doubled up on the anti inflammatories and pain killers but they did nothing. I had a cortisone injection 3 weeks ago which also didn't help at all. I haven't taken any medication in over 2 weeks.

    My biggest hurdle is the fact that I can't get the structural side of the problem out of my mind. I'm incredibly angry, stressed, frustrated and have suffered from health anxiety since my dad passed away 5 years ago. I'm only 28 and have never had any back pain before. I've always managed to deal with any injury I've had through sport with a physio and this is what is confusing/aggravating me. I can't remove the option of me having done more damage to my back on the beach and during the long flights from my mind even though I know that the level of stress and anger I have is causing a lot of tension in my body as-well.

    All I do is think what I should be doing (golf, working a lot, being excited for ski season etc) and am struggling and have always struggled to live in the present.

    Going to give this structured daily programme a go. If anyone has any thing to mention about my story that would be greatly appreciated. I'm so angry at myself and can't stop thinking back to when I carried on swinging the golf club when I first felt a bit of a pinch before I injured it. Not being able to forgive myself and having so much guilt I believe to be one of my biggest issues as well as catastrophising everything due to the health anxiety.

    Sorry for the long post and thanks for taking your time to read.

    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    These things are only the first step, and sometimes individuals without a lot of emotional trauma other than a current stressor (such as a bad job or relationship) will experience recovery from sudden-onset symptoms just by doing this much. The loss of a parent in your early 20s, followed by health anxiety, and now these issues, is an indicator that you have to do more, and go deeper. The SEP is the place to start that journey, so be sure to give yourself plenty of credit for opening up your mind to do this work! That's half the battle right there.

    The hard part about the SEP for many people is that when they get to the writing exercises, their fearful TMS brains talk them into not taking the exercises seriously, to rush through them ("let's hurry up and get this over with so we can move on to something better) and, most importantly, their brains edit what they are willing to put down on paper. Do not be fooled! When I realized that my brain was literally telling me "Oh, no - don't put THAT down, I'm sure it's not that important, let's just ignore it and move on" it was a revelation. And then it was really surprising how HARD it was for me to force myself to write those things down anyway! The funny thing is that they weren't particularly earth-shattering - but they did represent childhood incidents and relationships that my brain didn't want me to remember, usually due to minor shame and guilt. Getting a better picture of my childhood sense of myself and my place in my family was ultimately revealing and freeing - and explained a lot about my adulthood experiences. This is hugely important to doing this work.

    Your health anxiety, as I think you already understand, is a reflection of the inherent fear we all have, of mortality - a fear that our culture likes to repress. You might find the fairly simple premise of Existential Psychotherapy to be useful, which is to examine a life event, such as your father's death, in relation to each the four core human issues, which are: Isolation/Abandonment, Meaning, Freedom, and Mortality. The early death of a parent will squarely hit three of those issues (perhaps not Freedom).

    You will want to look in particular at Abandonment and Isolation. I lost my father when I was 30, which certainly felt like abandonment, as we were very close, and even though it was a somewhat long illness, the sudden loss of half of my roots left me feeling quite isolated and vulnerable. These are significant emotions, which must be fully acknowledged in order to heal.

    Good luck!


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