No matter how good of shape you’re in, anyone can get a compressed disc. I have one, and I’m a personal trainer. Yet, I’ve been struggling with pain in my hand for years now, all resulting from a single compressed disc in my neck.
Here’s how it works: many of us sit at a desk for hours at a time. I used to do that at my graphic design job. Our muscles start to tighten around our neck and lower back. They compress our spine, and when we move, they contract. This particularly happens if we forget to stretch, which results in less flexibility. If we overreach our bodily boundaries (mind you, aging doesn’t help since our discs lose elasticity and fluid as we grow older), our discs in our spine can bulge and then push on our nerves. This is usually first felt with some tingling, numbness or weakness. There are a lot of people walking around with numb fingers and toes since these nerves hit every part of our body. This can also result in a lot of pain.
There are a few things I recommend to help alleviate compressed discs. First, find out where the disc has slipped. Get an MRI or X-ray so that a medical professional can tell you the exact location of your malfunctioning disc.
From there, I would get therapy. Myofascia release is a great way to find some relief. I would also suggest seeing a physiotherapist and an osteopath who not only stretch your muscles, but also work on calming them (I am not pro-chiropractors). I have two therapists I would highly recommend right here in Hong Kong, Michael Guthrie (physical therapist at Physio Central) and Phillip Clarke (Osteopath at Balance Health). Do exercises that are safe and specially designed for easing the strain on your spine. I am also a huge believer that the way we sleep affects us. I would suggest getting a Tempur-Pedic pillow and adjusting your sleeping position. In addition, there are other therapy methods, such as ice therapy, and medications to soothe the pain. Whatever you do, try to work with a medical professional or licensed therapist and take things one step at a time. And make sure to stretch after doing a workout so that your muscles can be more flexible and back in their longer state. There’s no sense trying to rush through these treatments since it can only result in even greater damage or pain. Surgery would be a last resort but not an uncommon one.
Make sure to find a cure for your pain as soon as you feel it coming on. Too many people just live with the pain and soon enough, it’s irreversible. And there’s no sense not living life to the fullest! Sure, there’s a saying, “no pain no gain.” But we believe you can gain a lot from having no pain at all!