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CT to manage back and sciatic pain

Discussion in 'Cold Thermogenesis' started by Nate A, Jul 7, 2012.

  1. Nate A

    Nate A New Member

    Hi all ~ I still have quite a bit of reading to do on this site, so I apologize for asking questions that I could probably find answers to on my own after some thorough research. Thing is, I'd like to start doing CT tonight in order to try and help alleviate some bad back and sciatic pain I'm suffering through right now.



    A little background - I had a microdiscectomy performed on my L4/L5 this past January. The surgery was great for getting rid of my degenerative disc pain and did cure my sciatica pain - briefly. For the sake of brevity, I'll skip all the details, but once again, I have herniated my L4/L5 and have a bulging L5/S1. I am now suffering from sciatica down my left leg which becomes bilateral as the day wears on. It's far worse now than it was the first go round. This was all confirmed by an MRI last week. Docs want to go conservative with treatment once again, which I'm fine with, as the surgery was not fun (I was actually wheeled in for emergency surgery - it got that bad last time). Thing is, nothing about the conservative approach last time worked, and I tried everything available to me here in Germany (I'm an American living and working here).



    I currently am on no medication to help out. German docs don't believe in using narcotics for pain relief and NSAIDs do diddly squat for me, besides irritate my stomach. I'm hoping CT can help.



    I can stand cold very well, so I want to jump right in. I don't have much fat on me anymore (been Paleo for two years), but still should be fine with submerging myself. I can have my wife help get me in and out of our deep tub. I guess I'm just looking for any tips or tricks or suggestions on what I should try. Water temp, length of time, do I need to wear wool knickers/hat/shirt/socks or can I just go in naked? Any help would be appreciated.



    thank you!
     
  2. Huck

    Huck Silver

    I had severe back and sciatica pain and 2 doctors said I needed to have surgery. Being the stubborn person I am, I went fishing.



    When I got back, I started swimming 5 times a week. One leg just kind of dragged along so I was swimming with my arms and 1 leg. When I finished swimming, I went to the jacuzzi and tried to stand on my toes. In other words, go from flat footed to raised heels. At first nothing happened because the nerve wasn't responding, but over a few weeks I got to where I could get up on my toes. Doctors had both told me i would never get nerve sensation back, but I did.



    Back is not perfect, but other than a little stiffness, it is fine. I remember also using a lot of ice on my back, to the point it numbed the nerves.
     
  3. PrimalPam

    PrimalPam Silver

    Nate, I saw your other post in "Ask Jack", and I read with interest, as I just re-herniated my disc (is that the proper way to say it?) last Sunday. Happened 2 years ago, and this was the 2nd time. Improper lifting; trying to clean out my closets and lift all the heavy boxes and file cabinets; yes, I was rounding my back, not bending my knees. Was in excruciating pain, could barely get off the couch.



    I've been full-tub CT'ing 5 x/week for 3 weeks (52F, 40 mins), and I was so upset that I couldn't do it on Sunday. In fact, I haven't gotten into a tub yet. I'm too afraid I won't be able to get out! But the spot-ice CT does help a lot: Whenever you can, lay on your stomach and put ice packs on the areas. Do not use heat. If you internet search "Lower back pain", you will find more and more advice NOT to use heat, but rather ice. Duh....they're all realizing that heat only draws blood to the surface, temporarily making you feel better, but ice actually lowers inflammation. My entire family came in town this week for the 4th, and my dad showed up with his heat pack strapped to his back. I told him to throw that thing in the trash and go buy the gel flexible ice packs instead.



    If you have a spotter (i.e. your wife) to help you in & out of the tub, by all means, do it. Get the water down to around 50F and spend 45 mins to an hour every day, plus the spot CT.



    I'm going in the tub today for the first time in almost a week (it's only been 6 days; it feels like months because I really miss it!), as I finally feel like I'll be able to move.



    I, like you, am not on any medication. Even the first day, I refuse to take NSAIDS. However strange this sounds, I like to actually FEEL my pain, so I can feel if I get better. I haven't taken so much as a Tylenol in over 20 years and don't want to start now. I've been, all week, practicing getting up from the chair, picking things up off the floor, etc., using only my legs and not rounding my back. It has helped, along with the spot CT.
     
  4. Nate A

    Nate A New Member

    Huck and Pam,



    thank you for the replies. Swimming is out of the question right now for me. There is a pool in the town to the south of me, but with 5 month old twin daughters, it's out of the question for now. I just don't have the time or the means of getting there while my wife is at the office.



    Pam - I've been icing my lower back every hour and a half to two hours for 20 minute intervals. Lying on my stomach is very uncomfortable for me right now, so I've been doing it stretched out in my recliner which is the best way I've found yet. I will be climbing in to the tub before bed tonight also, hoping that can help me with the pain and get some rest. It's been really hard to sleep since re-injuring my back, as I'm sure you know! I learned about the no heat thing when I went through all this crap with my back previously, but it's good to hear it reaffirmed.



    I know what you mean about feeling the pain, but sometimes, it's nice to have something to take the edge off. I've been living with chronic pain due to various maladies for nearly two decades - and it gets old. If it weren't for the horrendous gout that I suffered with for 16+ years, I may have discovered just how bad my back was earlier. Instead, I just ignored it. Then, by going Paleo, I was able to curb the gout attacks for good, and my back pain took center stage. I've also suffered a lot of other injuries, had three knee surgeries (probably having a fourth soon), two jaw surgeries, broken bones, etc... Injury prone? Who me? One of my problems right now is that I can't use my knees to even bend to pick anything up due to the lateral meniscus being torn in the right one. Oh, the irony. Doing stretches to help my back and I tear my meniscus? jeez..... and I'm only 38.



    I'll try the CT tonight and report back tomorrow. I really hope it helps, but I'm not expecting much from just one try. Thanks a lot for the advice and I hope your CT goes well! Here's to healing up as soon as possible!
     
  5. PrimalPam

    PrimalPam Silver

    Re: CT. Treat it like Paleo: a lifestyle choice. Not something just to do when the pain flares up. Dr. K. says 2-5 x/week. I aim for 5 x/week, and I treat it like I used to treat my aerobic exercise (that I no longer do...I mean, how many cavewomen did jazzercise? lol). So, the CT is something that's part of most of my days: I eat my dinner, then get into the tub for 40 mins. It helps remove toxins, lowers inflammation, helps sleep dramatically.



    In fact, I attribute CT to the fact that this week, even though my back was in such pain, that I was able to sleep through every single night. I'd wake up and realize that I just couldn't get out of bed easily: I'm sure you know the drill: prop myself up on my arms, swing my legs out, move extremely slowly. But during the night, I didn't wake once.



    So treat CT as an adjunct to your already terrific choice of Paleo eating. Lots of high quality proteins and fats and CT = a healthy lifestyle.
     
  6. Nate A

    Nate A New Member

    That's good advice, Pam. I think I will make CT part of my daily routine as I really enjoyed it last night. I'm a bit weird and had no problem with full immersion in 55 to 60 degree water for 30 minutes last night. It did help me get to sleep a lot easier, although I did wake up a few times from back spasms and pain. It's also why I'm up at 5am this morning too. Damn back.....



    The tub was a bit awkward to get in and out of and I did get impatient filling it, using some warmer water to finish it off. I think I can get the water down to 50 easy enough, I'll just have to start filling earlier. My wife swears that the water was more like 40, but after years of surfing in places such as Oregon, Alaska, and Northern Japan, I can gauge water temps quite well. I am going to pick up a thermometer today or tomorrow just to make sure, though.



    Thanks again for the info and advice. I will continue to check in here and let you know how things go!
     
  7. PrimalPam

    PrimalPam Silver

    Re: Getting in & out of the tub. Sounds like your tub is a lot deeper than mine (mine is a standard-sized tub). Make sure your wife is around to help you. I didn't CT for a week in the tub because I'm single and was worried I wouldn't be able to get out! But I did it yesterday, and it was fine. And my back does feel better today.



    I know what you mean about getting impatient while the water fills the tub. My tap is coming out over 80F these days, so it takes a lot of ice to get it to the low 50's. I go ahead and get in as soon as I turn the tap on, so I can soak up all the CT goodness. :) I throw all the ice in, then turn the tap on, then get in. The initial water temp is much lower, due to less warm tap water, and it evens out at the low 50's. But that way, I have more cold water over my lower body while it fills.



    I'd aim for 45 to 60 mins in the low 50's (and yes, buy a thermometer; I've become obsessed with checking it every 10 mins or so). You can make ipod playlists, read a book, or just close your eyes and meditate to pass the time. Do this about 5 x/week and I really think you'll see results.



    I do hear you on back pain waking you up. People who don't have back pain just don't understand this. I do, literally, feel your pain.
     

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