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Bay window seating question

Hello,         I'm hoping somebody can shed some light on a project I want to do. A new property I'm moving into has bay windows and I want to build a seat for the Mrs. to read and relax on, however any time I look for instructions it has you attach the seat to the wall. Would there be any detriment to simply building a seat in the shape of the wall and just pushing it against the wall without installing it permanently? I'm renting this place and don't fancy having to rip this out of the wall if they don't want to keep it. Thanks, Adam

Topic by AdamF138    |  last reply


Maker Faire 2009: The Window Lady

Janay Rose, aka The Window Lady, was biking around Maker Faire with her load of beautiful hats, waist cinchers, and other bits of clothing made from reused ties. How awesome is that?

Topic by canida  


Upgrading wireless card? Answered

I bought an Atheros wireless-N mini PCI-E card for an HP DV7 series laptop, to replace the Broadcom wireless-G card, however, when installed, I just get a bios error "unsupported network card". I removed it and restarted with the original card and it works fine. I trhen tried installing the card live, and it detected it and installed the software, but then BSOD (my first one for Windows 7 actually), so I swapped back to the original card again. I then installed the card in the secondary bay, live, and it installed the drivers successfully, but when swapped with the original card again (the wires don't reach to the other bay), it failed to boot again. How can I replace the original card?

Question by andy70707    |  last reply


Keeping Argentine ants out of a home?

Does anyone have firsthand experience at keeping Argentine ants out of a home? I've read several websites that all seem to give a laundry list of household substances one can use to keep them at bay, but nothing saying "I've tried this for Argentine ants, and it works". I've tried ant traps, which work for a little while, and I've tried pepper, which didn't really work at all. Ideally, I'd like to put something around doors and windows to keep them out, but if there are other methods, I'm open to those too. Any help is appreciated!

Question by drknotter    |  last reply


See how it all began (but please don't visit!)

A news article on Nature today reports a find of living, growing stromatolites in an Andean saline lake (first image). Stromatolites are layered growths of cyanobacteria (photosynthesizing algae), and constitute some of the oldest (3.5 Gya!) macroscopic fossils known (second image).Update: My writeup above might be a bit misleading. This is not the only known stromatolite colony; Shark Bay, Australia, is the most well known, and there are a few in South Africa. This discovery is important both because of the altitude, and because it's an inland site without contamination.Note: If you don't understand some of the words above, open a new browser window, type "wikipedia" in the search bar, then cut and paste the big words into Wikipedia.

Topic by kelseymh    |  last reply


2013 Pre-Maker Faire Ice Cream Social!

In town for the Bay Area Maker Faire next weekend?  Come to our annual Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream Social! There will be: Liquid nitrogen Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen Pizza (not made with liquid nitrogen) Beverages (possibly made with liquid nitrogen) Authors and other interesting people (playing with liquid nitrogen) Also, we may have some liquid nitrogen When:  5-8pm, Thursday, May 16, 2013  Where:  Instructables HQ, 82 2nd St, SF, CA (look for the big robot on the window!) Come see our lab, meet some amazing people, eat pizza and ice cream, meet the Instructables team, and take advantage of your last chance to really decompress before the craziness that is Maker Faire. If you can make it, please RSVP to: LN2 @ (instructables.com)     <-- slightly obfuscated to avoid spambots! so I can order enough pizza for the crowd!   We're looking forward to meeting you! Christy and the rest of the Instructables team

Topic by canida    |  last reply


Disk boot error? Answered

Last night, I wanted some files off my laptop drive, so I stuck it in an external enclosure and plugged it into my desktop (whilst on). I then turned off the desktop without unplugging my laptop drive and turned it on again today, forgetting to unplug it. I have USB booting enabled, so it tried to boot from the laptop drive and as I was out of the room when it was booting, it entered the recovery partition as the hardware is incompatible. I have done this before, so I just turned off my computer, unplugged the drive, and restarted. Instead of booting from my primary internal drive, it got stuck on the post screen. It detected it, but wouldn't go any further. I then thought that it was still looking for the USB drive, so changed the boot order and removed usb boot, same problem. Removing my primary drive just returned the error "disk boot error, insert boot drive and press enter to continue", so I inserted the primary hard drive (I have it in a hot-swap bay, so it can easily be removed, although being my primary hard drive, not "hot"). After doing so, it kept returning a similar error. I then figured that it was still looking for my laptop drive as a primary boot device, so I cleared CMOS with the jumper and after setting it up again, disabling every other bootable interface except the sata port my primary drive is connected to, and it still just gets stuck on post. I have left it about 10 mins and still get the same problem. It is also hard to enter BIOS or any of the other utilities, as it waits until after post, so I have to either remove all drives or insert the laptop drive in it's enclosure. How can I get my desktop to boot from the primary hard drive again? Inserting the install disk is also hard, because I don't actually have a DVD drive yet, so I installed Windows 7 extended trial through a memory stick from my laptop with a disk drive. I have since deleted it off my memory stick, and my laptop is now in pieces hooked up to my monitor/keyboard/mouse instead of my desktop. It is on it's back and the hard drive bay is open in case I need it again. My BIOS is award with additional features on a Gigabyte GA-H55M-USB3 board. Both drives are Hitachi sata-II drives, one being 3.5" and one being 2.5".

Question by andy70707    |  last reply


Mosaics and Lead lighting.

Hi all. I am  a new member with tons of creativity inside me. I create stuff from other peoples junk. For many years I have wanted to turn my hand at Mosaics and Lead Lighting. I want to create a beach scene in Mosaic of Shoalwater Bay/ Penquin Island which is near Rockingham, Western Australia. I already have painted a 16 foot by 7 mural of this idyllic part of the world on my lounge room wall. Looks magnificent. I want the mosaic to be at least 4 feet by 3 feet. How do I stop the mosaic from sliding off the mounting board? Do I drill a myriad of small hole into the board so as to give the medium purchase? Also I want to make Lead Light full window coverings, from 2 feet square up to 4 feet square. Are there any members who would like to give me some clues on how to begin? In researching accessibility of stain glass I have not had a lot of success here in Perth, Australia. Maybe I need to go to junk yards? Thank you for reading my request. Anticipation is high that I will actually begin creating my creations. Bretrick

Topic by bretrick    |  last reply


Autodesk: Art Residency of Generosity

I’ve had the good fortune to participate in many art scenes over the last 15 years. These range from making large-scale fire installations at Burning Man, in proto-hacker spaces (2001-2003), a rigorous MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2004-2006), and a professional and international new media art career (2007-2012). What fuels my creativity is an ongoing quest for communities that support new modes of engagement: repurposing new technologies for art, encouraging others to make and asking why it is important for us not to simply be cultural consumers. I strongly believe we need ongoing DIY culture coupled with critical thinking to keep our society vibrant. In 2012, I took a break from my usual new media art practice of showing in museums and galleries. I felt like the art world — for a variety of reasons — was sequestered and wasn’t reaching as wide an audience as it could. A friend of mine forwarded me a job posting for a New Media Exhibit Developer at the Exploratorium. I applied for the job and got it. At this world-famous science museum, I learned about interfacing my art ideas to the public sphere. I worked with scientists around ideas of data visualization in Life Sciences. I designed exhibits that would last for the long-term rather than a 1 month exhibition. This changed my art practice so that I begin thinking about work that had a broad appeal: from school kids to the elderly, and above all else to value curiosity. After my fixed-term position at the Exploratorium was over, I began a residency at Autodesk, which intrigued me because it was my first artist residency in a corporate environment and they also had unbelievable resources. I expected to be in an amazing shop environment but also to be interacting with suit-and-tie corporate types. I certainly got the former but the Pier 9 environment surprised me. Everyone from the engineers to other artists to the marketing folks were curious about creative uses for 3D technologies could be used. Pier 9 was more a laboratory than a shop. With the Instructables-writing directive, it was also one where people shared their ideas rather than hoarded. Within my first week, I adjusted my expectations. The secret about Pier 9: It’s not about the tools but about the people. Yes, the water jet is amazing and I’ve fallen in love with 3D-printing, but more than anything there is a cross-section of smart and kind people, ranging from traditional artists, new media artists, various flavors of makers as well as engineers. Everyone has some sort of skill, ranging from drawing to fashion design to 3D modeling. No one knows everything. We all check our egos at the door. “What are you working on?” is the question we all ask one another. Each day, I’m surprised by someone’s ideas. The enthusiasm in the space is infectious. In those rare moments when I’m alone at Pier 9, I can gaze out the window at the Bay Bridge, where I feel connected to the rest of the world. I’ve been amazed by my co-resident’s projects ranging from the Playa-inspired costumes by Mikaela Holmes and futuristic fashion by Anouk Wipprecht to the playful work by Paolo Salvagione to the material experiments by Andreas Bastian. There are many more...too many to call out everyone. We work very, very hard. Yet, the environment is casual. When you have an problem there are people to help, and conversely, when someone is stuck on a project, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing to help them out. I never wear my headphones. Generosity fuels this community. There is no single type of artist that comes to this residency, which makes for intersecting circles. I’ve listened to many others. I’ve had to explain my conceptual practice. I’ve been (happily) forced to re-conceptualize my own artwork. I still don’t have the answers to my concerns about art-sequestering, but this is the right place for me to be. With this residency, I’ve found the path that I’ve been long searching for. Thank you. Scott Kildall

Topic by scottkildall    |  last reply


Where to buy JB Weld

I tend to do a good bit of research when I purchase anything. I will spend hours finding the deal that will save me five cents. While this doesn't make much financial sense for me, maybe it will end up being worth it if you can save a few cents in the process!The only step to this instructable is a list of the best places I've found to purchase JB Weld. For those who are not familiar with JB Weld, it is, simply put, God, in a tube. It is an epoxy that when mixed (and mix quickly, you only have about 20 minutes of pliability) will set within 4-6 hours, and cure within 24. Once cured, it has the strength of steel, can bind with glass, and neatest of all, is actually conductive enough to use as solder!Note that I'm only referring to the original JB Weld, model 8265 (and 8265-S). I find the stick version doesn't adhere as well, and the "Kwick" version isn't as strong. I also tend to be stubborn and just stick with what I'm comfortable with.Since the invention of Duct Tape (genuflect) nothing has been so valuable to mankind. Thus, it's not surprising to find it anywhere from $9.99 a tube, up to $14.99 per tube. So how much should you be paying for your J.B. Weld?If ordered online, you can get it for as little as $2.95 per tube!Note: These prices are only accurate as of the posting of this instructable (29 June 2009)Okay, so if you've come this far, $2.95 per tube sounds pretty exciting. Keep in mind though that you're also going to end up dealing with shipping, so we'll see what the end result will be. When in doubt, if you have a local Ace Hardware, Lowes, Home Depot, etc. look there first. You avoid shipping, and the Ace online outlet sells it for as little as $3.25 per tube (No idea why nobody else, including Sears, KMart, Target, etc. carries it online). If you can find it in the store for that price, that would be your best bet. But assuming you don't have a local Ace Hardware, or since they're locally owned the Franchise Owner is a prick that overprices things, let's see how the following websites work out.First, it's important to note that while you will find many other places online that claim to sell the JB Weld for as little as $2.95 per tube, just try to purchase them. I'll wait... Back? So as you saw, 99.9% of these sites use the Amazon.com checkout system, and only allow ONE TUBE AT A TIME to be purchased. They then hit you with a $4.99 shipping fee for each pop, and now you're back to paying $8 per tube.On to the real suppliers:#1) Tool Explosion - The best price I've found with free shipping, but their free shipping minimum purchase is $100, and their JB Weld was only $3.76 per tube when last checked! One of the better deals out there. Between $100-$130 worth, this was the best deal I could find.#2) Alexandria General Supply - To get the $2.95 price here, you have to buy in 6 packs, otherwise it's more expensive. But hey, more JB Weld can only be a good thing. They seem to have a starting-rate of $17.05 for shipping, which is nearly as much as the 6-pack of JB Weld, making them almost $6 per. However, the more you order, the price of shipping will actually start to go DOWN. At 7 cases (42 tubes), it dropped to $7.41 for shipping making it $3.12 per tube, and at 20 cases, it was only up to $8.16 for shipping, making bulk purchases very much worth it. At $131.31 for 42 tubes, this was the best deal out there, and only gets better the higher you go. They do not accept PayPal, but do accept all major credit cards.#3) Ace Hardware Outlet - Don't ask me why AceHardware.com doesn't carry it, but AceHardwareOutlet does, but I'm not going to argue. At its respectable price of $3.39 per tube, it's not a bad deal if you're buying in bulk. Unfortunately, for just a single tube to ship, you're looking at $6.39 for shipping. The shipping rates only slowly go up the more you pile on, so if you're doing some shopping for some other hardware, Ace is The Place... For Me... (Plus, they take PayPal!) For individual tubes assuming you can't find anything locally, this is the best price going. At least buy 2 or 3 tubes at a time to make the shipping worth it, though.#4) Hands-On Tools - Another site with fair shipping, and a decent price of $3.66 per tube. Not much to say about this one, except that they seem to be one of the more reputable sites selling the weld for a good price. They work with the BBB and have a good rating, accept PayPal, and give you percentage discounts the more you buy. All around a solid company.#5) Castle Wholesalers - One of my personal favorites (since they are located near me, mostly) selling the JB Weld at $3.47 per tube. However, do keep in mind that you have a $25 minimum order here. Their prices are pretty standard for shipping, so you can add about $1 per tube once you've bought the requisite $25 worth. The more you buy, the cheaper the shipping gets per tube, as well. Only Visa and Mastercard accepted.#6) College Toolbox - While their price isn't the best, it's still a fun site with some decent stuff at fair prices. At $4.11 per tube, it's not necessarily worth the purchase here unless you find enough of their gear to get the "$150 purchase gets free shipping" thing. (And they take PayPal)In closing, if needing just a tube or two, your best bet is always going to be to shop locally, and buy from a hardware store. But once you start getting into the $5 and $6 price range, there are some decent places online to pick it up (if you don't mind the wait). Always take shipping into account, and always avoid Amazon.com and their Affiliate's rip-off schemes. If you see the Amazon logo, run far and fast (or at least close the window). E-Bay is equally a rip-off, only moreso as you're starting at the $9.99 level, and then tacking shipping onto that.For the hobbyist that understands the glory that is JB Weld, drop the $130 and get enough JB Weld to last you for a long, long time. For all others, I would recommend avoiding purchasing it online unless you absolutely can't find it for a fair price in your local stores (I can't stress that enough. Shipping is the debbil.)Hope this helps someone, and if anyone finds a better price, feel free to include it in the comments and I'll add it to the list!

Topic by Javin007    |  last reply


One of My Stories

I'm usually not one to write but...I don't know I guess I just had an idea for a story that might be good if I continued it. Right now the one below is still being worked on theres some parts that still don't sound right or are missing something. I also really shouldn't say "stories" because truly this is my only one. Anyway, just thought I'd share it. Any ideas for how to take the plot further would be greatly appreciated. Here it goes: My over-active imagination was running away with me again. I've woken up twice in the last hour to something...I can't explain the sound. I just want to sleep until morning and have been doing my best to ignore it, but it just keeps getting louder. Alright, thats it. I shoved off the covers and expertly dodged the piles of clothes that seem to grow bigger over night, to the door. Slowly, I turned the knob. It creaked. I breathed sharply through my teeth hoping nobody heard. Then again, who couldn't hear whatever that racket is? I nudged open the door and slipped into the hallway. It was dark but I wouldn't dare risk turning on the light. Luckily, the big bay window downstairs cast a light over the steps. Jeez, I never knew a house could have so many things that creaked. So I took the stairs two at a time to just cut down on noise. From where I stood, at the base of the stairs, It sounded like the noise was coming from the kitchen, though it was muffled. As I walked into the kitchen, I looked around. Nothing too out of the ordinary. Plates are still stacked up in the sink, waiting to be cleaned. The trash still needs taken out, but what's that sound? Wait, the trash...oops. I don't want that to still be here when Dad wakes up. I was supposed to take it out after dinner, well guess I'll take it out now... I bent down and jerked up the bag. It seemed heavier than normal but I didn't take that into mind. We did have a big dinner that night. I opened the back door to the night. The air was crisp and cool. It was the middle of fall and already it gets to be almost freezing at night. I shivered then walked quickly down the steps and down the sidewalk, careful to not let the bag scrape the ground. Heaving the heavy bag in the trash can, I looked around. It's been awhile since I've been up this late. I'm glad I'm usually not, it's eerie out here. Everything is quiet, there's not a person in sight, the road seems to just go on into the darkness. What makes it especially creepy though is that now that same sound is coming from the trash can in front of me. I just stood and stared. I have to see what it is. What if it is something alive and it needs help? Shakily I reached out and pulled off the lid. It fell to the ground with a loud clang, but I don't care. Now my curiosity was over coming the fear. Slowly, I reached up, untied the bag and looked inside. Then woke up. I reached down and unplugged my blaring alarm clock, not trying to even look for the button that would shut it up. Groggily, sitting up, I remembered the dream. I've been having weird dreams like that. Ever since we moved into our new...well new to us, but still old house. So I tried not to give it much thought. As I lumbered out of bed I could smell the aroma of breakfast come from the kitchen. I was hungry and the smell didn't help me whatsoever. I quickly pulled on a pair of jeans and the shirt I wore yesterday, then rushed out of my room, glancing at the mirror in the hall. Staring back at me was a kid who looked like he hadn't slept in years. My black hair was out in every direction and I had a looked like I was about to fall asleep right then and there. Well, good thing it's a Saturday! I was just starting to turn around to head downstairs when I saw my dad at the bottom of the steps holding a trash bag. "Crud", I said under my breath. I guess my dream was right... Silently I walked down the stairs. He didn't have to say a word. I took the bag out of his hands and headed out back. Lifting up the lid to the trash can I remembered my dream. What was in that bag? I looked around quickly. No one in sight. I undid the strings and looked inside the dark bag. Nothing but trash. Sigh. I almost wished there was something in there. Just to add some excitement to my week. With a dad being an ex-NAVY Sgt. He liked to keep everything on schedule and organized. for him everyday was nearly the same. Me? I'm anything but organized. Him being like that bugged me. I like change once in a while. Not just the same humdrum stuff everyday. But I'm used to it. "Matt?"-I nearly knocked over the trash can. "Are you OK?" My sister was standing beside me with a curious look on her face. I hadn't realized I had my head still in the trash bag for nearly five minutes. "Yeah, I'm fine." She still had that weird look, " Why did you have your head in the trash?" "I...uh...how 'bout you go inside and get some breakfast?" She didn't say anything. She just slowly turned around, still confused. For once she didn't keep asking me. Normally, If she asked something she wouldn't shut up until she got an answer. I shook my head. Why do I always do that? I get thinking about something and then sort of zone off. It's embarrassing sometimes, like just now. "Matt, get in here!" Bah, I did it again. I ran inside. It looked like I missed breakfast. All the plates were put up besides mine. I sighed, and then threw my plate in the microwave. “ Hey, Trash Sniffer!” I turned around , my younger brother Aaron was looking up at me grinning. “ What were you doing in the trash?” “ I was…um…thinking.” “In the trash?” “You won’t leave until you get an answer, will you?” He just stood there, still grinning. “ Fine, I was daydreaming again about a dream I had.” I glanced at him. He now had a more serious look. “ You said you didn’t have those dreams anymore.” Then I realized I shouldn’t have said that. Remembering how when I first told him about the weird dreams and how they about scared him to death. He would wake up every morning worrying about if I had a bad dream. I ended up lying to him that I didn’t have those dreams and that he helped make them go away. Now, I could tell he was already starting to worry. I quickly said, “ No, no, not one of those dreams. It was a nice one and I was just trying to remember it. “Really?” He said glancing up at me. I nodded. “Ok, I just didn’t want you to have bad dreams again.” And with that he turned and walked away. Crazy 6 year olds.

Topic by Rockerx    |  last reply


Damaged disc(s) in the lower back - what to do and what not ;)

I got diagnosed with a damaged L5 and L6 disc in my lower back about 8 years ago and I thought writing about my experience might helps others facing the same problems. Keeping your back straight when lifting or moving heavy things was a thing I already learned and followed during my school times and as you might have guessed it helped to keep my back healthy - at the expense of my knees... But the knees are a different story, today I want to help you understand lower back problems caused by damaged or bulging discs and how this will affect your life. For me it began with a little shock. One day I got out of bed, wanted to grab something I dropped and got stuck half way up. Knowing that there are some nerves that can cause the same issue and that a simple injection will fix me I called a cab to be dragged laying down on the back seat to my GP. As you might have guessed his diagnosis was a bit worse than what I wanted to hear... Many painful hours and some scans later it was confirmed that my L5 and L6 disk have collapsed on one side and started to push on the nerves next to it. Funny side not that I never really checked was that my doc said not everyone has a L6 disk... Anyways, as with most first "accidents" involving your lower back the so called recovery was long and painful. Sure the painkillers help to numb the worst, the anti inflammatory stuff covers some pain too but actually I did not want the full pain free package deal. Pain is the bodies way to let you know something is wrong, so I kept the pain medication at a level where I got that information when making a wrong move... The first 6 months I was literally confined to my bed, the shower and the toilet. I tried to keep a position with the least amount of pain for as long as possible and for obvious reasons was not too happy that my body not only required food intake but also the disposal of the waste products - getting out of bed and onto the toilet meant experiencing huge amounts of pain every time. But after those 6 months I started to adjust, to the pain as well as what my limited body was now capable of in terms of movement. Needless to say that all this time of not doing anything really meant my scale started to scream tripple digets at me one day... Luckily around the same time my pain levels went to a level that allowed my to walk around 500-600 at slightly slower speeds than normal before the pain got too much. My doctor also got quite concerned about my blood work and body weight recommending to loose a lot if I every intent to get back to a more normal life. So I started to walk several times a day, no matter how bad the weather was, just a bit up and down the street. The distance got longer, the fitness a bit better and the pain levels a bit lower too. Using my old weight lifting belt to keep the back supported helped me a lot during these times, especially when driving or doing housework. During those times I was still on 6-8 panedine forte tablets (paracetamol and codein) plus 2-4 tablets of 20mg oxicontin and not happy about the last anyway. Despite the added levels of pain I started to reduce the level of oxicontin and started to exercise more. My focus was getting the core muscles stronger and to get better support for my back. Also started riding my bike again, although I had to replace it for a bigger model to allow me a more upright position with less stress on the lower back. The kilos started to tumble very slowly but I was already quite proud when I got bak to 90kg. :( Good thing was that I got motivation to continue as every kg I lost and every little bit more on distance I got out of my walks and rides without getting too painful also meant that my average pain level went down too. Two years after it all happened I got rid of the oxicontin completely and reached the 80kg mark. My doc was happy too, my blood work looking good but of course he still suggested to loose a few more kg. Being able to move around again also meant being able to work again and with that came more food, less exercise and a lot more stress. I did manage to hold my 80kg but after about 6 months or working I noticed my back problems started to limit me again. My back belt covered for me and I was able to keep going a while longer but in the end I got hit by another attack on my back. The diagnosis was not good at all as now on top of the pain goind through the back and leg I also hab numbness and a feeling like ants crawl over the leg and chew on it every few mm. As with most lower back "revenges" this one only needed strong pain killers for a few weeks until I was back to something more normal in terms of pain and movability. Sadly the ongoing side effects did not go away the way they did the first time. This meant especiall finding the right position to sleep with the least amount of pain was becoming a nightmare on it's own. Either you got pins and needles keeping you awake, you lost your feeling in the leg to the point where it becomes useless or the pain in the back is just stabbing you all the time. Starting some projects here on Instructables kept my mind busy and gave me some welcome distraction from the daily routine. Eventually I manged to find a job again that allowed me to have enough different movements with only a bit of lifting so things started get back to normal. My doc put me on some amitriptyline to help with the pain at night and although it took some time to get used to the stuff it really started to help after about two weeks. The job was only for a fixed term but it gave me back some confidence that not all is bad or lost. Life went on and I actually manged to get down to just 75kg and only used some painkillers once or twice a week if it was really bad. Then, a few weeks back I started to notice that the top of my foot and the outside of my leg felt different to touch, especially in the shower with some brush or rough sponge. Not being happy already I agreed to some new scans to check if the discs started to cause problems or if the nerves are just inflamed. You might have guessed already, the scan confirmed that my two discs desintegrated further putting more pressure on the already suffering nerves. With the "help" of some quite strong anti inflammatory stuff, cortisone and other meds my doc managed to get me back to "normal" but he also informed me that this won't last forever. The current outcome (without surgery but more on that later on) I have two choices to keep going: a ) I continue with pain killers and other meds to keep the problems at bay. b ) I limit myself to basically not doing anything involving the movemnt of my lower back, keep to a strict calory intake and hope for the best. The first option won't do me any good in the long run except liver, kidney and digestive problems. The second option will allow me some sort of a normal life at the expense of never finding a job to support me again. So once again we soldier on knowing that it will only make things worse as giving up and relying on social services is no option for me. Hoping that you might just had your first encounter with lower back injuries and pain I will give some advise on the things that helped my most so that you might not have to suffer as much I did and still do. So read on please... Diagnosed with a damaged or bulged disc in the lower back - what does it acutally mean? If you check all the available images of the human skelleton you will quickly notice one thing: Our lower back is not really straight and not designed to carry a lot weight when it is put on the wrong way or direction. Noone with a sane mind would use a support beam shaped like that but the human body adapted to this problem caused by changing from using all four limbs to walking on just two legs. The muscles and tendons in our back work in such a way that they support the fragile construction of discs and bones that keep us upright. Sadly modern life, personal decisions and only too often a busy work shedule prevent us from using our body the wa we should. Be it too much lifting, being far too short for your weight or simply laziness the factors causing our muscle to degrade are too many to count. But once you are in the worst pain you ever felt and your doc tells you that there are damaged discs you suddenly wish you had it all done differently years ago - trust me, I have been there and I have done it ;) Or it might be like in my case that a healthy and fit person just cracks one or more discs for no obvious reason. Either way it means you have to change your life to be able to keep going. Pain killers help to ignore the problem and pretend all is good but they should be used with great care as most are highly addictive and the long term side effects are no fun either. The one thing you must never forget is although being a life sentence it must not mean you will be crippled forever! What can I do once it happened to help the pain and my sanity? Nerve pain is one of the worst pains there is and there are only two more or less working medications to deal with it. The first meds are opiates to literally numb the pain but due to source of the pain very high levels are required until the body adapted to deal with the wrong pain information. The second group of meds that offer help and that are often used together with pain killers are old sty anti depressants like the try-cyclic (was that right?) amitriptyline. Back in the days they were not really good for the advertised job but one of the common side effects was how they worked on the pain centers of the brain. In much lower dosages as used to treat depressions these meds help the brain to deal with the pain caused by the damaged or pinched nerves. As a long term solution they should be prefered over opiates so that the strong pain killers are only taken when really needed. If you are anything like me than not getting enough sleep over weeks on end will take a toll on your mood. So being able to sleep at least a few hours in one go is a real thing to aim for unless you prefer to harm your body with pain killers. What is there to help with the pain so you can sleep? I know that you now already think you tried it all and that nothing good comes out of here but keep reading as you might be surprised... The first thing that jumps into mind when it comes to sleeping is a bed - be it you by yourself or with a partner. And here also is the first point to improve! In many countries a bed for two persons has one bad feature: A single mattress! Any movement from the person next to you is transfered more or less onto your body - you don't want that! So if you own a big bid that you share with someone think about investing into a bed with seperated matresses and support frames. That brings us to the mattress itself. A lot of people think being soft and flexible is a prefered thing, not so much if you have back problems. You want enough support to keep the back straight without everything feeling like you sleep on wooden floorboards. Keep in mind though that when changing from soft matress to something much firmer you will need to adjust. Really the best option is to seek professional advise in a bedding studio or similar. And no, you don't have to go to the most expensive place to buy a mattress, you just try them out, get expert advise and use that new knowledge to find a suitable mattress to fit the budget. With no offence meant: If you are over the normal weight you really want to loose the excess and that means selecting a new matrress on your weight goal and not on your current weight! It is also good to have adjustable supports under the mattress itself, this way you choose a thinner and bit softer mattress but still get the firmness your back requires - again seeking proffessional advise on the right combinations is highly recommended here! Ok, your bed is sorted but still there is that nagging pain in certain positions or the tingling in your leg preventing you to go to sleep. Believe it or not but what you do before you go to bed affects how you feel when you hit the sack. So sitting like a bag full of water in front of your TV until just manage to crawl into bed won't do you any good. Same for having your dinner and hour or two before bedtime... What does help is to move your body and to burn a few kalories! If it helps you use a weight lifting belt but just a walk around the block with a little bit of bending and flexing will get the tension out of muscles. A nice partner giving you a proper massage might help too but I doubt you will get one every night ;) And before you start to complain: Yes, I know there are times where simply can't do any exersise as you will be happy to make it to the toilet or to make some dinner. For those times and especially during times of experiencing higher than normal pain level ther is something you can do to ease the pain. Some doctors will tell you but a lot of them wont: Cold actually helps to numb the pain and the symptoms like tingling, pins and needles or the constant stabbing when you made a slightly wrong move. But you need to apply the cold in the right way to get the benefit! The key here is timing. Using real ice in a suitable wrapper, so no vegetables or meat, you apply the cold where the damage is - not where the pain is! You want to cool down the area around the damaged discs for about 5 to max 10 minutes. Put the icepack back and repeat every hour! Nothing will happen after the first two or three round but then you will notice improvement - how much depends on the individual and extend of the damage of course. When I have bad days I usually start around mid-day and keep going every hour until either the pain is gone or it is time to drag myself to bed. The worst you can do is o apply heat! A warm (not hot!) bath can help to ease some muscular tension but hot packs or heat lamps will make your pain get worse quickly. Just imagine and inflammation somehwere else, the area is already hot and painful so you really don't want to add more heat, do you? ;) What can be done to keep mobile and improve? As said earlier the key is support for the damaged areas and of course a limitation in movements that put additional stress on the damaged dics - this includes weight, be it from your own body in terms of excess fat or simply be lifting things! You will have times of no pain and where you think you are 20 years younger again but never use that as an excuse to think your discs have improved! Once damaged they stay damaged and everything putting more stress on you dsic(s) will make things worse. A friend of mine loves to play golf - if you have back problems you want to find a different hobby! Coming from three digits I can tell you without being offensive in any way that being fat means having problems that you don't want to add to your list caused by a bad back! So like it or not you really need to loose all the excess you can find wobbling around your body! For me every single kg I lost was a step forward to being more fit and being able to more things for longer before my pain got too much. And no, there is no excuse for keeping those kilos if are able to leave the bed for more than a few hours. Turst me, you will feel better, need far less medication and like yourself much better once the benfits of less weight kick in! Exercise is the key to getting your life back to a more or less normal level! If you are a "first offender" than you have a good chance that a change of habbit and maybe job will make sure it stays a single incident and that you can have a pain free life after the initial recovery! Getting a higher core strenght and overall fitness level helps your body to heal but most importantly gives you the option to gain muscles where needed to support your back. You might think there is nothing you can do if you are in pain and can't really move anyway but if you do then you are wrong. I am not a personal trainer but I found a lot of ways to use my muscles without using my back for it... There is enough info on the web for exercise methods without any training gear and if you think "really hard" you might notice you can use a lot of positions to exercise your arms and legs without stressing you back ;) And even for the back you can do good without damage: If you lay flat on your belly you just slightly lift your arms and legs off the ground - this will need the support of the muscles in lower back! No need to actuall lift anything high, just enough to only slightly bend your back up - you might not even notice any bending at all. What you don't want is exercise like running, jogging or even contact sports, really nothing that might force your back to move more than what is possible without stressing your discs... Better fitness and more strenght means you will get better flexibility and movablity but never let that fool you into thinking the damage is gone! I can not stress enough than even if you don't need medication and feel fine a single wrong move can make all null and void! What are the options if despite loosing weight and excercise my pain is not going away or syptoms get worse? Well, we can ignore it, we can hope it all goes away but the sad reality for most is that sooner or later you reach the point where the damage is too much too handle. The first one to tell you that your lower back is now due for a pit stop is your foot. The pain might be more than what you ever experienced the pins and needles might drive you mad but as long as it just that you are fine, really :( For me it was during some light gradening when I got my "first hit" so to say. I brushed it off thinking I tripped over something that got kicked away while I struggled to keep my balance. A few days later I noticed that I had to put some extra efford to prevent my toes from scraping the floor while walking. It was there when I also realised that most of the feeling on top of my foot was gone. Same story for the outside of my calf by the way... For me, thanks to a non working medical system and no private health cover the story ends here... Since you might have more luck: Modern medicine has gone a long way when it comes to minimal invasive operations and they are the key to performing operations that otherwise would be impossible or require months of recovery. For the "treatment" of damaged discs in the lowest part of the spinal area the old conventional treatment was to fuse the bones together using some steel or titanium rods. To give the patient relief the dmaged disc was more or less mutilated to free the damaged nerve(s). Several weeks of bed rest and great loss in movement was the price to pay for less pain. Today we are much further and can use micro instruments to perform operations deemed impossible only a few years ago. One of the operations with the greatest and fastest recovery rates is actually quite smart if you think about it: A small portion of bone is removed to give more room for the nerve and to aid in the healing - without fusing the bones! The next step is remove the part of the disc that is bulging out - without removing the strong support layers around it, only the mashed up bits are taken away. The patient is literally pain free ( from the back pain) right after the operation. Healing takes about 2-3 weeks but by then even the pain from the cut bones will be gone. Some health insurers see these operations as a means to get a person back to work and into a normal life, so they support it. Others use simple math and decide pain killers are cheaper... In any case you should seek professional advice from your doc and health care provider before it is too late! Diagnosed and operated early can mean you get the option to have an almost normal life again, or at least a few years of being able to enjoy life much more than before the operation. There are of course risks involved and an opration might not be an option for every case but knowing your options and what form of treatment might be available for you can be reall life changing... Ok, but what's the worst that can happen to me if a simple operation is no longer an option? One of the first things you will notice after loosing control and feeling for your foot is a more or less contant need to go the toilet. Despite having an empty bladder or just using the toilet minutes ago you can develop the feeling that you really must go the toilet again. Sadly this is only the beginning... If things get worse you can loose control over your bladder and bowel. Simply put it means you no longer control the muscular tension required to keep you vital openings closed when required. Usually at this point your doctor will recommend to operate one way or the other. For you, if affected, this means you have to decide between the risk of an operation that might only last for a few months or years or wearing adult nappies... If you already had one or more operation or the damage to the disc(s) is too severe it can mean that there is no other option but to fuse the bones into place to prevent further damage and allow for some healing. But trust me, for your doc to even consider an operation you need to loose all the weight you can! What are my limitations after having my back bones fused together? Well, as it reads you will be fused together, meaning you level of movement will be severly limited. It also means you beep all the time at the airport security or when entering a court or other place with metal detectors - but that is the least of the worries I guess... The main problem after such operations is getting back to a life as normal as possible. You get a lot of help in rehab and will learn what you can and can't do, plus of course how to keep you fit despite these limits. Some people cope really good with the new limitations but others struggle a lot. This especially true if before the person was really active and doing a lot in terms of sport and outdoor activities. Learning to adapt to the changes allows you have many more years without too much pain or limitations. Sure, Golf is out of the question, playing soccer or riding a normal bike too but life goes on and being a part of it is always better than just looking at it through your bedroom window ;) In any case giving up should not be an option for you! No matter how bad it looks when the pain is too much, there are always more good days than bad days ahead of you! Go ahead, share your experience with back pain, what you do keep going and handle the pain. Share you information about what treatments helped you the most and share how you recovered to where you are now. Be an inspiration for those facing what we already went through! Real back pain based on nerve damage will only be understood by someone who experienced it - what did you do to make the people around you understand it? Whatever helped you might help someone wha just started to learn how to deal with damaged discs and back pain, so sharing is caring! ;)

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