Halloween Making: Why do we do this to ourselves!? ; )

Closing in on midnight on October 30th, and I found myself in a familiar situation . . .Making last-minute Halloween costumes and props for my kids!Here's a photo of my late-night kitchen table, where I was working on a homemade hover board prop from the "Back to the Future" movies. I paused for a moment to survey the scene and snap a photo, and couldn't help taking note of the silliness of the whole thing. It's midnight. I'm tired. My kids are asleep. And I'm up making this thing. WHY?Why do we do this to ourselves?! - - - - - -I know why I do it, but tell me why you do!Were you up late making stuff for yourself or for your kids? Share your reasoning and thoughts on being a creative Halloweener in the comments below. Be sure to include a photo or two of what you were making!

Topic by seamster   |  last reply


The more natural way of cleaning things...

At my workplace we basically have a specific cleaner or cleaning product for every task you can think of. From glass over stainless to plastics and desinfectants for lots of different surfaces. After a quick look into my cleaining cabinet at home I started to wonder if I am doing something wrong as I only have a few cleaning things for my use. Asking my friends also showed they have a big bunch of cleaning chemicals, plus the bottle of bleach that everyone down here has. So I though: Your grandma only had a few cleaning products and you learned most of things you need to clean from her. Considering I grew up healthy I guess she must have done something right.... Let's clean up with the cleaning myths, shall we? 1. What cleaning chemicals do you have? For quite a few people the list would start something like this: Dishwashing liquid, window, cleaner, bathroom cleaner, soap scum remover, floor cleaner, oven cleaner, several desinfectants.... If that is true for you too than we might be on to something already. 2. What cleaning chemicals do I really need? This is a good question as everyone is a bit different but I assume a healthy household here. Of course we need certain things to clean our various surfaces properly but it is far less than waht you have been told by the TV commercials.... These days we like to think if there is a special cleaner for something then of course we have to use it to clean properly. Unless you have trades people walking through with their wet dogs several times a day and see dust storms at least twice a week you really only need a few things. So let's get to the basics: 3. Old style cleaning and what you need for it - really the only stuff required to keep all clean and sanitised. a) Methylated spirit b) Clear ammonia - cloudy ammonia works too but be aware that the added soap can be a problem that leaves streakes c) Hydrogen peroxide - pool grade to be cheap in the long run d) Orange oil - citrus oil works great too if you prefer a different smell e) Soap - just basic soap, these stinky, slightly yellow and hard bricks - no fancy smelly soap ;) f) Several cleaning brushes but you should already have those g) Windows cleaning tools - the basic microfibre cloth and squeegee will do h) Several microfibre cloths - bigger ones for floors and walls, smaller for windows and the rest I) Yesterdays newspaper j) Baking soda With those few things we have everything to clean whatever comes up and if bought in bulk comes down to a few cents per bottle compared to a few dollars when you buy all the stuff you don't need. Lets figure out what the stuff does and how to use it: 4. Mixing and what to use it for.... The alcohol is a really good remover for everything greasy and also desinfects the surfaces. A quick spray and wipe on your bench is all that you need to remove oily residue or the mess from the kids. Mixed with a bit of soap and water (about 50-50) also removes sticky stuff like jam or syrup. If we use about 50ml of alcohol, 50ml of clear ammonia and 900ml of water we get one liter of really good window cleaner. The modern way is to use microfibre for the cleaning and a squeegee to get it dry, the old way just uses a cloth and then the window is "polished" with some old newspaper. The black ink reacts with the alcohol and form a mild abrasive while the paper soaks up the moisture, the result is a prefectly clean window in under 3 minutes. Orange oil is not only a powerful degreaser but also lifts old dirt or even glue residue. Used directly it will get rid of the remains from sticky tape, stickers and everything that other cleaners fails to get off - smoth surface and non soaking of course. 50ml of it with 50ml of ammonia and 100ml of alcohol per bucket makes a good florr cleaner and your house smells nice when done. Works best if you can use a microfibre cloth or floor wiper to dry the surface with it. In the kitchen we can find a lot of surfaces that are greasy and we already covered that bit, so lets get to the though stuff. The kitchen sink can become dull looking although it is not scratched. This is due to hard water, food residue, soap and other things. Best is of course to wipe it and dry it after use but who really does this every day? A pot scrubbing pad with some baking soda on it does the trick here. Make the pad nly moist and sprinkle the baking soda on it. Rub over the stainless and if too dry add a few drops of water. Once done rinse off and enjoy the difference. For hard to clean or badly turtured sinks you can try a ball of aluminium foil and coke - use it like a polish. The oven is often our worst nightmare. The cooktop is not far behind. But even here we can have a chance to clean without too much hard work or bad chemicals. Of course the best way is to prevent these spills and boil overs ;) For the cooktop some hot water and baking soda will soften the baked on stuff. Simply remove what you can with the hot water and then sprinkle the surface with baking soda. Cover all with the paper towels and if not wet enough add a bit more hot water so all shets are soaked. Leave ove night and wipe clean the next day. The oven is a bit of a problem once the side and back wall are filthy. If baking soda with a pot scrubber won't do the trick get some of these steel pads with soap in it. The soap in them is special in terms that you only need a little bit of water to remove almost anything with them - and they won't scrath enamelled surfaces. On the bottom we often have badly burnt in things that are next to impossible to fully remove. I suggest to cover the same way as the cooktop but also to add some orange oil. Just make a thick paste of baking soda and orange oil and wrok it into the soiled surface. Cover with wet paper towels and leave over night. Now you don't want to flood your oven, so that means you need to use a sponge or thick cloth that is big enough to wipe off the surfaces you soaked the day before. As the orange oil really is oil it pays off to use some alcohol in the cleaning water to get rid of the oil and grease a bit easier. Don't expect to see a clean and shiny surface after one treatment if the oven was badly misused, you might have to repeat the procedure a few times. If in doubt use the soapy steel pads for last clean and before soaking over night again. Three to four treatments are usually enough to clean even the worst disaster that can happen in an oven unless you baked it in for months... 5. Desinfecting and mouldy spots.... As said, the methylated spirit is basically just pure alcohol and kill almost anything that might harm you. But sometimes that just is not enough. And who really wants to spend an hour or longer to clean some mouldy spots in the shower or try to cover the smell by spraying room freshener? As a lst resort for everything I use Hydrogen Peroxide. The supermarket grade is only 3% and usually badly overpriced, so I suggest to get a small canister of pool grade peroxide. Do yourself a favour and ask them to install a tap on it - you don't want to do it yourself unless you already know how bad pool grade peroxide is! For your own safety when handling it I strongly recommend wearing long rubber gloves, nitrile is better but please no latex as it could start to burn when getting in contact with the peroxide. For high grade desinfecting or the removal of mouldy areas I recommend to dilute 1:5, one part of peroxide to 5 parts of water. Only for the mould removal on tiled, plastic, glass or metal surfaces you can use the peroxide pure from the container - but please add face protection when cleaning! Some spray bottles work with peroxide some just start leaking badly, if you want try an old bottle of chlorine based cleaner after really flushing everything out. The peroxide breaks down any organic material it comes into contact with, so not just the mould you want to remove but also your skin or eyes if you allow contact. On the skin you see white areas after contact and they won't go away until all the oxygen in the skin is gone that was left by the peroxide. If you act too late it means you might loose some skin flakes. The sure sign of overlook exposure on your skin is a burning sensation in the area - this only happens when the amount was big enough or your clothes got soaked. On your surfaces to clean you will notice bubbles forming quite quickly - this mean the peroxide is reacting with something, usually organic material. Let it bubble... Once it stops bubbling the surface is either sterile or the peroxide is used up, if it bubbles when adding fresh peroxide onto it then there is still crap left ;) It really helps to brush off the surface after each treatment as a lot of loose material will be flushed out when rinsing off. Once it looks and smells clean again it usually means it is clean :) 6. Special case: Wood... Be it wooden floorboards, furniture or just your chopping board - always try what the manufacturer recommends first! Untreated wood should never be cleaned with anything wet! Sealed wood, like floorboards or things with varnish on it to make it water proof can be cleaned the same way as mentioned above - but I would leave out the ammonia as some wood treatments simply won't tolerate it and might go dull instead of returning nice and shiny - spot testing required if you think you have to use ammonia as well! Orange oil itself makes a great furniture cleaner if the surface is smooth and sealed, but if it is not it means the oil soaks into the wood together with the stuff you want to clean off! It also takes off several paints and types of varnish if you work it hard enough and give it some time, so avoid this and be quick instead of forgetting to finnish the job ;) Always try to wet the surface as little as possible and wipe fully dry as soon as possible! Ok, good start but what is the real benefit? For me the actual benefit is that I know what I am using and exposing myself to. Just reading what is in most cleaning products we find at the supermarket makes me want to clean again after using them, just to remove their residues... I admit it might take some time to get used to mixing and just having a few ingredients for the cleaning but it does work great. Especially if you or your kids are already sensitive to certain chemicals or just of poor health in general you might see the benefit quite quickly. Some people really don't like the smell of ammonia but unless you are sensitive to it there is nothing to worry when using the household grade as we always dilute it down massively anyway. A good way to avoid the worst stink is by mixing it outside with the wind from behind. I won't say that certain commercial products are bad, harmful or not good enough for the job. Some are actually worth to have in some cases but I just say it is better to only have a hand full of chemicals that are not too bad instead of an endless list of things were we don't even know what's inside. For me the best is your surprise when it actually works better than you expected and report your findings here.

Topic by Downunder35m 


lifes unanswered questions...

Great questions to ponder over (great conversation starters!)Can you cry under water?why does a round pizza come in a square box?What's the difference between a novel and a book?How old are you before it can be said you died of old age?If nobody buys a ticket to a movie do they still show it?if a person owns a piece of land, do they own it to the center of the earth?if you have a cold hot pocket, is it just a pocket?Why doesn't glue stick to the inside of the bottle?Do penguins have knees?Why is it said that an alarm clock is going off when really its coming on?How come people tell you not to stand in front of an emergency exit when if there was an emergency surely you would run through it?Why did Sally sell seashells on the seashore when you can just pick them up anyway?Why are both of Spongebob's parents round like sea sponges while he is square like a kitchen sponge?(isn't this one great?)Does a two-humped camel store more fat than a one-humped camel?If you pamper a cow, do you get spoiled milk?Why is it that if someone yells "duck" they are helping you, but if they yell "chicken" they are insulting you?why do we drive on the parkway and park on the driveway?If the FBI breaks your door down do they have to pay for it?If they have angel food cake on earth, do they have people food cake in heaven?(don't start a war over that, its just a joke!)If you fart and burp at the same time, would it make a vacuum in your tummy?Why do you put two cents in when its only a penny for your thoughts?You know the signs on restaurant doors? No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service? what if someone goes in with No Pants? Would the restaurant still have to serve them?If a doctor suddenly died while doing surgery, would the other doctors work on the doctor or the patient?Why do we sing "Rock a bye baby" to lull our little ones to sleep when the song is about putting your baby in a tree and letting the wind crash the cradle to the ground?Why do we say we're head over heels when we're happy? Isn't that the way we normally are?If the Wicked Witch of the West melts in water... how did she ever bathe?If bald people work as chefs in a restaurant,do they have to wear hairnets?Why do sleeping pills have warning labels that state :'Caution: May Cause Drowsiness?How can Darth Vader breathe and talk at the same time?If there's a wheelchair-bound comedian, is it still called "stand-up"?When the French swear do they say pardon my English?Do people who use sign language see little hands in their head when they think about what somebody said, or do they hear the words in their head?How did Walt Disney figure out how to make people pay to stand in lines all day?Why do people constantly return to the refrigerator with hopes that something new to eat will have materialized?Why is it that no matter what color bubble bath you use the bubbles are always white?Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?Why do they call someone "late" if they died early?If the serving size on a can of soda is one can, then why is the serving size on the little can one can, too? Wouldn't the little cans be 2 cans?If a king is gay and marries another guy what is that guy to the royal family?Why are red buttons always the most important?How is chess considered a sport?Why is it when your sleeping it`s called drool but when your awake its called spit?If a teacher were to teach a younger grade than they were teaching before, would they be "degraded"?Why does every Abraham Lincoln impersonator sound the same, even though there are no known audio recordings of the man?How's come people tell you to stay a kid for as long as you can. Yet the moment you do anything childish or immature they tell you to grow up.Why does the Easter bunny carry eggs? Rabbits don't lay eggs.If marbles are not made of marble, why are they called marbles?If you dig a hole through the center of the earth, come out on the other side, and then let go, would you be falling down or floating up?Could you be a closet claustrophobic?Could someone be addicted to counseling? If so, how would you treat them?If ketchup is good on french fries, how come it isn't good on mashed potatoes?Where do all the daylight savings hours go?Why doesn't the hair on your arms grow as fast as the hair on your head?What happens if a black cat walks under a ladder and breaks a mirror?Why when people ask you "what three things would you bring with you on a desert island?" no one ever replies, "A BOAT"Why are elderly people often called "old people" but children are never called "new people"?Why doesn't broccoli come in a can?Can you slam a revolving door?What would happen if you found a four-leaf-clover under a ladder?Can a cross-eyed teacher control his pupils?If Winnie the pooh was civilized enough to keep his honey in jars, why did he eat it off his hands? Surely he had spoons?What happens if you get a paper cut from a Get Well card?Can you read a picture book?Why does it say "shake well" on ketchup bottles, but not ketchup packets?Is there ever a day that mattresses are not on sale?Is eating a mermaid considered cannibalism?If mirrors need light to work, what happens if you put night vision goggles on in the dark and look at a mirror?if you're on an American airline, and you land in Canada and stay on the plane, is the drinking age still 21 or does it change to 19?What happens if every team in the NFL goes 8-8?What shape is the sky?If a Jewish person goes to court and is asked to put their right hand on the Bible, do they use a Torah instead? (again, don't start a war over that)Why is it written "May contain traces of peanuts or other kind of nuts" on peanut butter jars. Are people stupid enough not to realize it themselves?If you only have one eye...are you blinking or winking?If you have a gun and you ask, "can I ask you a question?" and they say "fire away" should you shoot them?What is a chickpea if it is neither a chick nor a pea?Why is it called the People's Republic Of China when China's not a republic?Why are dandelions considered weeds when daisies are considered flowers?Why does Sea World have a seafood restaurant?Whenever an adult is kidnapped why isn't it called adultnapped?Why do black lights look purple?Did Yankee Doodle name the feather, hat, town, or his pony Macaroni?Why is it that people duck in the rain, do they really think the rain won't hit them?Why isn't the caps lock capitalized?If someone with a nostril ring takes it out, then blows their nose, do they have to cover that hole as well as their nostril holes so that snot doesn't blow out everywhere?Isn't it weird that if you rearrange the word "teacher" you get "cheater"?How come whenever you start to sing, you automatically sing in a higher voice than you talk?How come people say they ate the last piece of gum, when they really just chew it?You know the saying "throw ya hands in the air like ya don't care"? why bother doing that if you don't care?Why is there no pine or apple in pineapple?Why do water bottles have a "best if used by" date?\If you called the police station to talk to an officer and he was not there, would that be considered a cop out?Why do they put holes in crackers?How come on TV the bell always rings and then the kids go to class, but in real life you need to be in class before the bell rings?Why can the saying "it's all downhill from here." mean both that it will be easy and that it is going to get worse?If all of ACME's products backfire, why does Wile E. Coyote keep buying them?Why do "cool" and "hot" mean the same thing?If you sneeze and fart at the same time, does a vacuum form in your stomach?Why does triangularly cut bread taste better than square bread?Does a baby feel the umbilical cord being cut off?Is it legal to name your kid "Anonymous"?If you have a pet with 2 heads do you have to name both heads?Why can't liquor freeze?If you dig a hole in the south pole are you digging up or down?How come they don't add the time that we are in our mom's to our age?Why do people squint their eyes when they can't see? Wouldn't that just make it less space to see out of?What is a hacky, and why is it in a sack?Who was in the kitchen with Dina?Why do we have to pay a toll on "freeways"?Why do they call them pepperoni if there is no pepper in it?How old does something have to be to become an antique?Can a school teacher give a homeless child homework?Do babies produce more spit than adults?How come French fries are not considered a vegetable, they are just deep fried potatoes?Do cows have calf muscles?Why is shampoo clear but conditioner not?If conjoined twins participate in sports, do they count as one or two players?If a singer sings their own song during a karaoke party, is it considered karaoke?Why do mattresses have designs on them when they're always covered with sheets?If you died with braces on would they take them off?If a person suffered from amnesia and then was cured would they remember that they forgot?Can someone have their head in the clouds and be down-to-earth at the same time?Why is Joey short for Joe, when Joey has more letters?If you were a pastor, and you were getting married, would you hire a pastor, or would you do the wedding yourself?Is there a certain temperature at which it stops being qualified as cold? At what temperature does it qualify as hot?if someone tells you not to be your self, who should you be?Why is most lunchmeat bigger than the bread?Why is it that whenever you sing to the radio, your voice is higher? Even when you have a low voice?How come toy hippos are always blue, or purple, when real hippos are brown?Have ex-mathematicians become dysfunctional?Have ex-locomotive engineers been derailed?Have ex-civil lawyers been distorted?Have ex-bankers become disinterested?Are there seeing eye humans for blind dogs?You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes, why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?After eating, do amphibians have to wait an hour before getting out of the water?Can fat people go skinny-dipping?You know how most packages say "Open here". What is the protocol if the package says, "Open somewhere else"?Would a fly without wings be called a walk?Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?Why isn't "palindrome" spelled the same way backwards?Why is there an expiration date on SOUR cream?Why is the word "abbreviate" so long?do the ABC's and twinkle twinkle little star have the same tune?Why is the alphabet in that order? Is it because of that song?Why is Mickey Mouse bigger than his dog Pluto?why does Goofy live in a house and Pluto in and dog house if there both dogs?Why is it, whether you sit up or sit down, the result is the same?Why is it when two planes almost hit each other it is called a "near miss"?Why is it called 'after dark', when it is really after light?Why is it called a TV "set" when you only get one?why is a pair of underwear one item?Why is it called a "building" when it is already built?Why do we say something is out of whack? What is a whack?Why do women wear evening gowns to go out at night? Shouldn't they be wearing night gowns?Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?Do Roman paramedics refer to IV's as "4's"?olive oil is made out of olives, and peanut oil is made out of peanuts. What is baby oil made out of?!If drinking and driving is illegal, why do bars have parking lots?If someone leads but no one follows... are they just out for a walk?After they make styrofoam, what do they ship it in?Are part-time band leaders semi-conductors?Before they invented drawing boards, what did they go back to?.............the list goes on and on, maybe i will make a sequel.i can not take credit for all of these, most of them were from this website

Topic by dsman195276   |  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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