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Life Lessons

How I Healed My Pinched Nerve in Neck & Back


As I quieted my mind, my body shouted loudly. I heard and felt its cries loud and clear. The pain in my back and neck sidelined me for nearly two weeks. I didn’t exercise but focused on eating right, healing and visiting my chiropractor daily. It’s week 12 since I first sat down with the chiropractor and listened to his diagnosis. It’s been 12 weeks since I faced the reality that a pinched nerve in my back and neck were worsening. I needed to be serious about my back and neck or live life as a bent over old lady at age 37 and counting.

My Plan to Heal My Pinched Nerve in Back and Neck

I’ve been extremely transparent about this journey. It’s not about weight loss although it would be great if it was just that. It’s about healing my body, eating right, exercising and strengthening. I want to live a long, healthy and fulfilled life. I have to do this for myself. I want to watch my daughter grow up. I want to be pain free. I want to have another baby.

  • Eating Healthy. I’ve been tracking my calories and eliminating most processed sugars. I have continued eating organic and have been committed to juicing kale, carrot and other vegetables adding them into my morning smoothie routine. I think it’s extremely easy to just drink a powdered shake, however, I prefer keeping it simple focusing on fresh and natural ingredients. At present I use a MyFitnessPal and Shine to track my progress, calorie intake and activity.
  • Increasing My Strength. The pinched nerves are not helped by my underdeveloped core, back and shoulder muscles not to mention my horrible posture. Pilates has helped me concentrate on increasing my strength in these areas while also focusing on my spine as well as listening to my body. At present, I’m doing machine pilates on the reformer and exo chair 3-4 times a week under private instruction and classroom setting. (More about Pilates classes here.)
  • Visiting the Chiropractor. Since early January, I’ve visited my chiropractor 3-4 times a week barring any crazy travel I am doing. At first, the 45 minutes I spent those days seemed to really cut into my work schedule, but I’ve come to realize how much he is helping me. I don’t take work meetings until 9:30 AM most days to make sure I can focus on the chiropractor and healing.
  • Organizing My Calendar. I seem to thrive best in the mode of procrastination. I love working on a deadline or multiple deadlines since I work with multiple clients and projects at the same time. I’ve come to believe this isn’t the most healthy place for me or my body to be. Changing these bad habits has taken time. In truth, I still have a long way to go. I’ve said goodbye to things I don’t have time to do and eliminated meetings on Mondays and Fridays so I can focus on my to do list and tackling projects interruption free.
  • Remaining Mindful. Every morning I’m taking 5-10 minutes to breath and clear my mind before I start my day. Sometimes I focus my breath on the aches and pains of my body, but other times I just relax and think of absolutely nothing. It offers a nice change of pace.
  • Improving My Posture. My pinched nerve in my neck and back isn’t helped due to my poor posture and years of sitting hunched over my computer as I worked. I’ve made small yet simple changes by sitting with my arms back while driving or on the computer. I’ve also invested in a belt often used for waist training for new mothers. I’m using it to gently remind me to tighten my core and sit up straight.

Nervously I visited my chiropractor last week to check in on the progress of my pinched nerve in both my neck and back. In just a short amount of time, he is seeing improvement. We are scaling back my visits to him now once a week and will reassess in 8 weeks.

My New 12 Week Commitment

Over the next two weeks my travel schedule is ramping up which means I have to be more vigilant than ever to just get this shit done. I’m tired of hurting and not being healthy. I have begun to see results from my pilates which is further driving my motivation to these new commitments and change.  I still realize I have a long way to go. I can’t use the excuse that I don’t have time to do these things.

  • More Exercise. Spring has arrived and I’m committed to spending more time walking outside, in the garden or at the gym. I don’t have an excuse not to work out on the machines when my daughter has soccer practice at least once a week at the Y plus games 2 times a week.
  • More H20. I’m just not a water drinker, but recognize that this is key to flushing out toxins, healing my body and strengthening. I am commited to 8-10 servings of water a day.
  • Finding a Hobby. My work and my family is what I live to do. I need decompress and down time away from the endless reading, writing and researching. I really enjoyed rollerblading and want to add this into my exercise and activity routine.

What will the next 12 weeks hold for me? I’m hopeful I’ll be shopping for a smaller pant size, feeling more fulfilled, happy and healthy. Plus, we are traveling a bit for the summer. I want to make sure I’m ready for trips to the beach, horseback riding and more time with family.

Life Lessons

This Pinched Nerve in My Back Can Suck It


About two years ago, I finally had enough and sat down with a friend of mine who is a chiropractor, and we realized after a series of x-rays that I had two pinched nerves. I had a pinched nerve in my lower back and neck. My chiro put me on an 8 week program, and at about 4 weeks I started to feel a whole lot better. My travel work schedule started to pick up again and I quit going. I really wish I had saw it through because now I am really suffering.

Being Mindful Uncovers a Pinched Nerve in My Back

Of my three priorities for 2015, one of them is daily mindful meditation which for me is done most often with yoga. I like to do about an hour of yoga and finish things off with 15 minutes of meditation. My mind is empty. I’m focused on myself. There are no thoughts about work. Just me, my mat, the present moment and my breath. On January 1, I set out my yoga mat, strap and blocks easing myself back into yoga. I was looking forward to my meditation. It’s one of the few times I feel free and completely clear without ideas lingering. It was clear, however that something was wrong because when I tried to lay down on my back on my mat, in corpse pose I experienced numb pain. Normally, I can stretch the pain and make it go away. I tried to do my gentle lower back series like I’ve done in the past even going so far as to focus on opening up my hips. It didn’t get any better and made sitting in lotus uncomfortable. I ended the night with a glass of wine and a heating pad. Lucky me.

Day 2 of 2015, wasn’t any better. I tried a series of poses specifically for my spine (pictured above from FitSugar.com) and even did a couple inversions. It was no help. I was in misery. The pain in my lower back was a symptom of the pinch nerve that wouldn’t go away. Monday I visited the chiropractor to start off 2015.  While this wasn’t the mindful meditation I had in mind, I am listening to my body. My body sent me a message once my mind was quiet I couldn’t ignore. And my body is telling me that it is hurting. It’s also saying, “Fix me, please!”

After getting new x-rays this week, my pinched nerve in my lower back hasn’t gotten any better or worse. Unfortunately, the pinched nerve in my neck is causing my spine near my neck to shift forward which is probably contributing to more of my lower back pain. I’ll be visiting the chiropractor 3 times a week for a total of 8 weeks using a combination of chiropractic and acupuncture. After that, we will reassess. It’s visit 3 and my lower back is extremely sore. I can’t wait to get better and just feel more like me.

Symptoms of a Pinched Nerve

I hate this pinched nerve. The symptoms of back pain and numbness make me feel like an old lady. It’s making me slow down which is definitely not me. To help open up my spine in a way that’s less strenuous than inversions, I’ve pulled out my oversized exercise ball which I’m now using as an office chair. Since my lower back is so uncomfortable, I’m using it for spine stretches until I feel good about doing yoga shoulder and hand stands. Inversions are something I’ve never been good at. Maybe this pinched nerve will give me the practice and patience I’m needing.

Pinched nerves are no fun and in doing more research I’ve realized that the pinched hasn’t helped my ongoing battle with my weight. In better understanding neck problems, I’m certain I’ve had a pinched nerve in my neck or some variation of problems since I was 15 or 16. Back then I attributed it to the time I spent on the computer in journalism class. It improved slightly but only with some ergonomic changes to the way I sit at a desk. I’m also certain this problems contributed to last year’s miscarriage. I’ll never know for certain but I have a feeling. Now that I’m back settled again into my life and home, I’m seeing things more clearly. I need to get this better so I can be more active, healthy and happy.

Outside of yoga, meditation and light exercise, I’m continuing my juicing and trying to focus more on healthy eating. I’m cutting out fast foods, processed foods and sugars for the next 30-60 days and limiting my intake of the Starbucks caramel macchiato. It’s my regular guilty pressure 2-3 times a week. While this pinched nerve sucks, I’m not going down. This pinched nerve can suck it. While it may suck, I’m extremely lucky I have the time, ability and capacity to take care of me.

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