Facing up to it

Hello. My name is Ben, and I'm a yoga teacher with a bad back. (Hello Ben). It now seems more likely that I have a bulging disc in my lower spine. I saw a chiropractor today and she believes this is the likely explanation for the sciatic nerve pain down my leg. I have lost a nerve reflex in my foot and my whole spine is leaning away to one side in an attempt to relieve the pressure on the nerve. The associated pelvis misalignment and scoliosis are probably the result of my panicked muscles locking down hard to protect the injured area. Inflammation and lack of movement is creating a vicious circle of nerve pain and muscle lockdown. It's exhausting and I'm deeply weary. None of this can be confirmed until I meet with the NHS doctors and convince them to scan my spine to find out exactly what is going on. But I have to acknowledge that today the chiropractor repeated what the osteopath told me last week. I chose to ignore that first warning because I didn't trust the therapist but now I have once again come face to face with the likelihood of a clear physical problem in my body and it is no longer possible to pretend it's not happening.

 Battle of the bulge

Battle of the bulge

Physical recovery from bulging discs is generally three to six months (if they behave and respond to treatment). Right now that feels like a long time. Unpacking this emotionally is going to take more time and will be difficult and no doubt upsetting. Right at the back of my mind a quiet voice is telling me that this whole experience is a gift and will ultimately make me a more skilled yoga teacher. Much louder at the forefront of my mind and most present in my heart right now though is fear, sadness and anger. Fear that I will not be able to continue doing what I am most passionate about. Sadness and grief about what I have lost and must now let go of, and anger about what I have sacrificed in the pursuit of being perfect and satisfying my childhood wound of never feeling good enough.

Perhaps this experience will offer me a way out of that old damaged house and into the warm garden sunshine. The question is, will I choose to walk through the door or stick around in the gloom I know so well?

Ben Parkes4 Comments