back pain diagnosis and my plan to fix it.

So I got the results back from my MRI. You can kind of make out all the vertebrae and those little white spaces in between are discs. The discs are there to cushion your bones and provide a space for the nerves to come exit. They're supposed to be nice and big and healthy and white. Without knowing much about this picture, you can tell the bottom of those big discs before my back starts to arch is different. It spills out over the other two bones, out into that white space. The white space is my spinal fluid and the grey in there is my spinal cord. (I find this stuff extremely interesting! Even more so when it's on my own body. So that's what it looks like in there!)

A herniated L5 disc. That's what I've been told is up with my back, what has been causing me all this pain. I pretty much KNEW this was what was up, but it's nice to see the actual proof. The chiropractor I saw offered a plan for a super intensive therapy program that will not only cost a lot financially but a lot of time. Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy to be specific. While this therapy looks like it could be beneficial (and I have no doubt that it would probably help), it's not my only option. It can't be. 

In addition to seeing a few other doctors, I've decided I'm going to wage a war against this stupid disc that's been causing all my problems. I'm 28 and this shiz needs to go away. I've decided that this decompression therapy will be my last straw and if in a few months I can't fix this problem in other ways, I'll go for it. For now, here are some of the things I'm going to try:

- Weight loss. I'm going to lose the 15-20 lbs I've been holding on to since the boys were born. I've never made a whole hearted effort and stuck with it to lose this weight. Each extra pound I carry adds extra pressure on my spine. What better motivation to lose weight than to end my pain?
- Overall body strengthening, including core. I'm not going into some crazy work out plan ro going to be really tough on myself. I want this to feel natural and part of a healthy lifestyle; something I can keep up. I'll be doing yoga, going on more walks and jogs with the boys, working to strengthen my core (which supports my spine). 
- Massage and acupuncture. I haven't tried these methods as ways to heal my back but I've heard great things about these methods and am eager to give them a shot.
- Basic chiropractic adjustments as needed. 

If in a couple of months these things haven't helped any of the pain, I'll consider the decompression therapy. The main reason I'm not doing it straight off the bat is because it's looking to cost us a lot out of pocket and require an almost constant 6 week commitment. I want to see what I can do on my own in 6 weeks for a fraction of the price. 

Do you suffer from back pain? Have a herniated or bulging disc? What were the best ways you found to manage pain and live a normal life? I'd really love your advice!

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