A Fist Full of Hernia – Part 3

By now, if you have been following along with this series, you know how I suffered my herniation and some of the expected recovery times for BJJ practitioners and other people in a selection of daily activity categories.

In this article I would like to briefly go over some ideas that were not explained to me before of after the surgery that may have helped. Not so much with recovery time specifically but with comfort levels and ease of movement.

Setting up your environment pre surgery

It is important that when you arrive home from the hospital you have everything you need at an accessible distance in your house. Make a list of all the things that you may use frequently on a daily basis and place them in easy to reach areas on waist height shelves or tables. It will soon dawn on you how impractical it is to be constantly grabbing your blender from a high shelf (if that’s where you usually store it) three times a day lifting and stretching while you have an open wound healing in your abdomen or groin.

For some reason I thought, pre surgery, that it would be a good idea to take my mattress off my bed and lay it on the floor so that I could sleep at a lower level. This proved to be a poor choice as getting up and down from an extremely low level is quite painful and requires a lot of patience and technique.

Sneezing, coughing and laughing

Yes I hate to say it but these three actions may cause you some of the most severe pain during your recovery.

I remember the first time I sneezed (and I do it a lot as I am prone to hay fever and other allergies) upon explosion it felt like my abdomen had swung open like the flimsy fly-screen door in a storm then slamming shut again. As most of you know a solitary sneeze is a rare occurrence and I felt the second one revving it’s engine in my nasal cavity ready to get all alcoholic step dad on that screen door again. I panicked. I didn’t know how to prepare and I began to frantically grab at the inanimate objects surrounding me. But to little avail. That rusty-hinged screen door came flying open again the drunken step dad in my stomach screamed out at the neighbourhood kids to keep off his lawn before slamming the door once again.

My advice to you is to keep a small rectangular soft pillow close by. Whenever you feel the urge to sneeze, cough or laugh boisterously hold the pillow over your mid section and pull it around the sides of your torso as if you were a Hollywood gold digger smothering your sugar daddy in the hospital for that sweet sweet inheritance money. This should help to control the violent expenditure of your muscles via the pressure applied.

Getting up and off the floor or chair

As I mentioned before I stupidly laid my mattress on the floor and found it quite painful to get up and down from this position. Moving from a seated position to standing is not that much fun either. If you find yourself lying of the floor I want you to forget any idea of safety in structural technique you have learned in the past. Remember, for this period in time during recovery you want to limit the tension in your core as much as possible.

I found that when I needed to stand I would pull my knees up towards my chest focusing on my hip flexors to do this. Rolling over to my shins I would get on my toes and then extend my hamstrings pushing my but back and up to stand in a modified standing yoga folding pose. From here guys and girls, unfortunately, it’s all-lower back that is going to help you into an upright position. I know it isn’t the best advice for efficient and safe use of muscles in movement. But as I mentioned during recovery you want to use as little abdomen activation as possible. Stick with this technique for at least two to three weeks based on how you feel.


Going to the toilet.

Look let’s be adults. We know the mechanics of the number twos. You sit down, there is a slight squeeze and then you are off to enjoy your day. But the combination of painful core activation during the push and the painkillers you will be taking that cause stool hardening this daily occurrence becomes a little more difficult than you will be used to.

My advice here:

  1. Drink lots of water
  2. Clear your schedule for about an hour
  3. Take a geed book with you
  4. Let gravity take control

Good luck with the first three weeks of your recovery and take it easy. Don’t go back to work if you don’t feel up to it. Remember most of the times people suggest to you in your recovery process are just guidelines. You move based on how you feel and what you are comfortable doing. You be you baby and don’ let anyone tell you what to do.

This has been the third instalment in the series and I will be posting the fourth in another month or so as to properly detail how my return to BJJ and rolling has progressed.

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