Originally Posted by aascvt
Thank you all very much for your replies.. although we're getting a little off topic. I hope I have not caused trouble here by accidentally bringing up a tough subject!
It's not a particularly tough subject. The use of ice has never been a controversial subject until now.
I was in PT for two years, during a period pre and post surgery/s. I began exhibiting a few RSD like symptoms but did not have burning pain, during which ice was used multiple times per week. I had another surgery and started PT within a week. The burning pain and hypersensitivity were obvious during the first session. Because it was a new PT office, they assumed I had a low tolerance for pain, when actually the opposite is true. The first ten minutes of being under ice packs was essentially torture. I would sit and cry in the corner until my limb would go numb. My limb was sweating, turning red, and getting cold at various random times, but after it being iced, it didn't return to normal temperature for hours/days. It became more dysfunctional, to the point that if I went to an appointment on Monday, the therapist could still feel my Popsicle limb on Wednesday. Ruh-roh! It was communicated with my doc and he advised no ice and sent me for a consult for RSD. I hadn't had a problem with heat initially, but shortly after attempting to switch to paraffin baths, it was determined that my limb couldn't tolerate even moderate heat. 60 seconds in a paraffin bath I was not only lobster red, but it felt like my skin was on fire.
Not everybody exhibits the same symptoms at the same time. If ice doesn't feel unusual to someone, they might just be fine. But, what if the damage takes time? I sure wouldn't let anyone experiment on me with ice if I knew then what I knew now. Anecdotal evidence for sure. It took me a LONG time to trust listening to my body. I still have the same pain, but my atrophy is gone, I have normal range of motion, and while I've had areas of spread--they've all been temporary (from days to a year+).
After I finally received a tentative diagnosis, I went through a series of SGB which had varying degrees of success. I then had an RF neurotomy. It made my symptoms worse, permanently. For YEARS every new doc I met I asked about the RF and was told it couldn't have made me worse or they just wouldn't answer. Finally, I found the info on Hooshmand's website stating how dangerous they were. When I finally found a doc that agreed that they are a very bad idea, I knew he was someone that I could trust to work with.
I'm well aware that Hooshmand's website is outdated and potentially unorthodox. He did treat many RSD patients for many years though, and seemed to actually listen to his patients anecdotal evidence--something MANY docs ignore.
Cold that was less intense from frozen peas seemed to be much less traumatic on my body, then ice packs, so those wanting to experiment might try them... Personally, I feel my body responds better to Lidoderm patches and I know from years of experience they don't any negative side effects.