Have I got a story for you!
I have completely recovered from RSD but I guess the question really is, " did I really have RSD or not?" Let me tell you my story and you can comment on what you think about it.
In 2001 I stood up from my chair at work and my left ankle just collapsed under me. This had happened many times in my life since an initial ankle sprain when I was 14. This time the sprain didn't seem that bad- not much bruising, not a huge amount of swelling. I just figured it would get better like my sprained ankles always did.
This time was different. The pain started to spread up the side of my leg. 1st to half-way up to the knee then further up my leg. Within 6 weeks I was diagnosed with RSD and referred to pain management.
I went for 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th opinions while getting lumbar blocks and doing everything a "newly diagnosed" rsd patient was supposed to do. All other doctors agreed with the RSD diagnosis. Clear cut case with all the symptoms except never swelling.
4 yrs passes and I keep trying everything I can. HBOT, accupuncture, week long epidurals, ketamine, more drugs than I care to remember, herbology, cranial sacral, applied kineisiology, I can go on and on with what I tried.
I am also being seen by 1 of the big-wig RSD doctors, Dr. Daniel Carr. I have shrunk from 125 to 101lbs and look like hell. The pain has spread up my entire left side including my face, eyelid, nose and ear, left arm and right foot and leg. I am suicidal at times and find great support from my family of RSD friends who post on a forum just like this one.
Then my doctor informs me that he will no longer be seeing patients and is off to teach the world about RSD. I must then find a new doctor. No small task after seeing so many previously over the past yrs.
I go to a new doctor who is recommended by my chiropractor. He believes that my diagnosis of RSD is not right. Doesn't know what it is but says that this doctor friend of his is like a medical detective. So, I go see her.
She tells me that she has had 8 patients in her medical career who were diagnosed with RSD but who had nerve entrapments in their ankles all due to ankle sprains. She thinks I am her 9th patient. This theory is not news to me because I had been telling doctors for years that I had 2 trapped nerves and could name them!
I had trapped my ulnar nerve in my elbow 20 yrs earlier and my pain felt EXACTLY the same just in my ankle not my elbow! I had 4 operations to fix that problem but back then doctors would do "exploratory surgery" where now malpractice is a much bigger deal.
Anyways, her plan was to do nerve blocks on these particular nerves. The EMG I had didn't test these particular nerves so it was negative. She needed to proove to surgeons that these nerves were trapped and needed to be surgically freed.
While I awaited my next appointment, which wasn't for another month, I went to my chiropractor in tears because her exam of my foot made the pain so much worse. I was back on crutches and could not bear any weight at all. Once I told him that the theory was entrapped nerves he said that he could "traction" my foot(move and spread all the bones) and move the tallus bone on top of the foot and few other things. He did not know if this would help of not but it was worth a try. He works for the NE Patriots football team and does this adjustment to the players on the field when their feet get mangled.
Within 10 days of his 10 minutes of work on my foot, ALL of the RSD symptoms disappeared. I awoke on day 11 with that "feeling" gone.
It has taken 2 full years of rehab and intense pt to gain back all the muscle lost to atrophy but I finally have been discharged from medical care and began working again fulltime just 2 weeks ago. I no longer have any pain anywhere in my body. It was a long, frustrating hard road but I made it.
My medical records state that "It is a miracle" but I'm not sure I beleive that. The medical explaination of my rsd symptoms was that because the nerves were trapped, my nervous system became hyperactive which causes the host of rsd symptoms. In a sense, I had a "curable" type 2 RSD. They had thought that I had nerve damage when I really had nerve entrapment that could be fixed. I knew it all along but no one would listen to a mere mortal without an MD!
So that is my story of recovery. I have been put in contact with another woman in Canada who recently had surgery to un-entrap 4-5 nerves in her foot and she too has awoken with the rsd-type pain gone. She's got a long road ahead of her but when she woke up she said the pain was totally different. That is how I felt after my surgeries on my ulnar nerve over 20 yrs ago. There is also many case studies on rsd and nerve entrapments now in 2006 but in 2001-2004 there was nothing out there published.
Questions that I still have:
- did I have RSD or not?
- was it really the chiropractic adjustment or was it a combination of all the therapies I tried?
- did my use of ketamine play any part?
- would my RSD have resolved itself if my chiropractor didn't make those adjustments?
- why didn't all of Boston's Best Doctors figure this out sooner?
That's it in a nutshell. Unfortunately, the forum that I used to post to(braintalk) crashed and does not have all of the hundreds of posts available for you to search thru and read. I was very active and posted alot about all of my experiences with the different alternatives that I tried.
I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions or help you in any way.
I am hoping that if just 1 person recovers because of my story then maybe, just maybe the suffering I endured for so long will be worth it in some strange karmic sort of way.
Peace and HOPE to you. Never give up trying to find YOUR cure.