Linsey Heidelberg was enjoying her teenage years and looking forward to her first step of independence, turning 16 years old. In addition to being a vibrant leader and National Honor Society member, Linsey loved gymnastics and was a three-time All-American cheerleader.
In August 2004, Linsey suffered a knee injury. After two months of physical therapy, she returned to cheerleading. One week after returning to the squad, Linsey suffered a fractured vertebra (L4 Pars Defect) performing a stunt at practice. This serious injury resulted in a back brace and later surgically implanted wires and screws to stabilize her back. Although Linsey had begun to recover from these two accidents, increasing pain in her leg and back caused her condition to deteriorate until she began to suffer seizures, sometimes lasting up to six hours, due to the intense pain.
In May 2005, Linsey was finally diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), an incurable chronic neurological syndrome affecting millions worldwide. CRPS/RSD is characterized by severe pain, swelling, marked skin color and temperature changes, excessive sweating, movement disorders and extreme sensitivity to touch. For the next six months, this condition controlled Linsey’s life.
Linsey relied on a number of medications often simultaneously, including steroids and sympathetic nerve blocks. “Nothing took the pain away,” Linsey said. She attempted biofeedback and aquatic therapy with little relief and any kind of weight-bearing physical therapy was impossible because of the pain.
She was always in terrible pain. Standing would cause her leg to turn a deep purple in color from the knee down and her foot was completely numb. Even walking using crutches meant dragging her limp foot behind her. The constant threat of seizure brought on by intense pain confined Linsey to a wheelchair.
Despite a total of 15 seizures, Linsey tried to continue with her education until August 2005, when she was officially forced to withdraw from school. The only option left to combat the pain seemed to be to implant a spinal cord stimulator in her back, which was scheduled for the end of September 2005.
Treatment and Results
Linsey’s spine specialist had heard of the InterX and suggested she try this therapy. “I was immediately amazed by the sensations I could feel in my foot,” Linsey said, after her first treatment in September 2005. After nine treatments, she was able to bear weight on her injured leg with the help of crutches.
After 14 treatments, Linsey was off of all medications and walking without crutches or a knee brace. Her range of motion has been completely restored and she is now able to have weight-bearing physical therapy to strengthen her muscles. She is back at school and is returning to normal social activities. Her scheduled spinal surgery was cancelled, and Linsey has not had a single seizure since the day of her first InterX treatment.
Though there is no recognized cure for CRPS/RSD, Linsey keeps her pain at a manageable level by self-treating one to three days per week. Linsey plans to volunteer with the physical therapists at the hospital where she was treated, and eventually become a physical therapist for children and treat with the InterX. “InterX therapy gave me back the most important things in my life,” Linsey said. “In fact, it gave me my life back.”