Dallas CRPS Treatment Patient Testimonials – A.T.’s Story
My injury started as a herniated disc (L4/L5) in September 2006 at the age of 18, a month into my freshman year of college. I was on the swim team and was determined to not let my injury interfere with my athletics or academics. I never had much back pain, but my left leg/sciatic nerve, foot, and hip were constantly in pain/tingling and the initial round of drugs, rest, and core strengthening prescribed did nothing for it. I returned to swimming within a week, which was the only thing that gave me any sort of relief. I developed many biomechanical compensations and imbalances over the first year in order to keep swimming at a high level with the amount of pain I was enduring, which eventually caused its own set of pains to develop, especially in my hip and SI joint.
Over the first 4 years, I had five injections which did not seem to help and caused new symptoms. I saw two chiropractors, tried traction and many types of painkillers, saw six different physical therapists who practiced a wide range of different methods, had a nerve conduction study and EMG that showed no nerve damage (even though I couldn’t feel the needles sticking into my muscles), had three MRIs, and saw five different doctors, all of whom said my MRI didn’t look bad enough to warrant surgery. The doctors stated I should just keep doing conservative treatments (even though they weren’t working). Multiple doctors and PTs gave up on me after my first visit, and the drugs never did anything for me besides give me miserable side effects, so I didn’t continue taking them.
Besides swimming, I found some relief beginning spring 2008 from an amazing physical therapist who has been determined to help me find a solution. We worked on correcting my biomechanical problems, which successfully decreased my pain, but I struggled to maintain my progress despite 2-3 times a day PT exercises. My college swimming career was far from successful and just making it through my senior year of swimming felt like a huge accomplishment since I still had constant, miserable amounts of pain and if I skipped even a day of PT exercises, my pain would intensify even more. It felt like my muscles had to be constantly reminded how to work and my bad postural habits and associated pain would increase without daily exercises.
In January 2011, my pain inexplicably flared up to a new, indescribable level. There was intense pain of every kind constantly shooting through my entire leg, hip, and SI joint – no longer just along my sciatic nerve, my tingling intensified and spread through my whole leg, and I began to feel constantly nauseous. It took 10 months, two more ineffective injections, two more types of PT, another chiropractor, another three types of useless drugs, three more MRIs showing minimal change in my disc, another “normal” nerve conduction study and EMG and six more doctors with worsening of pain and nerve symptoms, before I finally found a surgeon willing to help.
In October 2011, I had a successful minimally invasive laminectomy. The surgery removed the tugging/irritating pain on my nerve that I previously got whenever I moved, but my tingling, nerve pains, and numbness in my leg and hip persisted. I was in grad school plus working part time and didn’t have time to focus on my recovery, but I continued my daily PT to help keep myself from getting worse. It helped, but the weird nerve symptoms still continued to progress. I continued swimming 5-6 times a week, even with the unbearable pain before surgery, which helped keep my leg mobile, but I was not able to do much else with my leg besides normal daily activities to keep it strong. Any bending, twisting, or impact would trigger a flare-up that could take days to weeks to calm down.
After graduating in December 2013, I decided to focus exclusively on recovering. By that point, I had given up on ever feeling anywhere near normal again, but I at least needed to get my pain under control and stop my downward spiral. The stress of finishing grad school had intensified my nerve pains again. I was constantly physically and mentally exhausted from dealing with the pain, regardless of how much I slept. By working closely with my PT in North Carolina and spending up to 2 hours a day doing my PT exercises, I quickly made huge strides with my biomechanical issues. I started to regain some function and feeling in my hip and leg, but most of the weird nerve pains persisted. I was still constantly exhausted, and I’d still often wake up in the middle of the night with an unbearable throbbing pain in my hip and leg.
My PT finally diagnosed me with RSD, giving her the idea of trying the InterX Device. They have some devices at their clinic, but neither she nor any of the other PTs in that clinic were trained in using it with chronic pain patients. Regardless, I almost immediately started to have my first real reversals in nerve symptoms, I started to be able to maintain my posture while decreasing time spent doing PT exercises, the SI joint pain that I had struggled with for years disappeared entirely, my flare-ups became less frequent, and I could bend my back enough to sleep on my stomach for the first time in almost 8 years!
After 2-3 months of guessing how to treat me, my PT found Janice Walker, OT, InterX Therapy Center in Dallas, Texas, who very graciously agreed to guide us from a distance. While I have never met Janice in person, she has been incredibly helpful, and my progress has soared since she began helping us in August 2014. After speaking with Janice the first time, I was completely overwhelmed with everything she told me about the treatment and the whole recovery process, but for the first time in years, I was filled with hope that I could make a full recovery.
It took another flare-up of my pain, but I finally got there and my progress has rapidly increased. I still have constant nausea, pain and tingling, and I still get minor flare-ups from some daily activities such as sitting, but both the intensity and the number of pain symptoms have decreased dramatically and things calm down much more quickly after being aggravated. I feel like I’m still continuing to make huge strides with each round of treatments, and I’m confident that I will make it to a pain-free state!
After spending a third of my life in intense pain, I’ve forgotten what a “normal” leg feels like, so it’s difficult to put into words how much progress I’ve made. I often realize after a treatment that a pain is gone that I didn’t know was there to begin with because it had been there so long. My tingling has decreased through my whole leg and foot, my leg no longer constantly has a heavy/achy/tired feeling that makes it hard to stand or walk, my hip feels stronger and more stable, my nausea is improving, I’m no longer constantly completely stressed out, overwhelmed, and exhausted, my sleep is improving and when I do wake up at night, I no longer have my horrible hip pain that makes me want to rip my leg out of its socket. I used to get an intense shooting pain in my leg and hip if I stood still for more than 30 seconds, but I can now stand for hours without that pain, and when it does flare-up, I now have the tools I need to calm things back down almost immediately. My foot doesn’t feel trapped anymore when I wear shoes. My leg is less restless, feels less dead, and feels like it’s part of my body again (except when it occasionally feels too GOOD to be mine!). I no longer get flare-ups of pain and a chill down my leg or even my entire left side whenever I get stressed, nervous, anxious, or scared. My muscles are learning how to work again and don’t heed excessive reminders throughout the day – instead of 2 hours of PT daily, I’m down to one or two 5-minute exercises daily to help me maintain my posture. I have the energy and motivation to do things that I enjoy again. My list of improvements could go on and on… even things that seem unrelated have improved – my vision seems clearer, the ringing and pressure in my ears has decreased in intensity and frequency, and I can think clearly for the first time in years.
While the process of healing has been incredible, it has not been easy. The InterX treatments are really rough on my body and I leave each session feeling completely mentally and physically drained of energy, shaky, nauseous, dizzy, lightheaded, dehydrated, mentally spacey, and/or with a throbbing headache, but I also usually leave with an indescribably amazing feeling in my leg and with the biomechanical imbalances that I have been working frustratingly hard to correct for years completely melted away. The side effects eventually fade and the relief obtained in the long run from the treatments is completely worth it. The relief still begins fading after a few weeks, but it’s starting to persist for longer, and my pain doesn’t build back up to the same level it was previously. I’m honestly shocked at the amount of progress I’ve made over the past year, especially since most of the other treatments I’ve tried have only made me worse. The InterX is not masking the pain or even just treating symptoms; it feels like my body is actually permanently healing for the first time since my original injury almost 9 years ago.
I’ve realized that the InterX is an incredibly powerful tool and I never could have made this much progress without it, but I credit my recovery to many other factors as well. Janice’s holistic approach to healing has taught me that everything is connected, so I’ve committed myself to recovering by cutting out all processed foods from my diet, learning to control and decrease stress, improving my sleep habits, continuing my daily PT, plus adding in new things like Pilates, yoga, and barre-relief from the InterX has allowed me to do activities such as these without flaring up my pain, which has increased my strength, mobility, and flexibility, which in turn has decreased my pain even more. After spending 7-8 years unable to do much with my lower body, my legs had become noticeably weaker, but I’m finally starting to feel like I have muscles again and my legs and hip feel stronger and more functional than they have in years.
I am thankful beyond words to have been connected with Janice and to have finally found what seems to be a solution to my pain. I trust Janice and the InterX completely and have realized that Janice is always right, even when things sound crazy at first. I cannot say enough good things about her, as she has selflessly helped me through so many questions and has taught me so much from 1,000 miles away – she even helped me to more quickly recover from a nasty case of poison ivy! If you are willing to put in the effort to recover, I have no doubt that Janice and treatment with the InterX can help with ANY problems!