Tuesday, September 4, 2018


I haven't posted since July, 2016 and now feel ready to do so with this longer than usual blog. It is important I chronical the onset of my pain and the last few years that have for me, been the longest and most challenging time dealing with a chronic condition. Finally I am seeing a tremendous improvement in pain relief, an increase in my activity level and want to share with you what has truly helped me.

The passing of birthdays and dealing with enough injuries or conditions has taught me much. First, the body can get better given enough time, with some help from holistic and alternative methods. Second, we do not have to become a part of the "cookie cutter" traditional medical system. Third, we are all unique in our physical makeup and need to become detectives in uncovering what our bodies need to stay healthy and get us through the rough patches.

April 22, 2016, on my way home from a short walk I felt a sharp pull, then stabbing pain in my left groin, didn't know if I could make it the rest of the way and had no idea what happened or how to treat it. Initially, I did nothing and tried to carry on with the rest of my day. Unfortunately I had an outdoor event the next day and needed to prepare for it. That night, I took Arnica tabs and rubbed some gel on my skin, but it was a painful, rough time sleeping. Over the next few days, the pain was stabbing or aching and went down into my thigh. Looking on line, it seemed to be a grade 3 groin strain. Rest, ice, elevation and NSAIDS were the course of treatment. Tried to avoid the NSAIDS but after 2 weeks, went on Ibuprofen and saw my Chiropractor 2 times a week for about a month. It just wasn't getting better and a trip to my GP was next. After checking my range of motion, he felt it wasn't my hip and offered a stronger NSAID, which I didn't take right away. My activity level decreased along with daily walks. 
By July there was some improvement, although sometimes the pain was as severe as the initial onset so I took 2 weeks worth of the prescription anti inflammatory and wasn't happy about any of it. Could a torn muscle or ligament be involved? The prescription med didn't help and leg/thigh cramps became more of an issue along with my left knee hurting. During this entire time, I increased taking MSM to 1000mg, 3x per day, continued using Arnica, tried hot castor oil packs and used my home ultra sound unit. But I really wasn't sure what was going on and if I should be doing something more or different for treatment. 

All of this was quite enough to deal with and then in August, I broke the third metatarsal in my left foot! Not even sure how it happened. It might have started as a hairline fracture (maybe from my compromised gait) which led to a complete break needing a month in a non weight bearing cast followed by another month in a "rocking boot". Crutches and a knee walker got me around but by now, I was totally miserable. It seems my entire left leg from the groin to my foot was damaged and giving me grief. One thing certainly does lead to another and so it was with my left side. 
Not being able to walk and being in awkward positions when sitting or sleeping aggravated my groin even further. The metatarsal did heal well and I was finally able to be rid of the boot. But the top of my foot was now another pain issue diagnosed as traumatic arthritis. Limping and in pain I was ready to see an orthopedic doctor. If I at least knew what the groin pain was, maybe I could better deal with it. 

My orthopedic visit turned out to be truly disappointing. She said the range of motion in my hip was pretty good so it was hard to determine if the pain was from my hip or something else. Next were x rays of my hips and the left showed just mild narrowing in the joint. So she flippantly said, "The good news is you don't need a hip replacement", and then went on to say getting a steroid shot in my hip could be done 2 times a year. I asked what if it wasn't my hip involved, then what? She said I would still have pain. Thanks, but no thanks. I had researched cortisone shots and knew the damage they could cause such as weakening surrounding ligaments, tissue, etc. I requested PT and she said OK. Interesting how that wasn't recommended first or an MRI to really see what was going on in the area. 
So the beginning of December, in much pain, I hobbled into PT. It was a good move. The therapist treating me had to deal with my foot and groin area separately. Loosening up and getting strength back in my foot required one set of treatments/exercises and addressing my groin pain another. At this point, I was still unable to drive my car. For the next couple months I went 3 times a week, then two, finally once and was discharged the middle of March. My foot was greatly improved, my groin pain seemed to be on the mend and I was driving again. But to my disappointment, it wasn't over.
Within a couple months the groin pain was fierce and frequent again. My research on line led me to believe it could be related to muscles in my buttock area which were really knotted up when I first started PT. By the middle of May, I was back in PT, 2 times per week. Exercises and deep muscle massages were the course of action. It truly seemed to be helping along with my keeping up exercising at home. I had become a little more active with short walks and by the middle of August, I was again discharged. Hoping to see continued improvement, I was optimistic.
But throughout Autumn I was never completely free from pain, especially when overdoing things around the house, and still experienced intense bouts from time to time. By now, I was getting quite discouraged with the pain and restrictions it put on my life. Pain killers and anti inflammatory meds were not something I chose to use so it was time for me to try a TENS unit. In December 2017, I bought a very inexpensive one, was impressed that it helped relieve pain and bought a better one in January 2018 Endurance Therapeutics Aurawave TENS Unit  Also at this time, Pure Encapsulations - Magnesium (Glycinate)4 times per day was added to my supplement regiment. That was a great find in eliminating muscle cramps! The glycinate is a form which doesn't upset the GI tract. Again, it was something I learned on my own and realized the amount of magnesium I was previously taking just wasn't enough for me. At no time did any health care professional I had seen recommend supplements or a TENS unit for relief. So much for traditional medicine! After a couple months I saw something more convenient than a TENS unit to use when out walking, shopping, etc., and in April purchased a Quell Wearable Pain Reliefunit. It approaches relieving pain all over the body by wearing a cuff around just one calf. This was easier, did offer relief and became my "security blanket". But please note that the signals from these devices can interfere with the normal operation of pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). It is best to consult with your physician if you have any kind of implants.
But why wasn't I rid of this pain? Was it caused by something that wasn't being addressed? Without (and sometimes with) the TENS or Quell units, I still experienced some awful  periods of pain. So in July I went back to my GP and hoped for an answer. After another exam, he felt it could be a nerve issue and ordered an MRI. Maybe now, I might finally be correctly diagnosed. To my dismay, there was a diagnosis I had not been anticipating. Moderate to severe arthritis of my left hip along with a torn labrum/cartilage, not nerve or muscle damage, was my problem. The GP said it would be up to me how I wanted to proceed because he knew my stand on medications and orthopedic procedures. Feeling very depressed, I pulled out my copy of The Arthritis Cure: The Medical Miracle That Can Halt, Reverse, And May Even Cure Osteoarthritis by Jason Theodosakis, MD and started reading again what had helped me with my torn meniscus almost 10 years ago. Immediately I upped my dosage of glucosamine and chondroitin, Doctor's Best Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM But most importantly, the book reminded me of what I had forgotten, ASU. This is a supplement made from avocado and soybean unsaponifiable oils. France has been prescribing it for years to treat osteoarthritis patients. There are some brands of ASU on the market but I prefer to buy the supplement directly from Dr. Theo's website as I had done in the past, www.drtheo.com/index.htm
After just two weeks taking ASU once daily, I was starting to notice a difference. There were
no more bouts of the stabbing, burning groin pain even after increased activity. By three weeks, I wasn't using my TENS or Quell units every day and any pain I felt was more of a twinge or discomfort. After a month of taking ASU, I was elated! While I had felt relief before and then been disappointed with a severe bout of pain, it wasn't happening anymore. After 6 weeks, I still take the ASU daily but haven't needed the Quell unit. When I am using the TENS unit it is for lower back and buttock muscle discomfort, not hip/groin pain. No longer afraid to leave the house without either unit, is just short of a miracle for me. I know enough about osteoarthritis to realize it won't ever be cured but can be halted and somewhat reversed by these supplements. Continuing to take them and not ever forgetting the pain which lasted over 2 years, I can only hope the way I now feel will be the norm. 
Doing gentle exercising, short walks and bike rides, resting after being on my feet a couple hours and a good night sleep are all very important in dealing with my osteoarthritis. I never expect to now do what I did decades ago! Instead, being pain free and remaining active in my life is the goal to carry me into future years. 

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