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Tuesday, January 17, 2012

REFLARES OF PAIN: UNFAIR, BUT PART OF THE PROCESS

This is an email from a typical patient expressing her frustration over a recent reflare of her symptoms. The symptoms are in the front of her foot, and a recent MRI showed no sign of fractures or neuromas.

Hi Dr. Blake,

My foot has been flare up since Sunday after a yoga class, I have been using the contrast bath, but not too much ice though, according to the acupuncturist, she thinks that I need more blood circulation to improve the nerve problem. Icing is not a good option in Chinese medicine.

Last time (Thursday) I visited her, we had a very good acupuncture session, she attached electrodes to needles to provide continued stimulation (like the Stim unit). After the treatment, I felt good, walked without any nerve problem for a while.

Sunday morning I went to a yoga class, I felt OK during the walk from my home to the gym, but there were several standing poses in the yoga class that required strong foot position, then I felt a lot of nerve activities. After the class, I went home to apply a contrast bath, and it seems to quiet down a little.
But yesterday and today, I can feel the nerve problem all the time even when wearing my MBT shoes or sneakers (on a better day, I can almost feel normal in those shoes).
So now I'm applying ice, hoping it will not get any worse.

I forgot to ask you if you have a diagnosis report that I can bring with me when I visit my Physical Therapist and my Acupuncturist. I went to my PT office on Friday, but they were not sure if it's OK to treat me with massage and ultra-sound, so they asked to see the doctor or MRI report and maybe your recommendation for PT. 
Also I want to ask you if it's OK that my Acupuncturist massage my foot, in her opinion, she thinks there is scar tissues developed, so she wants to deep massage them to break down the scar tissues. 

I forgot to ask you if you have seen any possible fracture in my MRI? These two days, I started to feel "similar feelings" as when I had the stress fracture on my metatarsal two years ago. Am I starting to get paranoid or is it really a fracture? 
Can you see it from the MRI if there's any fracture line, since we did not looking for fracture but neuroma, is it possible the MRI might miss a fracture line?

I still have my immobilizer boot from two years ago, should I start to wear it, will that help to improve my condition?

Sorry to ask you tons of questions, I was feeling better last week and felt the condition might be improving, but now I feel the problem again, it really brings my spirit down again and my mind starts to go crazy a little........

Thank you very much in advance.


And here is my response:

 Thanks for the email and sorry about your flareup. Flareups are quite common, and you have may a few more until we get this under control. One of the secrets to not going insane is in quickly controlling the symptoms of a flareup. Definitely the boot and icing are wonderful to do right now. Wear your removable boot 24/7 for three days longer than you need. If it puts stress on your back, go to our sports shop and get an EvenUp for the other shoe. Ice for 10 minutes 3 to 4 times per day. 2 Advil 3 times per day for 5 days on, followed by a 2 day rest is appropriate. Since it is nerve pain, absolutely no deep massage at all. Accupuncture is great. PT is rarely helpful at this time. The MRI shows no fractures. When you know it has been irritated by the yoga, only ice for 48 hours. The contrast bathes may have heated it up too much. Hope this helps. Finished your orthotics today!! See you soon. Rich

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Thank you very much for leaving a comment. Due to my time restraints, some comments may not be answered.I will answer questions that I feel will help the community as a whole.. I can only answer medical questions in a general form. No specific answers can be given. Please consult a podiatrist, therapist, orthopedist, or sports medicine physician in your area for specific questions.