Thursday, June 18, 2015

Yeah, But Does It Work?

Now, I imagine you are probably wondering, "does what work?"

Say what?

Sorry, that sounded funnier in my noggin than it does in my bloggin'.

Okay, as I have mentioned before, I have peripheral neuropathy. I have PN in my feet, sometimes to my knees, and in my hands and arms.

PN can be quite painful. Sometimes it's a burning sensation, and sometimes it's pins n' needles, stabby-like, and sometimes it feels like a cat ripping your feet apart with fangs n' claws.
It can also get the muscles in the affected areas all super-clenched, tight, and charlie horse-like.
For me, the feet are the worst, but over the last year, in my hands n' arms it has progressed in pain.

Needless to say, it ain't no picnic. It also makes it difficult to sleep for long.
I take gabapentin and pain pills amd that does help, but the only drug that has ever completely knocked out the oain is oxycontin, and the VA only allows that if you're on your deathbed (spoiler alert: I didn't die, which is good news, but since I got better, no more oxycontin).

IRT the VA, pain management is not good. That's not my doctor's fault, it's the fault of bureaurats who think they know better than doctors.
The argument these idiots give for not allowing better pain management is that because a few guys abuse the pain meds (and some die as a result), it's too dangerous for everyone else who doesn't abuse them.

I'm willing to bet that more vets commit suicide because they can't get any relief from chronic pain than those who die because of drug abuse.
And it really pisses me off to no end (Big Trouble In Little China reference there...jest because) when bloody politicians and their ilk punish us law abiding folks because of what a few people foolishly do.

Regardless, the idiots who think they know better than doctors can't care less about what our vets are going through. Long as they keep getting their bonuses, even when they lie, cook their books and vets die as a result, there's no reason for them to be concerned.

Plus, whistleblowers under the Obama admin. get punished for telling the truth about these bureaurat scum, so I expect less will be willing to speak up when future abuses happen.
I guarantee obummercare will be far worse, but at least it's free. I mean, more expensive than it ever was.
As Bob has said, this is why we can't have nice things.

Anyways, about a month ago I decided to try deep tissue massage to see if that might help.
Of course, I hafta pay for that myself, because the VA doesn't cover it except sometimes in the case of physical therapy.
But I was gettin' a bit desperate, so fine, I thought, let's try it once and see if it's worth it.

Aye. It is definitely worth it. I felt remarkably better after my first visit, where the therapist worked on my arms, hands, shoulders and neck.
I have gone back every week since, to have the same areas worked on.

I haven't gotten the courage to have my feet worked on, because I can barely wash my feet myself with a severe spike in pain, let alone massage them.
My therapist wants to try working on my hips and upper legs, the idea being it may help my feet and lower legs, since all the nerves are sort of connected, or something like that (I forget exactly how it went),  so I will give that a try.

I have tried other homeopathic stuff, like the pepper skin cream, but none of that helped.
Therapeutic massage does help, and tremendously, I am happy to report.
I also sleep better than I did before, and a bit longer, up to 3-4 hours now, in a row.
Before I started this, it was maybe 2 hours, or an hour here and there, or less.

Thank God I took a chance to try this. It's costly, but when you get to a certain point, then.., well, having more money sure ain't gonna take any pain away.
If you guys know anyone who may be suffering from PN, or any other sucky medical problems, pass it on.
Massage therapy just might help.

Oh, I almost forgot, there are several different types of massages, even one that is tailored for migraines, but a good, licensed MT can explain all that, and there's plenty of info online.
All I know for certain is that deep tissue massage works, and I went in expecting it not to really help much at all, so no placebo effect here.
I sure can't argue with the results. :)


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

BTW, this is kinda cool, my therapist is a Navy vet also. So we got plenty to talk about. :)

Leslie Godwin said...

Ben, I'm so glad you decided to give that a try. I also agree that pain management is handled so poorly. The brief times I've had serious pain has opened my eyes to what pain can do to a person physically, mentally, and spiritually. I can't imagine dealing with that on an ongoing basis.
Prayers going out to you, Mrs. G

John Lien said...

That's good news Ben. Sucks about the irrational fear towards opiates our government has.

Been having nerve issues myself these last few months. Lost the ability to lift up my left foot. One day, extreme pain in the lower leg for about and hour. Went for a walk to walk it off. A mile into the walk and, blip, lights out for that muscle. Dr. thinks it's an incurable genetic disorder. I'm hoping it is a pinched nerve in my back. Anyway, more an inconvenience than suffering. But, I can relate to your condition a bit.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thank you, Leslie.
Prayers are always helpful. IRT pain, Thanks be to God, I have endured far more than I ever imagined I could.
There are lots of people that are worse off than I am. These experiences sure have given me more empathy for those who suffer chronic pain.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Oh man, I will keep you in my prayers, John.
What is the long term prognosis, if you don't mind me asking? Is your doctor certain about that diagnosis? If not, you might wanna get a second opinion.
I didn't know a pinched nerve could cause that to happen.

John Lien said...

Thanks Ben. He diagnosed me with CMT, but we didn't do a genetic test which is definitive but expensive. CMT has a long-term prognosis of continued deterioration and loss of muscle function in the hands and feet. Pretty grim, but I think that he may be wrong. We'll see if I get muscle function back. Getting some feeling back, so I'm hopeful. My GP says nerve damage takes a long time. It could be from trauma from setting my knee on the sharp edge of my desk from an extra long session at the computer, combined with bad posture, and accommodating a cat on my lap. Which is a really dorky way to cripple yourself. But I'll take that explanation over CMT.

I have chronic back pain on that side, the interwebs say that foot drop, my condition, can be caused by a pinched nerve in the back. MRI radiologist says that isn't the case. But I dunno.

So, I've dropped 50 lbs on the squats and upped the reps and am trying to take better care of my back.

We'll see.

mushroom said...

I'm willing to bet that more vets commit suicide because they can't get any relief from chronic pain than those who die because of drug abuse.

I have known people who killed themselves because they could not take the pain. The first round of neuropathy my wife went through made her suicidal, and our son is the same way. He finally got a TENS-type implant.

Strangely enough, our daughter who is still recovering from her stroke is now having neuropathic pain on her left side. She named a drug that helped, but I was multitasking and missed it.

Ben and John, both you will be in my prayers.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

John, I really hope the doctor is wrong.
In any event, working out can only help, since that strengthens the muscles and increases the blood flow.
Thanks for sharing that, John.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, Dwaine.
I have seen how miraculous prayers are, so that is much appreciated. Prayers for your daughter and son.

Oh, when I said that massage therapy is costly, it really isn't compared to most medical procedures. The place I go to charges 60 bucks an hr., so I don't wanna give the impression it's scary expensive. Taking my dogs to the vet often costs more than that.
My daughter, the ER doc highly recommends massages even if folks don't have serious medical problems, and she's glad I'm getting them now. She gets them to help with the aches of all the martial arts she likes to do.

John Lien said...

Thanks guys for your prayers. Feels good so have someones, besides immediate family, to share with. And, prayers back at you and for your loved ones.

julie said...

Yes, prayers all around, and I hope you guys do get some meaningful relief. So glad you've found something that seems to be helping, Ben!

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks, Julie!
Another plus, because of less pain I have more energy. This really is miraculous to me. To get some relief after so long...just, wow!
The last time I had this great feeling is when I was able to walk n' talk again, and get up outta my deathbed.
Whole lotta symbology here. Miracles are deep.
Thank you, God and massage therapist.
And thank you for your prayers you guys. :)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

John, Anytime, Brother. I mean that. Don't any of you guys hesitate to ask for my prayers, talk or anything else I can do. You all were and are always there for me, and I feel honored anytime I can help out in any way I can.