Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fibromyalgia, Laser, PT and Pati's flare control

Hi everyone!
I said I’d keep you posted on my experience with the 830Laser light and physical therapy (pt) when I made my appointment with our November speaker, Mel Arevalo.

I went in with hope, but I kept my expectations in neutral. As we all know, there is no one therapy or treatment that works for everyone. Whether it’s chiropractic, acupuncture, reflexology, massage, physical therapy, cold laser therapy, water therapy or any other treatment, OR even a combination of two or three of them. It often takes experimenting with this one or that one to find out what works FOR YOU. I have found that for me, all of these (and others) have worked to some extent on one or other of my symptoms. Several factors decide which one I will use:

1) which particular symptoms I am hoping to help – I have yet to find one
treatment to help all of the symptoms – or Rx or supplement either, for that
2) a treatment I am comfortable experiencing
3) a therapist I have a good rapport with
4) whether the therapy helps for a few days or a few weeks
5) whether the therapy is covered by insurance
6) whether it is nearby and I don’t have to travel in the car for two hours (to
Chicago or Ohio, for example), undoing all the benefits of the treatment!

As I mentioned in my prior blog describing Mr. Arevalo’s visit to our group, I don’t often experience daily Fibromyalgia pain any more – I do experience a number of other symptoms, however. I basically keep my pain under control with daily stretches, Tai Chi, meditation, proper foods, supplements and pacing myself realistically. But I do get flares when stressed or when I have over-extended myself, experiencing it mostly in my neck and shoulders, lower back and hip/thigh areas. And yes, the Fibro frogginess, anxiety, and IBS issues usually play a big part in my flares at the same time. The painful physical flares are often connected with my Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) and osteoarthritis pain, causing muscle and joint pain. Needless to say, it is to my benefit to avoid flares as much as possible by adhering to the above mentioned formula that works for me…especially the pacing.

I went to see Mr. Arevalo not only for my Fibromyalgia symptoms, but also for the AS and osteoarthritis, hoping to help three birds with one stone. I had no idea how many “parts” or symptoms of Fibro this therapy would help, but I was open to all possibilities.

During my evaluation, Mel discovered, the “knots” in each of the tender points in my neck and shoulder areas extending up to the base of my neck. More “knots” were found in my hip and buttocks area, inside my knees, etc. In other words, he found my active tender points.

The stretches and Tai Chi I had been practicing for the past eleven or more years has kept these muscle groups loose and well functioning, and has helped a lot, but they didn’t get down two or three inches below the surface of the skin where the muscles actually crossover each other and make a tender point. So when a flare occurred, of course this is where the pain showed up.

I have now visited Mr. Arevalo’s clinic for two and a half weeks and I have had a wonderful “loosening of these knots,” starting with the very first visit. However, I committed a grievous error after that first visit. I felt so good when I left the clinic that I went running around doing errands for the next two hours. After that I got tied up in other stuff and totally forgot to drink WATER! I only had a few sips of my green tea now and then from my travel mug. (Charlene forgive me, I really do know better!) Anyway, by late afternoon I was starting to get aches and pains in the small of my back, my hips, thighs, knees, ankles and feet. Then it hit me!!! W A T E R !!! I began drinking like a camel all evening! Then I got busy with my necessary flare protocol – I rolled-on Capsaicin to my back, hips, thighs and knees, and took two 600 mg capsules of Malic Acid and an extra Magnesium/Potassium Aspartate capsule (County Life makes my favorite one)and began gentle stretches. Drinking all this water now is something like closing the barn door after the horse has escaped, but I thought, “It couldn’t hurt.” By bedtime things had subsided well enough to get to sleep. I woke in the morning feeling no pain…so it worked! Yeah! I’ll not forget my water again!

My Cardinal Sin, of course was not drinking water immediately after the therapy. The laser and the physical therapy (pt) loosened all the toxins that were held prisoner in and around those knots in my neck. One MUST drink water after any physical-type treatment to flush those toxins out and away from other muscle tissue. Otherwise these toxins will leave the original area when worked on, and then free-float until they latch onto other muscle groups. In my case the laser had truly helped release all those toxins in my neck and shoulder area, then they slid down, latching onto my lower back muscles, hips, legs, and ankles, ultimately making mountains of pain! I have learned a very valuable lesson…again.

That was my first experience with the laser and pt. My second and all the rest of my visits consisted of true relief in my neck and shoulders, hips, legs, et al. The 830Laser treatments, stretches, neck massages, and the brief treadmill jaunts have been geared to my Fibro, AS and osteoarthritis . Each time we did a little more laser and pt, and added another minute on the treadmill (I started at 5 minutes with a break at three minutes—remember, start low and go slow). And after each subsequent visit, I drank three 8oz glasses of water during the following two hours, beginning immediately after my session. The result was no pain in the slightest degree after any of the subsequent sessions. In fact, I felt energized and ready to go. But I forced myself to pacing and being gentle on my body anyway, because these were new experiences to my body and I must adapt gently.

The laser is breaking up the knots! Yeah!

I should tell you that previously, I had been unable to walk more than ten minutes at a steady pace—walking in the park, for example—before my left hip would literally give out, sometimes rather drastically, and always very painfully. So I asked Mel to help me build up my strength and time for walking. I had not realized until now that this hip malfunction was due to the actual tender points’ being aggravated—aggravated to the point of pain and inflammation as I walked, by repeatedly rubbing those specific muscles against each other at the point of intersection where the tender point lies.

I will continue on the treadmill until I can exceed ten minutes, then twenty, then thirty. It’s looking really good right now because Mel is working the laser on those tender points and I can feel the loosening already. These are a bit stubborn, as are the ones on the right side of my neck, but they are loosening, more and more each time! I can definitely feel the difference, in the amount of stretching I can do.

I continue my stretches at home as I sit (or stand) and watch TV. Things are definitely looking up! For a totally painless procedure, I am very happy with the progress I’ve made. I am continuing, progressing and feeling more energetic with each visit. The laser seems to be a great booster to the pt, at least for me, helping to speed things along, completely painlessly. So this particular therapy is a “go” for me. It is not a cure, to be sure, but it is helping a great deal.

I have recently learned that there is another place in the area using cold laser therapy. Warren Chiropractic, also on Lincolnway in Osceola uses a different devise, which is also a cold laser therapy devise. Evidently there are a number of different brands, which may or may not have similar effects due to its strength or timing or whatever. I, personally, cannot say anything one way or the other about Warren’s devise as I have not experienced it. However, I was told by a fibromyalgia sufferer that when she experienced the cold laser treatment at Warren, along with the chiropractic, it did help several symptoms for a limited time. She says, “It is a helpful therapy, but not a panacea.”

For more information on the 830Laser Therapy or Mel's Clinic and Physical Therapy see the blog below (November's Fibro Notes). *:)

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fibromyalgia & Laser Light Healing

Fibro Notes for November 2010
Hi Everyone!
It is truly a pleasure to be able to share with you this information about a new healing therapy. Actually it’s not chronologically new; it’s just new to us in the Michiana area. Cells, whether animal, human or plant, don’t grow in space the same way they do here on earth, so NASA began using this type of therapy over 30 years ago to help heal astronauts and to help grow plants while in space. This therapy has been used on earth in Canada, Europe, Japan and some parts of Asia for nearly 30 years, too. This healing therapy is sometimes called light therapy or cold laser therapy; but what we learned about this month from our guest speaker was specifically, 830Laser Therapy. ™

830Laser Therapy is safe (except, of course in the eyes); it is scientifically proven to be effective, and it’s FDA approved! It is also approved by the Olympic Committee for their athletes! It is used by trained professionals in the physical therapy, chiropractic, podiatry, and dentistry professions and a host of others who are dedicated to healing.

Our guest speaker this month was Mel Arevalo who is first and foremost a Physical Therapist, as is his wife. They work their physical therapy magic in pediatrics, including children with special needs, ADHD and more, and in orthopedics and spine therapy. This husband and wife team had worked at Memorial Hospital for 8 years until recently, when they chose to open their own practice in Osceola, just east of Mishawaka on Lincoln Way East (U.S. 20). See full contact information below.

Together they have learned that although Physical Therapy (PT) does work wonders for pain and healing for all types and varieties of conditions, the use of the 830Laser in conjunction with PT, can enhance and speed the recovery of many conditions in most people.

Mr. Arevalo stresses that this 830Laser isn’t a panacea for all ills, for everyone, but it has worked almost miraculously for many…including his own knees and his wife’s TMJ (jaw pain)! In fact, he has seen it work for many, many of his patients. He gave several examples of a number conditions that have been helped in his patients (unnamed, of course). Most muscle, joint and tendon pain can be helped dramatically with anywhere from two to nine treatments!

What type of ailment does the 830Laser treat? Arthritis, Back Pain, Bursitis/Tendonitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Heel Spur/Plantar Fasciitis, Migraines and TMJ are listed on the brochure Mr. Arevalo provided, and there are even more conditions and ailments not listed here. The expected benefits are 1) reduced inflammation, especially acute inflammatory conditions and 2) increased tissue healing, whether from wounds or illnesses, and finally 3) a reduction in pain.

Because it is a “cold” of “soft” laser, you will feel no heat. In fact you may feel nothing at all except a slight tingling. The laser sends photons (light) into your tissue, passing through skin, blood, water and fat to penetrate 2” down below the surface to regenerate and rejuvenate cells, reducing inflammation, increasing cellular tissue healing and, as a result, reducing pain.

Treatments last from 10 - 40 minutes, based on the severity and type of condition being treated. Even though chronic conditions that have been ongoing for a long period of time may take more sessions, many people will find some, or even major relief at the very first session. And you may feel even more relief the next day.

This therapy actually increases your body’s regenerative powers by enhancing your body’s own cell repair and cell growth capabilities. This is healing in its truest sense. And then, with the addition of the stretches and gentle movements choreographed especially for you, the physical therapy will be able to work its real magic by strengthening and firming those muscle groups to prevent further damage and keep them strong and firm. And yes, massage therapy is very often a part of PT.

Insurance is accepted, of course, and if you have a referral from a physician, everyone can stay on the same page. Drs. Staniero, Domingo and Balog from South Bend/Mishawaka are several Rheumatologists in the area who have referred patients to Mr. Arevalo, and I’m certain there are others. If you make an appointment, he can call your current physician and get an OK for therapy in that way also. If you have no insurance, arrangements can be made.

Mr. Arevalo invites you to visit his office at Pediatrics, Orthopedics, and Spine Therapy Center, 1415 Lincolnway West, Suite M, Osceola, IN 46561, or visit their website at www.michianaphysicaltherapy.com for details or to set up an appointment for an evaluation, or call 574-675-7767.

Also please visit www.830Laser.com to find out more about this laser therapy - on the right side of the home page, click on the “View treatment demonstration” to find out much more on the video. Also on the right side near the bottom of the page you can click on “Find a Certified Provider Now.” Although they are not as numerous as we may like, I have a feeling this will change soon… as this therapy becomes more well-known. The New England Patriots find it as valuable as the Olympic Committee!

I’m afraid I’m sounding a bit like an advertisement here. I had “discovered” this therapy two years ago after my first book came out and I became excited at the whole concept. I had no way of knowing it was available anywhere in this area at the time. Now, here we are. And it’s right in my own back yard. My first appointment is Monday and I can hardly wait! I’ll keep you posted! Although I have no daily Fibromyalgia pain as I had had 12 years ago, I do have other symptoms that nag at me, and flare ups now and then, and of course Arthritis in…well, everywhere. So I am looking forward to less inflammation. And who knows what else will be helped along the way. *:)
Keep smiling everyone! It’s Important!