Monday, 28 April 2008

Recent Changes/Observations

Recent Changes & Observations on Nerve Pain & Movement

Nerve Pain:
As mentioned previously, my first recovered movement was observed in my legs some 5 months post surgery. The next noticeable change occurred in January of 2007 when reaching for an item I noticed movement in my trunk. I suspect that the inflammation from the initial injury and surgical trauma began to subside in earnest at this time as concurrent with this improvement came improved transmission of all nerve signals. That included nerve pain which began as a burning sensation in my legs. This particular nerve pain could vary day to day in both location and intensity. The nerve pain has been with me daily since that time, 1 year and 3 months now since it first appeared.
  • Location - nerve pain could be as low as the ankles to the toes or extend from the toes to the knees.
  • Intensity - nerve pain can feel as gentle as having limbs immersed in soda water - a gentle bulbing, or it can be excruciating painful as if my legs were immersed in boiling water. The later occurs more often. In addition, on occasion, the legs get a feeling I can only describe as "creepy' - the feel intensely uncomfortable with an intense unpleasant tingling sensation that gives me the mental impression that the legs have swollen or blown up in size - under pressure - which they have not. There is no visual change, only the mental sensation. The drug Gabapentin does little or nothing to ease that particular pain. NSAID (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) have no effect on that pain either.

I have found no correlation between activity, exercise, height of legs (sitting/lying etc), diet etc. in the amount of discomfort I feel. Intensity and height (location) vary daily and for no apparent reason.
One observation that does seem to hold is that the burning or pressure feeling comes on more at night. My physiotherapist stated that this seems to hold for others with similar injuries although she didn't know why.

Changes? - Recently, during pool therapy, I have tried standing with my toes on a step in the pool and my heels hanging over the edge of the step. This aids in stretching out the achillies tendons which have shortened due to the inactivity. On two occasions I found that the following day the nerve pain was greatly reduced - to a livable intensity. I have to try repeating this to see if it in fact does reduce the nerve pain.

Mobility - Now, almost two years post injury I've noticed movement in my feet (below the ankles). I suspect this is more of a result of exercise than any change of neurological condition. The more I've been standing and walking with the leg braces, the more the achillies get stretched out and foot joints loosened. Now I can wiggle my feet up and down although pushing down the 'ball' of my foot is more effective than pulling it up. I also notice the tiniest flicker of side to side motion of the foot. ie. if the foot is flat on the floor, being able to push down on the inside or outside edges alternatively. Both these actions are crucial in maintaining balance while standing.