Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
The Chi Machine and SOQI Ceramic FIR Heater Dome (formerly the Far Infrared HotHouse) has improved the quality
of my life with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD/CRPS)!
"It all began in January, 1994. I was diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), now often called CRPS our Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. After 7 Left Lumbar Sacral Blocks and a Left Lumbar Sympathectomy, I still had a large amount of pain, muscle contractions, inability to initiate movement (I fell down a lot), edema (oedema), goose bumps, and the sleeping problems. I tried a lot of different medications and in 1996 I ended up on Neurontin, Relafen, Skelaxin, and Clonazepem to manage my symptoms.
The New Normal! I was still in pain ( bone pain, nerve pain, musculoskeletal pain, and some neuropathy), but I actually think I got used to feeling a certain level of pain, and would somehow manage to muddle through the day, always remembering in the back of my mind keep going - laying down won't make you feel better. I was told when I was diagnosed that Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy was the pain that never goes away - boy did I believe that!
The Therapies: In the beginning I had a year of physical therapy which to this day I feel was crucial in keeping me moving. Use it or lose it! I scheduled lots of appointments with massage therapists and chiropractors to keep my spine aligned and my muscles as loose as possible. I even went to an herbalist to see if certain vitamins and minerals would help. My life's priority became managing my symptoms and pain, trying to keep them at a tolerable level. It seemed at least twice a year I would have the big bang that took me out for a couple of weeks at a time.
The spasm of the paraformis muscle (piriformis). I lived this way until about three years ago and one morning after I got out of the shower, the paraformis muscle (the one that presses on your sciatic nerve) in my left buttocks went into a severe muscle spasm and I fell to the floor. I couldn't believe it - I mean how much worse could it get! I went to the chiropractor, the internist, and called the neurologist. I couldn't sit, walk, or lay down comfortably for any length of time in any one position. Often, my husband had to help me dress. All my doctors said after 3 years of this - we think it is time you go back to the pain management clinic and see if there is some type of injection or procedure they can do to release that muscle. I agreed and scheduled an appointment.
Finding the Chi Machine and the Far Infrared Dome. While waiting for my appointment at the pain clinic, I met a man selling these products/medical devices - The Chi Machine and Hot House (Fir Dome). He told me about the two week free trial. I thought it was kind of a stretch, but I read the information that he gave me and looked at my treatment options comparing the Chi Machine and FIR Dome to the current RSD treatments being offered (a possible spinal implant pain regulator, more injections, ketamine) and decided to try the Chi Machine and Fir Dome, especially since if it didn't do anything in 14 days, I could return the products!
The first week of using the Chi Machine and Far Infrared Dome, I really didn't notice much. I did notice that the Chi Machine was relaxing and the warmth of the FIR Dome felt great on my leg muscles. The second week, my brother in law noticed that I was walking different. He thought my walking didn't seem as labored or that I was dragging my left leg as much. My husband felt that I was looking better overall and told me to keep using the machines, we were not going to return them, so I did.
By the end of the first six weeks I was feeling so much less pain and noticed that even my paraformis muscle loosened up. It was looser than it had been in 3 years! I also noticed that I had been forgetting to take my medication. I would open up my pill pack to take my nightly dose of pills and the day was still full of all my pills. I went back to the Neurologist and Chiropractor and the paraformis muscle was so loose in my left buttocks that the Chiropractor actually thought that I had had the procedure done at the pain clinic! I told him that I didn't have the procedure, I bought a Chi Machine and Fir Dome and left him some brochures! The Chiropractor said he had heard of the Chi Machine and would be taking another look at it for his patients with conditions similar to mine. The neurologist thought I looked great and wondered how it went at the pain clinic - I advised her I didn't go and gave her some brochures too!
Currently, I am doing better than I ever thought I would, and am a long way from how I felt when I arrived at the pain clinic in June of 1994. I use these products twice a day and am doing well with my pain management. I have completely stopped my medication of the Neurontin, Relafen, and Skelaxin. I still take one Clonazapem at night for sleep. I will always need that compression stocking (mostly I think because of the Sympathectomy), but my other leg doesn't swell any more and my life has improved for the better. I never thought I would be able to plan to go somewhere on a Saturday and actually be feeling good enough by Saturday to go!
It has been one year this month since I began using the Chi Machine and Far Infrared Dome and I thank God everyday for crossing paths with the distributor selling them. I ordered them and feel blessed and obligated to share my story with everyone in hopes that these products would help someone else. I feel these products are worth trying for everyone with RSD/CRPS or other similar neurological problems to see if they help you as much as they helped me. The Chi Machine is regulated by the FDA as a therapeutic massager! I always benefited from massage therapy in loosening my muscles and helping with contractions but in no way does it compare to the results I have experienced using the Chi Machine.
I, for the first time, have positive hopes for my future and managing my RSD!
Thanks for taking the time to read my story. Stay strong, keep positive (I know how hard that can be), and remember
you are not alone! I always pushed myself and the progress I have made has paid off. I always felt that any
treatment or modality is worth trying for our health, and that our health and wellness should be our own
decision. I am glad I went outside the box and tried something different (alternative treatments).
Update 04/07/09: After 4 years I still use the Chi Machine, the SOQI Ceramic FIR Heater Dome, and the Electro Reflex Energizer to manage my pain and many other symptoms associated with my RSD. I continue to be thankful for these wonderful wellness products and alternative treatments. I am back to full activity, exercising twice a day and enjoy riding my bike 2-4 miles a day in the spring, summer, and fall.
It is no surprise to me, that the Chi Machine's three main benefits of passive aerobic exercise, massage, and supporting a healthy circulatory system have truly benefited me by helping me to keep my muscles loose and my swelling from edema and muscle spasms to a minimum. The research on relieving pain with low frequency stimulation is why I purchased and continue to use the Electro Reflex Energizer. I feel the Electro Pads have helped me target the pain I get in the large muscle groups, like my hips, lower back, and thighs. I have also used the Electro Reflex Energizer on my hands because they get tired from typing so much. I do use the Electro Reflex Energizer on my feet and although it seems to slightly excite the nerves, I do think it has helped in relieving my pain. The Far Infrared Dome is wonderful for helping me relax and relieves the deep bone pain I rarely get anymore.
I am still taking the Clonazapem at bedtime and feel blessed to have helped many of you. I don't think I would be able to have such an active life if I didn't have these products to use on a daily basis! Keep your faith and hope alive! I am here if you need me. Thank you for allowing me to continue to share my story.
Update 02/10/2020: Well two years ago I weaned off the Clonazapem. For me, I was aging and had found a few articles on-line mentioning long term use and memory loss. This frankly scared me. I contacted my doctor and pharmacist and went through a year long process of decreasing my dose. I went from 1 pill per day, to half a pill per day. Then I went to half a pill every other day and then stopped. I can't say I would want to repeat that process. The withdrawal symptoms were absolutely horrible. I had beyond trouble sleeping for several months. I would sleep a couple hours and wake up and be up the rest of the day. I also had a feeling that someone was pulling on my skin from the inside of my body. The feeling was similar to the movement of someone putting on tights or stockings. I do feel overall that I have more energy and am thinking clearer. I am thankful this is behind me and happy to be sleeping again. Word of advice, if you ever decide to stop taking medication, please do it under the supervision of your doctor like I did!
My 3 Gifts for Wellness!
Gift Number One: Make the decision to get well.
Gift Number Two: Be Willing to NOT conform to opinions and statistics surrounding your diagnosis.
Gift Number Three: Surround yourself with friends, family, and professionals who support you in the decisions you make in regards to your healthcare allowing you to explore all options (including alternative medicine), even if they do not agree with you.
The Chronic Pain Cycle
Those who deal with chronic pain, should be aware of its cycle and understand its psychological effects.
1. The cycle generally begins with prolonged periods of rest and inactivity, causing a loss of physical strength, endurance, and flexibility. This may result in the beginning of a loss of confidence in your ability to do things and a lowering of your personal goals.
2. The inability to perform usual activities at home and/or work promotes you to feel frustrated and could lead to you feeling unproductive. This could possibly lower your self esteem further leading to depression.
3. During times when your pain is most tolerable, you may have the tendency to overexert yourself in an effort to prove to yourself and others that you can still do the same things you did before your chronic pain began.
4. As a result of this overexertion, the pain often returns more severe than before. This will leave you unable to finish tasks or accomplish goals. Feeling discouraged and in pain, you begin limiting your activities and the cycle begins again.
I know that this cycle was true for myself! If this cycle is true for you, recognize it and try to avoid repeating it!