It may sound odd to say this, but RSD sufferer Dayna Payne, a kind and intelligent 16-year-old, is a fortunate young woman. In late 2011, after surgery as a result of a fractured right foot, Dayna was diagnosed with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). Her constant symptoms included burning pain near the incision site, extreme aversion to touch and non-stop “pulsing pain” in the region. Over time, this chronic pain began to spread up through her back, into both wrists, and down to her left knee.
High school interrupted
During her freshman year of high school, Dayna was forced to withdraw from school due to the severity of her condition. All the while, her indefatigable parents aggressively sought out the latest treatment solutions to help their daughter (Dayna’s mother is a registered nurse and assistant director of nursing in the Emergency Department at a local hospital).
“I was taking several pain medications every day ─ Lyrica, Lortab, Ultram, and Nucynta; I also had uncomfortable injections and infusions; nerve blocks and finally underwent the trial for a spinal cord stimulator,” Dayna explains.
Dan Payne, Dayna’s father, says his daughter was not deemed an appropriate candidate for the spinal cord stimulator. “I was really upset after that bad news,” Dan recalls. “Little did I know, it was the best thing that could have happened.”
Resilient parents + caring boyfriend = A new RSD treatment discovery
Dayna’s devoted boyfriend, Skyler, researched on the Internet about treatments for RSD and discovered a YouTube video of Amanda Davidson from Indiana, a girl about Dayna’s age, who told her story about overcoming severe RSD after undergoing Calmare scrambler therapy. Dr. Michael Cooney of Calmare Therapy NJ, who specializes in treating RSD and CRPS patients, was Amanda’s doctor. Skyler presented his findings to Dayna and her parents, who researched Calmare’s success battling RSD even further.
“I’ll be honest, after all the disappointments we had been through, we nonetheless went up to New Jersey to try the Calmare, but felt pretty skeptical about any chance of it helping our daughter,” Dan says.
While undergoing treatment at Calmare Therapy NJ, Dayna met another RSD patient from Ohio who was receiving Calmare booster treatments. “She told me that this treatment doesn’t hurt and absolutely works,” Dayna says. After the first week of daily 45-minute treatments, Dayna’s pain decreased from a 10/10 to a 3/10. By the end of week two, she was nearly pain-free for a period of almost 24 hours straight. “We decided to do one extra treatment so I could go home with 0 pain, which I did.”
Adjusting to a life with less pain
The Payne family is slowly trying to get used to Dayna’s improved health. Everyone says one of the most meaningful benefits of Calmare’s success is that Dayna can be hugged by her family for the first time in more than two years. “Just being able to do this means the world to me,” Dayna says.
Going forward, the high school junior, now being homeschooled, hopes to return to school and graduate next year with her class. She is also looking forward to attending the prom this year with her boyfriend. But, for now, she still has to remind herself that she can do things in every day life she has not been able to do, such as climbing stairs and gentle running. “After all these years in pain, my brain still keeps telling me to ‘be careful’ before I do anything,” Dayna says.
Dr. Cooney weighs in
Dr. Cooney says that he’s thrilled with Dayna’s outcome but urges her not to get too crazy at first. “Many Calmare patients are understandably eager to jump back into a ‘regular life’ after living on the sidelines for so long,” Dr. Cooney explains. “But initially, take it slow and easy.” The doctor says physically debilitated patients need to ease muscles, which haven’t been used because of the pain factor, back into regular use. “Many patients also need extra sleep after treatment, which is completely normal.”
Dayna offers a few words of advice for others considering Calmare Therapy. “When I spoke with Amanda, she gave me some great advice that helped me so much ─ don’t give up; stick with the therapy. As you continue with the treatments, the time your pain is lessened will get longer and longer until it just finally goes away, which is an amazing feeling!”