I was pleased to be asked by spineuniverse.com to act as one of their columnists. I will be writing about drug-free, non-invasive treatments for chronic pain connected to the back and spine (which includes just about any pain).
Besides being one of 10 Certified providers of Calmare scrambler therapy, I look forward to sharing some of the therapies I have used with patients in pain as a result of acute injury, chronic disease, post-surgical pain and pain after chemotherapy treatment (CIPN ).
Forty-six-year-old Amy Horwitz is a bigger-than-life, vivacious, “mover and shaker”. So whencomplications from a 2010 neck surgery left her immobilized and bedridden, her whole life was turned upside down. She was no longer the care-free, independent woman she used to be. Not only did Amy become dependent on a cane or walker to get around, but her husband had to quit his job to stay home and care for her.
She knew it was time to seek professional help to figure out the source of her never-ending chronic pain. “I felt like I had a boa constrictor going around my legs. I felt pain everywhere from my head to my toes,” Amy explains. “My pain was literally off the charts.”
The former pharma tech is handed scripts for painkillers
Desperate for relief, Amy visited several highly regarded medical specialists, including an orthopedist and a neurosurgeon. But instead of receiving a diagnosis, she was told that her pain was psychogenic (in the mind) and she received a myriad of prescriptions for antidepressants, muscle relaxants and strong narcotics, including the highly addictive Oxycotin. As a former pharmaceutical tech, Amy was well aware of the debilitating side effects of these narcotics, some of which she had experienced firsthand. “I wanted relief─but did not want to live my life dependent on expensive and dangerous pain medications,” says Amy.
Amy and her husband face the source of her chronic pain–head-on
Disappointed but not defeated, Amy took matters into her own hands. With the help of her devoted husband, they conducted extensive research of her symptoms on the Internet and agreed in their mutual self-diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). She immediately made an appointment with a top RSD specialist at John Hopkins Blaustein Pain Treatment Center. After hearing of Amy’s desire for a drug-free solution to her chronic pain, her doctor recommended a newer treatment for pain that tricks the brain’s pain signal and is showing great results for RSD sufferers–Calmare Therapy.
Calmareuses a biophysical (using physical methods to treat biological problems) rather than a biochemical (drugs) approach to pain management. It is a pain-free, non-invasive treatment for nerve pain that uses electrodes placed on the skin to deliver a ‘no-pain’ message directly to the nerve. After Amy’s online research turned up numerous success stories from RSD patients treated with Calmare Therapy, she was finally feeling hopeful. She left her home in Maryland and headed to the Rutherford Allied Medical Group in NJ to meet Dr. Cooney, the man with the machine that she hoped would give her back her life.
When Amy first arrived at Dr. Cooney’s office on May 20, 2013, her pain was a 10 / 10 on the Pain Scale. After just one 45-minute Calmare treatment, she started to feel immediate relief. After nine more sessions, one per day, her pain level dropped to 2 / 10. “The swelling on my hands had gone down and the pain in my legs had significantly improved. I am finally able to move on my own. I can honestly say I feel like myself again for the first time in years,” says Amy. She is still amazed by the fact that she can grab a glass and put ice in it herself. “It is an incredible feat for me,” laughs Amy.
She is very grateful to Dr. Cooney for making it possible. “I can’t believe how lucky I was to have met him,” she says. “He is the nicest doctor I have ever known– caring, considerate, thoughtful, great bedside manner–and most of all–a great heart. I don’t know what I would have done without him.”
Amy starts on her own mission to help others with RSD
While Amy is not completely pain-free, she says she can finally see “the light at the end of the tunnel.” Now she wants other people suffering from chronic pain to see that light as well. She has already referred several patients from her RSD support group to Calmare Therapy and she’s planning to call as many media outlets as she can in Maryland to tell them about this side-effect-free treatment for many kinds of chronic pain.
Amy does not know what her future will bring. She hopes to try yoga and ride a rollercoaster again. But one thing she knows for sure is that, “I’m moving and I’m not stopping ever again.”
I received a message / query last week from a pain management physician at the Cleveland Clinic and wanted to share my response with you. He had heard about Calmare Therapy from some of his patients and the impressive outcomes we are seeing against treatment- and drug-resistant pain. He asked me for a post-Calmare treatment protocol. Keep in mind, every patient’s treatment and recovery is unique. What I have outlined below are general guidelines for after therapy recovery. Check with your personal physician about your individual healthcare situation.
After Calmare Therapy – Recovery
After you have completed your Calmare treatment gentle re-entry is necessary. Every patient’s re-entry protocol should be based on particularly gentle activity of the affected area and even more so if pain symptoms have been active beyond 24 months─the longer you have experienced chronic neuropathy, the more slowly you should ease back into activity / use of that region. Also, when RSD has spread into other areas of the body, post-treatment therapy should be especially conservative. Unilateral cases (where only on specific area is affected), however, can be less restricted.
Generally speaking, one week to 10 days of stretching is also prudent. This is followed by a slow physical therapy strengthening program which we recommend be administered by a qualified physical therapist. The very last thing you want to do is risk initiating re-injury so a conservative approach is imperative.
It’s difficult, we know. But take it slow.
Not surprisingly, patients are often so excited to be able to move and do the things they used to do that they unintentionally over-exert themselves and subsequently experience pain as a result. Should this occur, don’t panic. As with any healing injury, your body will let you know if you have overdone it. If you receive this signal, reduce your activity and allow the body to continue its recovery. Yes, it’s difficult, but keeping an eye on the long-term prize of living without pain is well worth the wait.
You are more than welcome to contact me at 201-933-4440 if I can offer any further information or assistance about post-Calmare Therapy recovery protocol.
It was a pleasure talking with Joe Aquilino on his “RSD and You” radio program on Friday. Joe is very passionate about RSD (he is also a patient) and acts as a well-known national advocate for alternative treatment therapies for the disease as well as fibromyalgia. He shares information and resources with more than 53,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 4, 000 friends on Facebook.
If you would like to listen to the program, click here.
We’ve just learned today that our U.S. Military has researched Calmare Pain Therapy and purchased several units of the technology for its use. Although scheduled to close its doors at the end of this month, Walter Reed Army Medical Center was the first known military-affiliated healthcare facility to offer Calmare in 2010.
The confirmed expansion of Calmare into military medical centers nationwide reaffirms the growing support and understanding of this revolutionary technology to relieve several kinds of debilitating pain. Now, more of our wounded soldiers will have immediate access to state-of-the-art pain relief –without reliance on debilitating pain medications.
RT @CRPSOrangeDay: A great way to help Color The World Orange for CRPS/RSD Awareness on November 2 is to change your social media profile p… 23 hours ago
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Calmare Patient Quotations
“Thanks for all you do Dr. Cooney, not just for me, but for all of us. My RSD pain is still at 0, hands and feet still improving from CIPN. Did I mention I planted a garden and mowed the lawn today?”
“If you, or someone you know is experiencing pain from cancer, seriously, look into Calmare. I wouldn’t steer you the wrong way. Dr. Cooney knows what’s up! Dr Michael Cooney, you’re the main man in my book when it comes to Calmare Therapy.”
“A little over a year ago and still pain free! I ran for the first time last week! Thank you Dr. Cooney and Calmare NJ, you gave me my life back!”
“My doctor recommended a spinal cord stimulator as a last resort to help with my CRPS pain. But I researched Calmare and decided to go to Dr. Cooney in NJ for treatment. I had nothing to lose. Ten treatments later, I am going home at a 0 on the pain scale. I am overjoyed.”
Kansas City, MO
“Thanks to you guys, my own Christmas will be filled with joy and celebration as I embark on a new pain-free journey in 2015! Your admirable dedication to healing will always be an inspiration for me.”
“I am really feeling like I have a new lease on life. As strange as it may seem, it took some time to get used to having no pain!”
“Someone I knew who had the same condition recommended I go to NJ for scrambler treatment with Dr. Cooney for my CRPS. Arrived a skeptic..left in so much less pain.”
Mark Stomp (parent of patient)
“We chose Dr. Cooney because he has successfully treated so many people with CRPS. Also, his staff was very nice and inviting and his patients I spoke to had tremendous results. It has been 5 months since my daughter’s treatment and she is still pain free, symptom free, and taking no meds.”
“You just need to try this treatment because it may just give you back the life you enjoyed before CRPS stole it away.”
RSD / RND
“We will always remember and cherish your help in getting our daughter to where we can hug her again!! You are such a special man and healer. God Bless you and may He continue to use you to bring healing and compassion to others!”