Back late last year, I suffered from a severe nerve entrapment issue which started in my right arm and then began to mirror itself in my left. It also manifested itself in my left buttock which put *really* uncomfortable tingles into my left testicle (nope, not the good kind…!).
In both arms, my front shoulder area ached and was super tight. I could not perform the Apley’s scratch test, internal rotation at all. It was *extremely* painful to bring my arm from underneath behind my back and try to raise it up towards my head.
I also experienced a lot of pain in my brachioradialus area, which felt like was preventing me from achieving a full bicep contraction.
As far as I can tell, this was the result of being under tremendous stress from working on a school bond measure for many months, along with dealing with family and children. During this time, my workouts continued to decline in quantity as I just didn’t have time to workout. However, I do acknowledge that I had stressed both my shoulders for quite some time, working with Dave Whitley on my kettlebell half bodyweight press and snatching, as well as training to crawl a mile. Getting super stressed mentally just tipped me over into a painful case of nerve entrapment.
The nerve issue started in my right arm, then to my left, and then to my left buttock area. So annoying! And painful. I went to see many of my favorite therapists. Through NKT, we discovered that there was a connection between my thumb’s thenar pad area, as well as my pinky’s hypothenar pad area, and the problem, which seemed to also go all the way up to my neck’s scalenes. NKT style treatment did work a bit but not as much, nor as lasting, as I wanted.
It wasn’t until I discovered Frequency Specific Microcurrent (FSM) that something really accelerated my recovery. FSM is a form of electrical stimulation; it uses current that is barely or not even perceptible to the patient. The current is sent into the body as certain frequencies together. Dependent on the frequency, the current will target different tissues, like muscle, nerves, or bones. Also dependent on the frequency is its effect. For example, some frequencies will reduce inflammation. I happened upon this modality when I was reading Toxic by Neil Nathan, which describes treatment of conditions that defy conventional medicine to address. FSM in the book was used to help reset the nervous system and immune system, after it may be keyed up by too long of an exposure to toxins or invading bacteria in the body. Digging into FSM through this thread, I came upon its therapeutic effects on athletes and their typical injuries. Supposedly it could reduce inflammation in my nerves and alleviate my condition – wow! I had to try it.
I found a practictioner in my area and went there for treatment. The first visit worked pretty darn well. However, I guessed correctly that a non-frequent visit to her office for treatment would not be enough. Thankfully, I was able to purchase a unit through her from Precision Distributing and got a PainCare unit, which is pre-programmed for many conditions faced by athletes. Now I had a unit that I could use a lot more often!
Once I got it, I used it nearly every day for a few weeks. I tried many different pad positions until I settled on two configurations. The first was pads at the neck/base of head and on my thenar and hypothenar pads. The second was treating my entire spine with pads at the neck/base of head and the other at my coccyx. Cranking up the current, I could perceive an immediate change in pain symptoms during the treatment cycle. This served as a rough biofeedback mechanism from which I could determine how much current to use.
After a few weeks of treatment, my arms were back in action! And now I feel good enough to train for my first Russian Kettlebell Certification.
However, I could still sense my issue could come back, as after workouts I could feel a bit of ache in my front shoulder area. I now slap on my PainCare unit after workouts and try to calm my nerve paths down post-workouts. This, along with being more flexible on rest (adding a day here or there) is keeping a flare up in check as I build towards the certification in August.
FSM is pretty darn cool. I have a lot of experience with other stim machines, ranging from the Marc Pro to the Arpwave POV. With the POV, I trained with it for a time with the guys at EVOUltrafit. I have found that FSM has produced some of the most dramatic results in a physical condition I have ever experienced. I loved it so much that I wanted to dig more and splurged for their DVD training in the use of the PainCare’s protocols.
Some day I would love to learn more about how it resets the nervous and immune systems. Athletic recovery from injury is way cool, but the other stuff is super interesting and dovetails nicely into my other work in nutrition and health coaching.