Saved from Forced Retirement by Experimental Self Treatment, Four Recovery Phases
Twice in the last two years I reached the point of seriously considering retirement because of increasing lower limb disability and pain that defied all treatment. Daily walks in the forest attempting to activate the legs saw me turning for home some days a mere 200 metres down the track. It was looking like I would soon need a mobility scooter to get to the supermarket. The medico's and therapists had failed me. I say this respectfully because they practiced to the best of their ability and no doubt I did benefit from their treatment, yet the status quo of my condition remained unchanged. None considered the possibility of a leg length discrepancy. It was not for lack of opportunity on their part...through 2019, 2020 and 2021, I received vast amounts (weekly/fortnightly/monthly) of Chiropractic, TCM and Thai Massage treatment and consulted Medical Doctors. Never experiencing anything more than limited temporary relief from treatment. My condition continued to degenerate. Pain and disability becoming overwhelming until resorting to experimental self treatment for a condition I now know is the result of a moderate congenital structural leg length discrepancy (12mm) compounded by major lumbro-sacral injury sustained in 2016. At times I walked like Frankenstein.
First Phase, January 2021, trialling a 5mm heel lift to elevate a short right leg and reduce pelvic tilt. Immediate surprisingly significant, beneficial and enduring therapeutic effect on spine, lower limbs and vitality that played out over ten months. The very next day the niggling pain in the left knee that had been making itself known with every step taken is gone...the loss of integrity in this joint coincided with the lumbro-sacral injury and forced me out of sport at age 60. Simultaneously realising I could feel energy flowing to my feet...I could breath into them once again. Four days later ceasing lumbar rehab exercises to manage the old back injury...no longer required. At day 34, three days of blissful relief through the Thoracic spine and dramatically increased rotational movement...no longer needing to use mirrors reversing the car. At the three month mark digestion is turbo charged and vitality levels increase. At six months crippling rheumatic pain in both knees entirely resolved. At ten months Cervical spine releases and torque like sensation through the skull cleared, sensation of relaxation experienced bilaterally through to the temples.
Second Phase, at January 2022, recognising the Second Cardinal Sign of rigidity at the right hip was responsible for continued acute Bladder meridian pain in the right hamstring, calf and heel, accompanied by thickening and tightening through the limb and restricted flexion of the knee. These symptoms commenced suddenly on 18 March 2020. Despite the corrective influence and dramatic results from the adjusting heel lift, this condition persisted and reached the point where I considered retirement for the second time. Although advised to the contrary by a TCM doctor, I trial self treatment releasing tightness at the right hip and small of back to eliminate strangulation of the Bladder meridian. This meridian/organ channel makes a convoluted passage around kidneys, through and around hip and sacrum before descending to the leg and foot. Applying indirect fascial release techniques in conjunction with Acupressure, Chi Gong Therapy and Reiki resulted in rapid warmth in the foot at the beginning of the Kidney meridian, then the entire sole of the foot became warm, this spreading to the leg, softening of the limb and pain was eliminated. What looked like lying on my side merely holding a palm on the small of the back was, in fact, advanced therapy. It took no more than 20min. After the extended suffering and ineffective treatment, it was like a small miracle. I repeat this treatment regularly. It is no longer as intense or as dramatic as the initial event with the now improved condition.
Note: I had been given a few clues to this one. A decade prior when examined by Master Dawson Tao, 14th generation practitioner, Dao Yin Chi Gong Therapy, I am advised...amongst other things..."your right kidney is weak and your left kidney is strong." the clinic's TCM practitioner and acupuncturist, examined me on the day acute right leg symptoms occurred, 18 March 2020, stating this was related to the Bladder meridian and I needed to begin herbal treatment for Kidneys. Then through 2021 considering the situation of continued pain and dysfunction despite vast amounts of treatment for the condition and reflecting on Master Tao's advice about the right kidney and the nature of the Second Cardinal Sign of rigidity at the right hip, coinciding with the right leg symptoms...three clients present in clinic with identical right leg symptoms...all three have a short right leg. It was like the universe is telling me, "Yes Simon, you are correct to be considering the sidedness and SRLS."
Note: Since writing this article one month ago and ten months into phase two of this treatment I still experience continued niggles at the right heel (Bladder Meridian tightness/pain) and tightness behind the right knee restricting flexion. The regular treatment regime at the hip described above has been supplemented with deep tissue release work to clear muscular attachments along the anterio-lateral aspect of the Iliac Crest. This has taken results to a new level. It is very apparent tight soft tissue at this location is contributing directly to the blockage of energetic flow in the Bladder Meridian.
Some aspects of recovery have been rapid and dramatic, some slow and incremental. I describe two phases of the recovery process above. There has been a Third Phase relating to the First Cardinal Sign and an unstable and damaged left Sacro-Iliac Joint which is the subject of other recent articles. For that matter, the right SIJ is a bit dodgy too due to the Second Cardinal Sign. I envision a Fourth Phase of recovery where symptoms are sufficiently resolved to enable more active physical rehabilitation activity to be undertaken. I am now beginning to reintroduce rehab exercises without jeopardising SIJ and lumbar disk injuries caused by the condition.
I do know had I done things differently at the time of the lumbro-sacral injury in 2016 this entire experience could have been avoided. Prior to injury, use of an adjusting heel lift in footwear. Use of a chock between pedal and cycling shoe. Cross training (swimming) and more extensive rehab exercise (Pilates/Yoga). This did not happen. Post injury many things could have been done differently too. This did not happen. As a result, I have been through a first hand tutorial in SRLS which has given insight to some of the very worst that can happen from the effects of this condition and which I would not have known otherwise. This knowledge is not known by conventional therapists and it is not taught anywhere.
Also too, had it not been for the reprieve from daily activity and work demands imposed by multiple extended Lockdowns during the Pandemic in Melbourne, Australia, I may not have had the luxury to negotiate this and would now be riding a mobility scooter to the supermarket. It is probable many others out there on their mobility scooters have similar underlying conditions. A short right leg is a dominant genetic trait.
Remedial Massage Therapist
Member of Massage and Myotherapy Australia