Friday, December 23, 2005

'I never thought I'd walk again'

Toni Caban, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

'I never thought I'd walk again'

By Toni Caban for CNN
Friday, December 23, 2005; Posted: 11:33 a.m. EST (16:33 GMT)

CNN) -- MS sufferer Toni Caban was making good progress with a physiotherapy program to regain the use of her lower body until she fell and injured her spine. In April this year, she had a cervical and a thoracic spinal cord stimulator implanted via surgery, which she says have given her back her life. This is her story:

For years I had symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis but no one put them all together. I would have trouble with my co-ordination occasionally, tremors would come and go, I would trip on things and choke on my food. I had blurry vision and my legs would fall asleep while I was walking. One day, seven years ago, I couldn't get out of bed. My top half could move, but my bottom half could not. I was diagnosed with MS about three days later.

The diagnosis came as a shock but I soon learnt that if I didn't learn everything I needed to know about the disease, I wouldn't be able to develop a plan to live. In the meantime, I bought an electric chair, a van with a wheelchair lift, a ramp built outside my house.

After a month, with some modifications in place, I was comfortable enough to return to my work at a not-for-profit child and family agency. I would work 40 to 60 hours a week in my wheelchair. I would go to court, schools, conduct weekly home visits with clients and I was on call 24 hour a day. I was having a lot of physiotherapy to try to regain strength in my back and legs. I was soon able to work 25 feet with my legs in braces, using a crutch.

Then one day at work, I fell in a non-disabled bathroom. I was found unconscious 45 minutes later by my co-workers. I had injured my upper and lower spine, ankle and shoulder, and had concussion.

I was constantly in terrible pain. It hurt to sit in my wheelchair -- I had a terrible pain in my lower back like someone had their foot pressing on it all the time. It felt as if it would snap. Then the pain would run down my leg. If I tried to stand, the pain would intensify in that area. Also, I continued to feel a burning sensation in my ankle and foot, although they were only sprained. This was later diagnosed as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD).

I couldn't use my crutches because my shoulder and neck would go into severe muscle spasms. The pain would get so bad, it would trigger a MS flare-up. This could mean anything from severe hand or head tremors, choking, partial paralysis of my legs, complete double vision or lack of co-ordination. I needed help with the most basic daily tasks.

You name it, I tried everything. I was in pain management for four years, tried physiotherapy four times but could never get beyond three weeks because of the pain. I was literally confined to bed most of the time and was on pain killers. I saw many neurological specialists to get some help. Everywhere I went, I was sent home with drugs to dull the pain.

Then I started seeing a pain management doctor. He wanted to give me more morphine but I was opposed. I then found a husband-wife team, Dr. Jeffrey Epstein and Dr. Ronit Adler, who seemed like they might be able to help. He is a neuro surgeon, she a pain management specialist.

With their help, I tried several different options to block the pain. Some worked in the short-term, some did not. I then became a candidate for a spinal cord stimulator, where electrical impulses are used to block pain from being perceived in the brain. Instead of pain, the patient feels a mild tingling sensation.

The procedure involves having a small wire with a probe in the area that's causing the pain. It is attached to a remote-controlled transmitter that you wear during a three-day trial, to see whether the treatment works. During the trial, the level of pain dropped by 60 percent.

A month later I had a permanent stimulator implanted. They implanted a battery just beneath my skin, which has a five- to six-year lifespan. I leave it turned on 24 hours a day. Twice a week I wear a Velcro belt which charges up the battery.

Since April this year I now have two stimulators implanted, one in the lumbar area and one in the cervical area. Having these implants has given me back my life. I still have days where my pain is bad, but it is nothing compared to what I once endured. Getting rid of the pain has enabled me to complete my physiotherapy program -- the first time I have been able to do that since being diagnosed with MS. I can now walk 125 feet with no braces and no crutches.

My life has begun again. I still use a wheelchair for shopping but I am back at work full-time, something doctors said would never happen. I also spent most of the summer in my garden, one of my greatest pleasures in life. Without the stimulators none of this would have ever happened.

Original Story @

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy Syndrome

Dave's Not Here..., originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy Syndrome

I woke up yesterday morning with a dull pain, an ache, in my left foot. The pain was with me all day.

This pain isn't unusual for me. I've had it for years. Ever since I broke my foot just before I got out of the Army. (They didn't call it a break in 95, but the Army doc confirmed it for me today on an X-Ray by showing me "bone callous")

Anyway....the pain has been recurring every few months for rather a long time, and it's something that I'm pretty used to, until today.

I went to the medic today because my foot felt like wood to the touch, and felt absolutely mind-numbingly painful to walk on. Following some checking, some questions, and x-rays, the doctor decided that I have mild Reflex Sympathetic Distrophy Syndrome.

From what he tells me the nerves in the bone that was broken 10 years ago become inflamed and I feel that same pain all over again. Ever since breaking my foot I've had a bit of mild discomfort in my left foot when walking too much, but today's "flare-up" was intolerable.

I've been hobbling around all day long, and I'll be happy when things return to a suitable level of pain.

There will be no photo posting today as I just don't have the patience or energy to work on one.

Original Article:

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Supervisors, activist clash over cops

TimesLeader, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Posted on Sun, Dec. 18, 2005
Supervisors, activist clash over cops
Charmaine Maynard complains about police. Supervisor says most gripes without merit.

SUGARLOAF TWP. – Supervisors on Tuesday responded to several complaints lodged by a resident about police officials.

Charmaine Maynard, who is also executive director of the grassroots group Citizens Opposing Political Suppression, says township officials need to keep tighter reins on police.

Supervisor Chairman Robert Stanziola said supervisors addressed all of Maynard’s complaints, many of which he said have been proven to be without merit.

He also accused Maynard of lying, and criticized her for bringing false accusations against township officials. He noted she has not paid her property taxes for a decade.

Maynard took the podium during the public comment portion of the monthly supervisors meeting to explain why she had not attended meetings for a year.

As previously reported, Maynard said she learned that Police Chief John Hudson had ordered officer Diane Fisher to remove her from a supervisor meeting if she showed up with her dog.

Maynard, who suffers from mobility problems resulting from reflex sympathetic dystrophy, Minere’s Disease and other ailments, often brings a certified service dog to public meetings to assist her in sitting down, standing up and picking up objects from the floor.

She said the chief put an official reprimand in Fisher’s record for refusing to remove the dog from a previous meeting, according to a lawsuit Fisher filed against the township with the Human Relations Commission.

Maynard said she tried to explain to Hudson that it was illegal to ban a service dog from a meeting, but he refused to listen. She also heard that Hudson planned to confiscate the dog if she brought it to another meeting, so she didn’t attend, she said.

Township solicitor James Schneider recently sent a letter to the commission stating that Maynard was not prohibited from attending meetings with her service dog, and that settled the issue as far as the commission was concerned.

Maynard at the meeting also complained that Hudson recently cited her with parking in a fire zone at the Laurel Mall while she ran into the bank, but refused to ticket vehicles without handicapped parking tags that were taking up the handicapped spaces. She said Hudson told her he can ticket whomever he wants.

She said she was only going to be in the bank a few minutes because she could tell from outside the mall that there were no customers inside the bank.

Stanziola said Hudson denied saying he could ticket whomever he wants, and called Maynard’s story about seeing inside the bank a lie. He said he went to the mall, and the bank interior is not visible from outside the mall.

Maynard said she didn’t tell Stanziola that a bank employee was outside smoking when she arrived and told her there no customers inside.

She didn’t mention the employee because the employee asked her to “keep her name out of it” unless called upon to testify about the ticket, Maynard said.

Stanziola also said Maynard lied about getting documents pertaining to Fisher’s lawsuit from the state. He said the state does not release such documents until a suit has been resolved.

Maynard said Stanziola misinterpreted her letter of complaint if he thought she meant that she obtained the documents from the state. She said she was given a copy of the documents by a Times Leader reporter to review for a story on the lawsuit; the newspaper received the documents from an anonymous source, and Fisher confirmed for the newspaper that the lawsuit was filed.

Stanziola also said Maynard’s complaint that officer Tim Brown didn’t have a General Educational Development diploma was investigated by the state and found to be untrue.

Maynard said the complaint was based on information she received, and she said supervisors did not address other complaints she lodged against Brown.

After the meeting, Maynard said supervisors have not yet addressed all of her complaints because the township has not released a copy of Hudson’s contract after it was requested about three months ago.

Stanziola said a member of COPS was given two public document request forms for the contract request and would not release it unless they were completed and returned.

Maynard said her attorney advised her not to fill out the forms because they asked the reason for the request, which, according to state law, she does not have to provide. She also felt that by signing the request forms, she would be indicating her agreement to pay $1 per page for a copy of the contract.

Courts have ruled that such a high photocopy fee violates the state Right to Know Law.

Original Article:

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Edgewood offers treatment program for peripheral neuropathy

PortClintonNewsHerlad, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Edgewood offers treatment program for peripheral neuropathy

Edgewood Manor Nursing Center has announced a new program which will benefit those suffering from peripheral neuropathy, a common complication which can be heredity or the result of diabetes, chemotherapy, cardiovascular disease or alcohol abuse.

PN is characterized by damage to the vast communication system that transmits information from the brain to the central nervous system to every part of the body. Like static on a telephone, PN distorts and sometimes interrupts messages to the skin and muscles causing pain, weakness and swelling.

Edgewood Manor and Accelerated Care Plus, the premier solutions provider, have coordinated and completed training for their clinicians with the Neuroprobe 500.
The Neuroprobe 500 provides painless sub-sensory or sensory electrical stimulation in combination with near red light therapy.

This probe can also be used along with adjunctive therapy for complex regional pain syndrome, scar tissue, carpal tunnel, acute and chronic lower back pain, CVA should pain, headaches, TMJ, tinnitis, acute traumatic pain, muscle spasm reduction, myofacial trigger point pain, neuropathy, tendonitis and ligament sprains.

This service can be provided on an in-patient or out-patient basis. For information, contact Adam Eibling, Edgewood Manor, director of public relations at 419-734-5506.

Originally published December 13, 2005

Original Article @

Friday, December 09, 2005

Couple caring for grandkids...

Tennessean, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Friday, 12/09/05
Couple caring for grandkids finds help through Gallatin organization

Staff Writer

GALLATIN — Richard Polk displays two of the things he's most proud of on the mantel of his trailer.

One is a plaque from Peterbilt in Madison, thanking him for 19 years of dedicated service on the company's assembly line and in the warehouse. He says he'd still be working there until he was 95 years old if he could.

The other is a certificate his grandson Michael, 8, got when he made the honor roll. Polk and his wife Anita care for Michael and his 3-year-old brother, Nicholas, on their income from Social Security checks since he had to stop working. His daughter is in and out of trouble, Polk said.

"After you raise your kids and they're grown, you don't expect to raise your grandkids," Polk said.

When he still worked at Peterbilt, Polk said he never needed anything from anybody. But an ankle injury led to reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, a malfunction of the nervous system that causes chronic pain. He walks with a limp, bent over from the pain in his back. His wife is home with the children most of the time.

"I'm just trying to do the best I can with these two kids," Polk said. "I'm trying to raise them up in a good environment."

If it weren't for the help from local charity Gallatin C.A.R.E.S., Polk said, he wouldn't make it on his fixed income. The organization helps with groceries and utility payments, even the payment on his trailer when creditors threatened to repossess it.

"I've never had to ask for help like this. I never wanted to depend on anybody," Polk said. "It really makes me cry to go down (to Gallatin C.A.R.E.S.) and ask for food for my grandbabies, but I have to do it for them." •

Original Article:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Inflammation linked to chronic pain

University of Toronto, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Inflammation linked to chronic pain: study
Proteins imprint painful response in brain even after stimulus is removed
Dec 6/05
by Karen Kelly (about) (email)

An inflamed injury may increase levels of a protein responsible for persistent pain, causing the brain to mimic pain long after its source has disappeared, says U of T research. The findings could have serious implications for the millions of Canadians who suffer from chronic pain.

The study, published in the current issue of the Journal of Neuroscience, shows how inflammation in mice increases NR2B proteins - proteins that facilitate nerve cell communication - and imprint a painful response in brain even after the stimulus is removed. "What we're interested in uncovering are the molecular mechanisms that can turn early pain into persistent pain," says Professor Min Zhuo of physiology, EJLB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health and lead author of the study. "We believe that the body's inflammatory response helps to etch the initial pain into our memory."

Normally when a mouse or a person experiences a painful event, receptors in the injury site send an electrical impulse up the spine and to the brain. The signal triggers receptors called glutamate AMPA and kainate, which flare up initially but do not directly alter the physiology of the cells. When the painful event also triggers inflammation, the nerves send extra information to the normally dormant NR2B receptors - receptors that receive messages and then produce physiological effects in the cell.

In the study, researchers injected a chemical irritant into the hind paws of mice, causing inflammation. They then tracked brain activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) - a region of the brain associated with pain and other functions such as decision-making and emotion. In tests performed one hour, six hours and one day after injection, they found that NR2B protein levels had increased over time. Previous research had already established a link between the protein and chronic pain. In an earlier study, Zhuo demonstrated that mice initially genetically enhanced with NR2B to boost memory and learning abilities also became acutely aware of minor pain for long periods of time. "Persistent pain caused by injury, learning and memory share the same common molecular mechanisms," Zhuo says. "By identifying these mechanisms we can greatly facilitate the treatment of chronic pain."

Zhuo hopes the findings will one day be used to create therapeutic solutions to conditions such as allodynia - a condition where even a gentle touch produces pain. Currently, pain-blocking drugs also target other brain activity - not just NR2B receptors - and can also block acute pain that acts as a body's warning system.

"It's essential that therapies don't block the body's entire pain system as pain often plays a valuable role," Zhuo says. "For instance, acute and immediate pain often tells us to remove ourselves from harm such as accidentally touching a hot plate. The key is to find a way to develop drugs that target only persistent pain thereby improving the patient's quality of living."

The research was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the National Institutes of Health, the EJLB-CIHR Michael Smith Chair in Neurosciences and Mental Health, and the Canada Research Chair program.


Min Zhuo, Dept. of Physiology, 416-978-4018; e-mail:

Original Article @

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Georgia Pain Physicians Opens Office In Dalton

Dr. Robert E. Windsor, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Georgia Pain Physicians Opens Office In Dalton

posted November 22, 2005

Georgia Pain Physicians, PC, under the guidance of Dr. Robert E. Windsor is opening its newest location at 1434 Broadrick Dr., Dalton, Ga.

Georgia Pain Physicians, PC is "a nationally recognized pain management practice with a new commitment to the community and surrounding areas of Dalton."

Over the last 20 years, Dr. Windsor has developed successful practices in Calhoun, Marietta, Midtown Atlanta, Forest Park and Cumming, Ga., it was stated.

Georgia Pain Physicians, PC "has achieved acclaim for its innovative and groundbreaking uses of pain management treatments with a detailed understanding of the cause and natural history of a wide variety of pain syndromes. Dr Windsor is a prolific author and orator who sponsors and directs the Emory School of Medicine/Georgia Pain Physicians fellowship program and has done so since its inception in 1993. This program enables physicians from all over the world to train directly under the tutelage of Dr. Windsor. This program is noted as the most competitive and sought after of its kind in the country. Dr Windsor is board certified in pain management, pain medicine, electrodiagnostic medicine, and physical medicine and rehabilitation."

Conditions treated include: Neck/Back Pain, Headache, Pinched Nerve, Spinal Compression Fracture, Failed Back Surgery Syndrome, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Radiculopathy, Cervical and Lumbar Stenosis, Sacroiliac joint pain, Myofascial pain and Pelvic Pain.

Treatments include: Selective spinal injections such as Epidural Cortisone Injections and Facet Joint Injections, Medical Management, Spinal Cord Stimulation, Peripheral Nerve Stimulation, and Intrathecal Pump Implantation.

The patient or a physician can schedule an appointment at (706) 226-0522, (706) 629-5333, or (800) 624 8940.

The clinic will also be offering neurological testing including EMG/NCV/SEP of all extremities and testing for carpal tunnel syndrome. The physician will receive the report with a two-day turnaround maximum. In most cases the report will be delivered the same day as the exam, it was stated.

An open house will be Tuesday, Nov. 29, between 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Original Article @