Let me share with you the story of a patient named Jessie. Jessie had four hip surgeries in the last three years to remove and replace parts of her hip joint that arthritis has affected. Her doctors replaced them with new, man-made parts that wouldn't deteriorate, thinking that would solve her problem
But Jessie's pain only got worse over time. After enduring four surgeries in three years, Jessie was at her wit's end. The only thing that reduced her pain was opiod painkillers, but they caused her to experience fatigue and fuzzy thinking. So she didn't like to take them. Since they were her only source of relief, she took them periodically, but that meant she lived in pain the rest of the time.
A Mayo Clinic study gave me the clue I needed to understand the cause of and solution to Jessie's problem. It was inflammation! Jessie was suffering from postsurgical inflammatory neuropathy, an inflammation in the nerves of her leg.
Postsurgical inflammatory neuropathy can occur when nerves get damaged during surgery, whether by direct injury or poor positioning of the patient. Or, like in Jessie's case, it can simply be the result of inflammation without a direct injury. Whichever the cause, the immune system begins to attack the nerves, which causes weakness and pain, just like Jessie was experiencing.
The Mayo Clinic study looked specifically at hip surgery patients who were experiencing pain and weakness after surgery even when there had been no documented injury. Nerve biopsies revealed that all of the patients were suffering from inflammatory neuropathy. Many patients experienced the pain and numbness starting in the foot on the same leg that they had surgery on. The sciatic nerve was frequently affected as well.
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For most, the nerve damage didn't develop immediately, so it was harder for the patients' doctors to realize that it was related to the surgery. Other indications are severe pain and a different anatomical distribution than expected. When doctors know to look for these signs in the absence of an obvious injury, it can be easier for them to identify the underlying inflammatory issue, like I was able to do for Jessie. It's not uncommon for physical injuries to cause neuropathy as well, but it's typically easier to identify.
Once we knew what was causing Jessie's pain, we were able to treat it. I gave her a double dose of Reduloxin, an anti-inflammatory herbal formula with turmeric, holy basil, ginger, and other complimentary herbal extracts. It's the most powerful supplement of its kind I've ever found, and it gave Jessie the relief she needed while she explored other solutions (like icing her hip after any exercise).
Your voice of reason in Women's Health,
Dr. Janet Zand