When you’re plagued with constant debilitating pain that affects your everyday functionality and ability to perform your job’s duties, you don’t want to hear from your doctors that your only options for pain relief are to undergo an unpleasant surgical procedure with unfavorable side effects or to just try and tolerate the pain for as long as you can. For Stephanie Condron, those were the only options presented to her for relieving the neuropathy in her heel from an arthritic condition that caused a burning pain when she walked, sat or drove.
“My heel pain was diagnosed as having severe arthritis in my big toe joint,” explains Stephanie. “The inflammation in this area was compressing the nerve so I had a burning numbness from my big toe, through my heel and foot. This caused constant severe pain that was distracting, but I just kept trying to put it off because I didn’t want to have surgery.”
To address Stephanie’s neuropathic heel condition, her doctor recommended an invasive surgical procedure that would include fusing bones together, which would lead to the permanent inability to flex her foot. The decreased flexibility would leave her with permanent issues with walking and balance as a result of the surgery. As an oncology nurse, Stephanie wasn’t pleased with that type of diagnosis so she decided to turn toward finding less invasive, drug-free and natural options to help manage her pain. After just a few massage therapy sessions with Kathryn Davis at the Elements San Antonio studio focusing on her feet, calf and lower leg muscles, Stephanie has experienced pain-free results in her heel. She still has arthritis, but the underlying neuropathic pain is completely resolved.
“As a nurse, I refuse to depend on pain medications to get me through life and I’m very aware of the risks and side effects with having surgical procedures, even when you have the best doctors,” says Stephanie. “Because of my background, I didn’t want to go the traditional medicine route because I know that surgeries aren’t always the best option and can even make the condition worse in some cases. Instead, I turned to massage, which has been a great non-medication method to decrease my pain and increase my functionality for both my neuropathy heel pain and chronic back pain.”
When Stephanie started experiencing neuropathy in her heel, she wasn’t a stranger to massage. In fact, she had used massage for four years from 2008-2012 to manage chronic pain from a herniated disk in her back. As the pain subsided and her back condition improved, she eventually discontinued using massage until a new pain in her hip area flared up, making her walk in a crouched positioned due to the level of pain she was experiencing. When she initially started seeing Kathryn for her hip pain, she had no idea that the new pain was linked to the herniated disk in her back until Kathryn started doing neuromuscular work that focused on massaging the muscles that connect in the hip area, the muscles around the front of her legs and her lower back.
“When it comes to addressing hip and feet pain, you’re going to work on a lot of the legs and glute areas,” explains Kathryn. “With Stephanie, I started with the legs and worked my way through her major pain areas until we could find the source for each of her problems. Once I get Stephanie to a place where she’s feeling consistent relief, I have her come back for a massage as soon as she starts feeling discomfort again so we can resolve the pain quickly.”
When Stephanie was in the middle of experiencing the neuropathy in her heel and hip pain, she turned to massage on a weekly or every-other-week basis. But, now that she’s basically pain-free in her hip and heel areas, she’s on a once per month consistent massage schedule to keep her body in tune and in tip-top shape. She appreciates Kathryn’s in-depth attention to finding the underlying source of the pain and not just focusing on chasing the symptoms. She also likes Kathryn’s neuromuscular approach that focuses on addressing and stretching the muscles in the area where there’s pain, but also in the areas surrounded by and connected to the painful area.
“You may not necessarily need surgery when you’re experiencing chronic pain like Stephanie was,” explains Kathryn. “We can help you get pain relief with massage in most cases so give it a try before opting for surgery. At least give me three sessions to see if I can help relieve your pain.”
Stephanie is living a pain-free lifestyle that didn’t require intrusive procedures or pain medications because she instead turned to the more natural, complementary healing approach of massage. She’s thankful that she looked into alternative solutions other than surgery and that she connected with someone like Kathryn who was able to meet her needs. Massage ended up being the perfect answer for Stephanie’s chronic pain and it continues to be an important part of her life as she strives to age gracefully and maintain a healthy well-being.
“As you get older, you realize that in order to maintain the level of functionality you want, you have to invest time in yourself,” shares Stephanie. “Massage has helped me get out of pain and it’s helped me feel good. I will not take narcotics and I don’t want to have to take pain relievers all of the time. I’m thankful for massage as it’s helped to keep me functional, independent and able to continue doing my job.”