CANCER, CHEMOTHERAPY, & NEUROPATHY
A woman in her 40’s recently asked for our help to solve an odd collection of life-altering symptoms, several years after beating colon cancer with its own life-altering interventions of chemotherapy and surgery.
She was plagued with constant pins/needles sensations on both feet, numbness, and restlessness to the quadriceps muscles of the right thigh, constant irritating and exhausting twitching and at times, outright jumping to the entire right leg, and to top it all off, chronic low back pain.
Her oncologist inferred that the foot symptoms were likely due to neuropathy, which is an unfortunate but inevitable side-effect of chemotherapy.
Confused, in pain and worried, this woman we will call Linda came to us after hearing of our ability to diagnose and solve various chronic musculoskeletal and neurological pain conditions including neuropathy.
Our assessment confirmed the presence of neuropathy into both her lower legs and feet. What did not make sense with this case is that neuropathy doesn’t cause a leg to twitch and jump as if filled with Mexican jumping beans. It does not cause chronic low back pain, nor does it cause profound numbness into a thigh.
A neurologist found nothing out of the ordinary for a post-cancer patient, dismissing her for further care.
Our knowledge and experience told us that something else was wrong, so we conducted our multi-level, multi-system assessment process.
-The skin on the front of the right leg up to the abdominal region was rippled and dotted with thousands of small nodules that seemed to be alive fasciculation with the rhythm of the twitching leg.
-The muscles on the buttocks felt striated and damaged.
-The hamstring muscles were taut like a clothesline full of clothes hanging to dry.
-The right leg was weak, and Linda could not walk properly.
-Her entire right leg jumped endlessly throughout the day, independent with the restlessness in the right thigh, with no relief even at night. Sleep was almost impossible.
After our comprehensive musculoskeletal, vascular, and neurological assessment, it was clear to us that Linda was suffering from a damaged disc in her spine, pinched nerve in the right abdomen where the surgery occurred, and a rotated right pelvis. What are the odds that a woman beats colon cancer that required both chemotherapy and surgery, then develops a host of debilitating symptoms topped off with a damaged disc in her low back, adding to the misery of a post-chemotherapy neuropathy?
As it often happens, Linda’s neuropathy and its abnormal walking effect eventually resulted in pelvic and spinal dysfunction causing nerve damage to the right leg and spine, as well as damage to multiple muscles of the pelvis. It is unclear whether the surgery played any role in the nerve damage to the front of the thigh.
Fortunately, we have the knowledge and technology to solve the neuropathy in her feet, nerve damage in the abdomen, disc damage in the low back, and restore normal skeletal alignment.