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Favoring/Guarding Old Injuries

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by justmike, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. justmike

    justmike Peer Supporter

    I was in a high-impact automobile accident in 2002 where I fractured my left ankle and had surgery to repair the fracture (screws). I had no PT for this injury. Then, in 2008 I tore my left ACL while snow skiing. I had ACL reconstruction and did 4 to 6 weeks of PT to rehab my knee.

    After my ACL surgery, I had a noticeable change in my gait and discomfort in my knee and thigh. Post surgery MRI's showed a normal knee with no scar tissue.

    I am concerned that years of favoring/guarding my left leg (since 2008 and maybe even since 2002) has left me unable to get my body feeling normal again. Of course, I don't consciously favor my left leg or do it on purpose. I feel like it's something that I do because my brain doesn't trust my leg. As a result, the rest of my body (hip, pelvis, back and neck) have had to compensate, which over the years has caused more pain.

    I want to stress that I don't think there's anything that's broken or not healed. Many X-rays and MRI's have confirmed that. However, I think that since I've been doing it for so long that maybe my body had adjusted to it (shortened muscles, etc.) and I may be stuck like this.

    There could be subconscious emotional issues at play as well because the car accident in 2002 was only two months after my father died suddenly. I don't doubt this has played a role in my physical issues.

    I guess I'm wondering if anyone here has had a similar situation where they've had multiple physical traumas to one side of the body (like a leg) and have had to struggle with this aspect of long-term favoring/guarding of a limb.

    I've been told by more than one person that if I've had this trouble for this many years, that I may be stuck like this.
    plum likes this.
  2. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Mike,

    I was struck when reading your post at how so much of TMS pain is related to guarding against future pain--whether physical or emotional. That is the underlying fear--that we will be hurt again. Recovery comes when we find the courage to challenge these fears. Physically this takes the form of resuming normal activities and exercise. Emotionally this takes the form of honestly and directly looking at the experiences that hurt us, often by journaling or talking to a therapist.

    I suggest you work on both areas. Starting small, purposefully favor the limb you usually protect, and demonstrate to yourself that it is strong and healed. Emotionally explore the issues you have identified, like your father's death. You are on the right path.

    Wishing you the best.......
    plum likes this.
  3. EileenS

    EileenS Well known member

    Raising my hand here. I had a benign tumour removed from my left parotid gland (large saliva gland) 8 years ago. Since the tumour was so close to my carotid artery, they couldn't do the surgery 10 years before that due to lack of laser technology. The surgeon was excellent, and I have a faint scar from just below my ear lobe to close to my adams apple. HOWEVER, I knew the surgery was delicate (close to artery), invasive (they had to lift that part of my face back), the surgeon said I'll probably never get feeling back in my ear lobe (I did, but it feels different), and the recovery was very painful and gruesome looking and many after surgery visits.

    When I read last fall that saliva glands are one of those glands that can grow back, suddenly my saliva production went back to normal. I had been thinking that I couldn't produce enough with part of my gland missing, although my surgeon told me years ago it wouldn't affect it.

    I have avoided sleeping on my left side since the surgery. The scar and the area all around it have had odd nerve sensations ever since. (This left side avoidance was compounded by my MRI after developing chronic neck and shoulder pain 3 years ago that showed a lot of stuff wrong with my c4-c6, almost all on the left side. The neck stuff I know from being on this site isn't an issue.) I started reading Steve O's book on Monday, and last night I came across a part where he said once a surgical scar has healed, there is no pain; either the nerves are back to normal or there is no feeling, nothing residual remains. I said, WHAAAT??? So last night I slept on my left side and today my left side feels almost the same as my right - almost normal nerve sensations!

    RE: ACL, I severed mine 26 years ago in my right knee in a skiing accident. I was getting married in 2 months, so the surgeon postponed the surgery until after my honeymoon so I wouldn't have to walk down the aisle with that huge cast. I never had the surgery because I didn't need it. My ACL had reattached itself to close to the spot it was severed from and my knee performed all the stability tests properly. There was no doubt my surgeon was correct it had been severed as I had the best one in Toronto - Blue Jay's team surgeon. That knee has never given me an issue once it healed; however, my left knee has given me issues on and off the past 10 years, although nothing ever happened to it. (obviously it's tms.)

    Justmike you are not stuck this way. Start the TMS journey and you will get better.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    plum, MindBodyPT and Ellen like this.

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