Friday, July 10, 2009

Cracking Bones and Rash Lovin'

Well, it is summertime, even though it doesn't feel all that summer-y yet this year. And typically, I'm exercising more which means more aches and pains.

I've had two appointments this week; one with a chiropractor, and another with my dermatologist.

Last month I had two emails asking about rashes and boils. Most people know I suffer from rashes of various sorts and have had to go to the derm a few times to figure out what the deal was. My Derm, a Dr. Julie Byrd, is a wizard, I'm sure of it. She's in and out and diagnoses me with barely a glance it seems.

So here is what I found out! As promised. Those little red bumps? (and sometimes little white bumps!) Possibly Keratosis Pilaris. It is a common condition where 40% of the population "suffer" from it. Okay, it isn't much of a "suffering" condition. It is ugly, it itches sometimes, but in truth it does nothing, it means nothing. Some rashes are the beginning sign of a worse condition but this is normal. It is basically, ticked-off hair follicles that react poorly to dryness. Which is why the condition is usually worse in the winter, because with summer comes humidity. Unless you live in the desert, then you're screwed year-round.

How do you tend to it?

My derm gave me a premixed bottle of lotion-type stuff to rub on my arms 2x daily. I have no idea what is in it and the bottle doesn't say. That's some trust I have isn't it? Rare for me. ::grins::

Okay, so if you can't get this mystery lotion...what can you do to minimize the appearance?

- Avoid hot water. Hot water removes natural skin oils. Cool down your showers ladies and gents and while you're at it, make them shorter! According to the AAD American Academy of Dermatology: "Prolonged showers or baths hydrate your skin, but the process of drying your skin after the shower or bath with towels or evaporation can leave your skin less hydrated than before you started. Keep showers between 5-10 minutes in length and with WARM water.

- Use mild soap. I was given a list of "mild" soaps. Quoted from Dr. Byrd's list: Dove White, Oil of Olay, Aveeno, Cetaphil, Basis, Purpose, CeraVe,Vanicream, Eucerin Calming Body Wash. (Common drying soaps include Ivory, Dial, or Irish Spring.)

- Do not rub your body dry. Pat, pat, pat, pat.

- Moisturize immediately after showering. Personally I love using a combination of Skin So Soft from Avon and Eucerin but Skin So Soft wasn't on "the list" from my Dr. Derm. "Healing and Hydrating Lotion, Aveeno, Cetaphil, Eucerin, CeraVe body lotions." (For hands Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Hand Cream was recommended to me.)

- Do your laundry differently. Also from my doctor's note: "Use fragrance-free, dye-free laundry detergents and avoid using fabric softener sheets in the dryer." (Sheesh!)

-Shave for comfort not speed. Okay Speedy Gonzales. We all have probably done it in the past. We shave with soap in the shower or using only water. Big...big no no for dry skin sufferers. Do towards the grain, not against it when shaving and use the lube ladies!! (and gents of course.) Gentle creams and gels are the best and change the blades like you would a dirty diaper! Often!

For severe dryness use non-prescription urea or lactic acid based products...and smack your parents. Apparently, this is inherited.

Boils! Boils are more often hormonal. Are you going through a life-change? Pregnancy? Started a new birth control pill? Feel them coming in around your period? There is treatment. Ziana is what my derm recommended. There's a website for saving money on the medicine. (I have NOT been to the webbie yet to check it out so do so at your own risk.)

Okay, now for my Chiropractic experience.

Dr. Bone Cracker is a great guy and part salesman. All Chiro's have to be since half the population feel as though they are quacks. I'm going into all of this treatment stuff with an open mind. I've seen things and disagreed with a lot of "real" doctors have said in the past so what do I have to lose?

He took X-rays and poked around on me to find the trouble areas and told me to give him a day to come up with a game-plan. The next day I watched a video (yippy!) and he took me in a room to show me just how messed up I was. He talked a lot about the way things were supposed to look and calcium deposits, etc...but the truth is, I was being logical and using my brilliant powers of deduction while looking at an Xray where my spine was so far over to the right I thought.. "that can't be good". I remember biology and the big skelly in the corner of the room and I don't remember the spine ever looking like that.

My spine is kinda...straight. It isn't the angle of the Xrays or some hokey crap he's spewing at me. It is logical. I have tons of pain in the small of my back and the more I walk the worse it gets. Pressure from a straight rod as opposed to a curved rod. Now all of this was covered in Dr. Bone Cracker's lecture but as I mentioned before, I zoned him out and used my own knowledge of physics (which granted, isn't extensive) to deduce that perhaps if I could fix my posture a little bit, I might be able to alleviate some pain that I experience as a Fibro Sufferer.

Now, according to that one study done on Fibro patients that discovered all or nearly all of Fibro patients seemed to have a lower flow of blood to the brain...perhaps fixing the spine could help with that. Then I could feel for myself whether or not that study held merit.

Okay so...bring on the Guinea Pig that is Gin. I'm actually quite terrified of getting my bones cracked. You always hear of horror stories how someone walked into the office and never walked back out because of permanant damage. I'm disabled enough, I don't need to add paralysis to the list. But I swallowed down my fear and let him crack my bones.

My hips, my back, my neck (OMG did that feel good), my feet, my wrists and he jerked my shoulder around a bit because I complained of neck pains every night when I sleep. He said I'd sleep better, and feel no pain...but I might be "sore" from the newness of the adjustment. That's the salesman in him talking.

For me, he was partially right. My neck didn't hurt me...and it hasn't hurt me for the last two days, and considering the injury is a nightly thing, I'm pretty excited. HOWEVER, that night, the foot injury I discussed a few posts ago in regard to my nightly walk, worsened. It throbbed, it ached, and I had to put a heating pad on it just to get to bed. But that was the first night. The second, I was right back to "fine".

Typically, he has suggested 36 visits. Three a week to start.. then down to two.. then one. This is normal and considering that night, after I had been popped, most of my bones popped again (probably putting themselves back where they feel they belong), I can see the need to go every few days to get the bones used to being back where they belong. And slowly wean myself away from the process.

I don't know. I'm reserving judgement on the whole thing, but I have to tell you my friends.. the fact my shoulder isn't keeping me up all night (nope, just regular Fibro and meds are doing that) I'm cautiously optimistic. If I go in being negative, I will unconsciously make sure it doesn't work. If I go in there gullible, I'll make myself believe it works. So I'm simply documented what hurts when and comparing it to my pain diary from before. I'll let the truth speak for itself.

All my best my friends!

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