Recovery Cryo

Embracing the Cold: Cryotherapy and Managing My MS

March 7, 2024



Recovery Cryo client, AnnMarie, shares her story about Multiple Sclerosis and how cryotherapy has impacted her journeyGuest Blog Post: Contributed by AnnMarie K., Recovery Cryo Client

Someone had to remind me that March is Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month, despite my being diagnosed with it last year. That irony is as great as my sense of good fortune that MS is no longer the beast of a disease I remember watching a neighbor suffer from 40 years ago.

Fortunately, in 2024, it is considered a “chronic condition,” and I am able to hope that I will lead a fairly normal life, with some expected level of discomfort. And thanks to cryotherapy, I haven’t been forced to adopt an ultra-challenging all-raw diet to avoid experiencing my more mild symptoms between relapses or infusions.

MS Awareness Month

No one knows what triggers MS but, basically, it is an auto-immune disease that, when it flares, eats away at the myelin sheath around clusters of nerve cells in my brain and spinal cord –- literally creating “many scars.” Like an electrical cord that has been stripped of its outer layer, the exposed wire tends to spark so signals aren’t transmitted properly from brain to body and back. Typically, the symptoms and progression are worse when the body experiences inflammation from stress, diet, or environmental factors.

Luckily, cryotherapy is all about reducing inflammation and is the most available and agreeable therapy to help me with the discomfort and inconveniences MS causes. Since starting regular sessions last fall, sometimes every day, I no longer have daily dizzy spells or a heavy need for a nap every afternoon, and my brain fog has noticeably diminished.

Most importantly, I have even regained a small measure of some normal sensory responses that disappeared two years ago — along with 100 percent of my libido — when the 20mm lesion I didn’t know I had on my spinal cord began swelling. Likely due to a drug reaction, everything below my T5-T6 suddenly grew numb, developed thermal allodynia (painful sensitivity to non-ambient temperatures), and my left leg went limp.

Whole Body Cryotherapy, serving the Bryan/College Station area

Even before the doctors figured out the problem was in my spinal cord, I went to cryotherapy, knowing how great the cold would be in helping my body self-heal from just about anything. I am convinced that if I had not done that, the swelling in my vertebral space would have done permanent damage to my spinal cord and I would be dragging my left leg to this day. Still, as there is no cure yet for MS, I’m sure there are some challenges that will be with me forever.

So, I am going to keep doing regular cryotherapy to give myself as many days without thinking about my condition as I can.

When I tell people about it, they immediately tell me how much they hate to be cold. Well, I hate to be cold too, but cold is truly different when you are being intentional about it. I’m furious when I need a sweater in Texas in July because someone’s air conditioning is set to “meat locker”. But when it comes to my MS, I tell anyone who will listen how happy I am to skip the drugs and stand in front of a jet engine of Antarctic cold in my underwear to spare myself the feeling of being hugged by a boa constrictor at my T5-T6.

Recovery Cryo - cryotherapy, red light therapy, compression therapy, sauna and body contour

I also will never complain about the weight loss – 20 pounds since September. No workout in the world burns 500 calories in three-and-a-half minutes and, at 55 years old, certainly none would come without sore muscles and joints. Plus, my husband and I are both happy that our together time is very nearly as nice for me again as it was before my nerve endings lost a bit of their spark. Recovery is not just the name, it’s truly what they do. 😊

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