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Post-Polio Syndrome & Pain

In 1952, at the age of eighteen months I was diagnosed with infantile paralysis, otherwise known as Poliomyelitis (Polio). Luckily I was at an age where I wasn’t really aware of what was happening, but according to my parents I spent six weeks in an isolation hospital. I returned home wearing a calliper on my right leg, which was the one most affected, and which I wore for the next few years. I then progressed to a built up shoe and a couple of years later it was decided that my leg would strengthen sufficiently to cope without aid.

And cope I did, but at school I was unable to run or play sports to any degree as the leg didn’t respond as it should. As the years progressed I noticed that when I was tired (or pregnant) I tended to swing the leg out when walking, and if I needed general anaesthetic I would always cause concern as my blood pressure would drop meaning I would be in a head down/feet up recovery position!

As age began to catch up with me very odd things began to happen. I became intolerant to cold; I began to experience sharp, burning pains in my feet which also felt numb, I was fatigued, and my joints and muscles began to ache. After a series of tests I was diagnosed with Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy and medication was prescribed for the foot pain. However, nothing was diagnosed for anything else. I then read about Post-Polio Syndrome and was amazed at how many people, around the world, suffer from symptoms like me, although many are much worse. There is no cure and sufferers just cope.

I work on the peripheries of the Equine industry and so knew about the ArcEquine system and the fantastic results there have been, but was very sceptical that it would work for me. But when I was offered the chance to try one, as it had been granted the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) approval for human use (Arc4Health) I thought, ‘why not, it can’t hurt and it just might help’. By this time I was walking with the aid of a stick and was unable to walk without pain.

The Arc system works by using minute, sub-sensory sequences of electrical current to provide a drug-free, non-invasive, safe treatment. It can be used to treat ligaments, tendons, muscles, skin and bone and can also reduce swelling, bruising, inflammation and kick start and accelerate regenerative healing in all tissue – both internal and external.

So eight months ago unit arrived. I strapped it on, pressed the relevant buttons and that was it. It’s extremely comfortable to wear (I wear it for at least 6 hours at a time) but it does look a bit incongruous on the arm when wearing short sleeves, so on these occasions I wear it later on in the day, or through the evening. Many people do ask what it is and if it feels like a TENS machine, but it doesn’t. I try to explain the best way I can, but to be honest it has to be tried to be believed. As for the ‘what do you feel’ questions – well in fact you don’t feel anything at all, which seems odd as you perhaps can’t quite understand what it’s doing!

But doing something it certainly is. In the eight months since I received my unit I can honestly say that I am warmer, my legs and feet don’t feel don’t feel so numb and cold, I can walk without a stick (although when walking over rough ground, or am out for the day I take it for balance purposes) and unless I am very tired, I can walk up and down stairs properly – not two feet at a time, or even using my hands!!

But for me the best thing this little gem of a unit has done for me is allow me to walk my dogs again, go shopping with my daughter and given me the energy to enjoy my grandchildren. I just wish that it had been available many years ago as I honestly believe it would have increased my quality of life ten-fold.

To anyone reading this who is considering trying it – bite the bullet. You have nothing to lose, and potentially like me, everything to gain.