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Synopsis of Recovery from SRLS - Simon Crittenden


By January 2021 I had been experiencing five years of gradually deteriorating lumbar and lower limb function following lumbro-sacral injury. Initially, I did recover and return to work and sport but a mysterious loss of knee integrity knocked me out of sport. Now it was increasingly painful in both knees and along the Bladder meridian down the backline of the right leg. Ankle and knee joints were sluggish and tight needing much mobilisation. Two toe nail injuries refused to heal. A minor case of tinea between two toes turned into rampant infection across both feet. Fluid retention in ankles and feet became problematic. The nail and skin issues were resolved only after lengthy advanced treatment. Fluid retention in the lower limbs did not abate and is associated with Kidney condition in TCM. It was not until much further into the process this was improved. Viewed in isolation these symptoms were difficult to treat and problematic but not necessarily representing anything more sinister nor systemic. In hindsight, I now know the overall picture indicated lower limb function was progressively failing due to reduced vitality caused by an energetic Qi flow block at the pelvis.

The energetic block concept is supported by reports from several TCM doctors consulted over the last 45 years, the Dao Yin Chi Gong Master a decade prior and the Reiki Master, and more recently by observation of numerous cases receiving heel lift treatment for mobility issues reporting coincidental improvement to digestive, reproductive and kidney health.

However, no one had put it all together stating structural leg length discrepancy creates an energetic block at the pelvis impacting internal digestive, reproductive and kidney health throughout adult life and subsequently contributed to lumbro-sacral injury that compounded the blocking effect starving the lower limbs of essential energetic Qi flow and progressively disabled function.

I walked like Frankenstein. Much time was spent daily on the couch recovering from limited physical efforts. A relapse of the lumbar disk bulge was still niggling me and required daily rehab exercise to control. Many medico’s and therapists had been consulted. Several had ample opportunity to assess and treat my condition over an extended period of time. At best, partial temporary relief was achieved. If it were not for the Pandemic lock downs of 2020 giving a reprieve from work duties, I do not think I would have successfully negotiated this predicament. The condition continued to deteriorate. I reached a point where I was faced with the prospect of retirement from active life. I commenced self treatment in January 2021 for Short Right Leg Syndrome and inserted a 5mm heel lift under the right leg. The key points in my recovery were:

a.  The very next day I realised the niggling pain at the head of the left Fibula was no longer there with every step taken.

b.  Immediately stopping to consider this and I discovered I could feel my feet again energetically. I could breathe into them. Energetic Qi flow had dramatically improved within twenty four hours.

c.  Motivation to insert the heel lift was the relapse of a disk bulge injury due to attempts to activate legs by walking…I’m guessing the stiff legged Frankenstein like gait re-injured the back. Four days after inserting the 5mm heel lift I ceased back rehab exercises. Pain and discomfort was gone.

d.  At the one month mark a feeling of bliss overcame the Thoracic spine. It lasted for three days. A major release was occurring. Where it had become increasingly difficult to look over my shoulder and forced the use of mirrors reversing the car, I was now looking right out the back window. Twelve months later I am still able to look over my shoulder better than I could 20 years ago. Until this time, I had never seen the right rear corner of the cab in the ute. Discomfort and pain generally through the Thoracic and the need for maintenance stretching has reduced significantly.

e.  At three months digestion suddenly improved. Realising this is exactly what clients undergoing heel lift treatment were also reporting to me. In the weeks and months following insertion of a heel lift under the short leg they would comment on their improved digestion. My response would be, “That’s interesting but why are you telling me. I’m treating your back/leg condition.” I now understand improved internal health results from clearing the energetic Pelvic Block by reducing soft tissue strain caused by the Three Cardinal Signs of SRLS. I hypothesised that if it was having this effect on digestion, reproductive organs and the kidneys would be similarly affected too. I now have anecdotal evidence to support this too.

f.  Leg function deteriorated after lumbro-sacral injury in 2016. Initially restricted to loss of integrity in the left knee that knocked me out of sport. Then acute pain developed in both knees. Walking downhill became impossible. Should I trip on a stick in the driveway, the hop skip and jump to catch my balance caused excruciating pain in both knees. This rheumatic like knee pain resolved six months after insertion of the heel lift under the short leg.

g.  At ten months the effects of treatment reached the neck. Always problematic since whiplash injury at age 25, it would stretch nicely to the left but always resisted movement to the right in the Frontal plane. Additionally, I was aware of a torque like strain through the cranium that was relieved by placing hands at front and back of the head and applying a rotational pressure in the Transverse plane. These symptoms suddenly resolved accompanied by a feeling of relief that flowed from the Occipital region over the head through to the temples.

h.  At twelve months in January 2022, on commencing supplementary treatment to release tightness through the right hip and lumbar region caused by the Second Cardinal Sign, thickening and tightening in the right lower limb and acute pain along the Bladder meridian down the limb resolved within fifteen minutes of commencing treatment. Deterioration of vitality levels forcing daily afternoon naps and concern for ability to handle work loads reversed. Strength returned. The need for a daily nap ceased. Dry mouth symptoms resolved. Abundant saliva now present aiding digestion.

A few extra words on this aspect of recovery are warranted because I was now becoming increasingly aware of the effect of the energetic Pelvic block on internal health. Onset of pain in the Bladder Meridian had been sudden on 18 March 2020. Two TCM doctors diagnosed Kidney deficiency as the main contributory factor. Weekly/fortnightly TCM consultation and acupuncture treatment was undertaken for the condition over two years which included ongoing medicinal herbal teas, plus periodic Chiropractic and weekly Thai Massage. I had experienced Kidney deficiency symptoms that wafted and wained throughout my adult life for which I received much TCM treatment. Practitioners speculating it was congenital weakness or due to poor lifestyle habits. I now know it was due to restrictions and tightness generated by the Second Cardinal Sign of SRLS blocking the Bladder meridian. The Bladder meridian energetically feeds the Kidney meridian and Kidney deficiencies result if blocked. This condition, the nature of the treatment and phases of recovery is covered in more detail in another article.

i.  Recovery was not entirely blissful and pain free. Sacro-Iliac Joint issues plagued me during the second year. Predominantly the left side. The unwinding of the joint that had been chronically twisted in high range anterior rotation for five decades became unstable when position normalised. Ligaments stretched tight all that time were now loose and made the joint vulnerable to injury. It was injured multiple times. Pain acute and ability to walk compromised, particularly attempting to walk uphill. Walking the dog up the big hill at Pepi’s Land in Emerald would see me stopping every few steps as pain took my breath away to stretch and mobilise before attempting a few more steps. Recovery would usually occur within two weeks of injury to then be re-injured by some innocuous physical attempt that I should have been able to easily accomplish. It was not until I stopped lifting anything heavier than ten kilograms and took it easy for twelve months did the joint heal. That winter doing no heavy lifting, I purchased firewood, did no chopping, chainsawing or splitting, and lightly loaded the wheelbarrow. The joint is now recovered and causes no discomfort walking and doing any of these tasks. I presume the ligamental structure has tightened once again. Hydrolised collagen supplementation is a part of my routine for joint health.

j.  At twenty four months from commencing treatment for SRLS, I no longer required herbal supplementation to ensure strong urine flow. Eight years prior, I commenced Prostate Plus supplementation to restore urine flow that had begun to trickle. This is a common issue in ageing males. I am told Medical Doctors do not know why the prostate tightens and thickens blocking passage of urine through the urethra. I suggest it is much like all the other “thickening and tightening” I describe throughout the body generated by energetic Qi flow blockage that I have become so good at treating. This thickening and tightening rapidly resolves on clearing the energetic block.

The scope of practice for Remedial Therapy focuses primarily on pain reduction and mobility issues. This was the aim when addressing my own leg length discrepancy. Increased vitality and improved internal health conditions observed was unexpected. I could only describe these as coincidental beneficial side effects. What has become increasingly clear to me is the extent of internal health benefits resulting from clearing the Pelvic block are significant and life changing. In my own case digestion, kidney and prostrate function improved as a result of treatment. I am guessing it may contribute to female gynaecological issues. I have received anecdotal evidence to that effect. Research should be conducted to explore the extent of this phenomenon on internal health.

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