Cryotherapy and update

Hello everyone,

I haven’t posted in a while because I didn’t have anything positive to say, and I guess I have been self isolating a bit generally. As my nan always said if you don’t have anything good to say then don’t say anything at all!

Last year I tried MTX and had horrible side effects, the worst being psychological. I had anxiety attack’s pretty much constantly while I was on it, I was practically scared of my own shadow. There were also other unpleasant side effects but the psychological ones were by fare the worst. So I quit it, and happily after about a month I was back to normal.

I then tried Otezla (Apremilast), and after about 2-3 weeks on it I started getting terrible pains in joints which had never been effected before, as well as other nasty side effect, so I stopped taking it. The new pains did gradually subside, but not completely.

After my bad experiences with MTX and Otezla I felt very reluctant to try any more medications, I also decided that I wanted to get confirmation of my diagnosis and seek a better Dr. having lost faith in my one. I kind of wanted to start from the beginning again and reassess my options.

I have been living in Berlin for the last 7 years, and still find the procedures and bureaucracy here hard to navigate, so I did a lot of asking around and luckily for me an acquaintance of mine who has rheumatoid arthritis had a very good tip for me.

In Berlin there is a rehabilitation clinic for people with rheumatic diseases where they can stay as in-patients, normally for around two weeks, during which time they will undergo testing to attempt confirmation of diagnosis, and a program of various therapies, normally around 7 ‘classes’ per day.

Following a bit of a struggle with my health insurance I managed to get it through and I just finished and 8 day stay at the clinic, I was released yesterday.

The call it ‘complex treatment’ I assume because they try so many different things out, and it really was quite exhausting with so many classes per day, I pictured myself sitting on the lawn of a country manner, not darting around frantically trying to not be late for my next class.

One of those treatments was Cryotherapy. I was sceptical, very sceptical. And also a bit scared, why the hell would anyone, voluntarily plunge themselves into such a hostile environment. Negative 110 degrees Celsius, whole-body cryotherapy is “colder than any temperature ever experienced or recorded on earth.

Patients are only allowed in the Cryotherapy chamber for a maximum of 3 minutes. On my first nervous attempt I only managed 1 min 30 secs. And for me at least, it was as scary as I thought it would be. However, for my 85 year old chamber companion it was obviously not a problem, she completed the full 3 minutes with ease! I mentally decided never again, but she told all her friends and after being (gently) ridiculed by a the senior lady mafia (I’m 38), I felt I had no choice but to try and salvage what little dignity I had left and push on.

I am so very very glad that I did. I managed to incrementally increase my time in the chamber, and on my last day, assisted by Backstreet Boys ‘Quit Playing Games With My Heart’ playing through the speakers I danced/spasmed/shivered my way with two octogenarians to the full three minutes. The music really helped as a distraction.

After my first Cryo session I already noticed a difference. For about an hour I was pain free. But I attributed this to adrenaline, or possibly one of the other therapies.

When I woke up on day 5 in the clinic, so after 4 sessions of Cryotherapy I was pain free! It was something that I haven’t felt for about 8 years. I even forgot how it felt and it made me realise how much pain I had been living with. I felt like I really wanted to cry. I was so grateful and emotional. And I also felt like a convert, I couldn’t wait for my next Cryotherapy session. So many patients there swore by it, and I was now talking about it with the vigour of the newly converted. Later in the day I did lots of exercises in a class, doing movements and using muscles I hadn’t been able to do in years.

I woke up on day 6 and the pain was back totally, possibly even a bit worse. this was an awful day. I just wanted to quit everything. But I did all my classes, and also Cryotherapy.

Day 7. The pain had gone again, and I was virtually pain free.

Day 8. Pain free, and released from the clinic.

Im now on day 9 and virtually completely pain free. I feel no inflammation. I have no idea how long these effects will last. Some of the patients there who were Cryotherapy veterans claim the effects can last up to a year.

I am only taking Diclofenac, the Dr’s advised that if I am one of the people that Cryotherapy works for (and it doesn’t work for everyone) that I should not take the heavy meds, but do 7-10 Cryotherapy sessions once or twice a year.

I am now concentrating on trying to build muscle while I am pain free, the Dr’s say this will help by giving the joints support.

If you have access to Cryotherapy where you are, and can imagine it is something you are willing to try, my advice would be to give it a go. At worst, it will not help, and be an unpleasant experience. But, who knows, maybe you are one of the people it could work for?! I hope that it continues to work for me. Any questions, please ask away.



Hi again, lovely to hear from you. And I’m so glad you found something that helps you this much!

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Hi Poo, thanks for you’re response:) I hope everything is good! Time will tell. But I woke up again today pain free. Cautiously optimistic. Will keep you updated though either way.

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Good to know. I have been contemplating Cryotherapy for months now and always find a reason Not to do it. I will reconsider. I am glad that it has has been such an improvement for you. It is worth a try! Thanks and continued good luck with it.


Hello again, I just wanted to give a quick update on my update :slight_smile: So the pain is back now properly. The Dr’s in the clinic did tell me that the benefits from the Cryotherapy would only last 6-9 months, and they were pretty much spot on, although I’m disappointed to be on the low side of that at 6 months because I think it’s only possible to have one treatment per year with my insurance.

As a side note, I find it quite incredible how quickly we adapt to our situations, and the resilience that I’m sure all of you were forced to developed because of this condition. During my almost 6 months being (virtually) pain free I could not imagine/remember what it had been like living in this constant pain. And now after 2 weeks of being in all my old pain again, I can’t imagine how it must have been to be pain free.

All the best :slight_smile:


Well I hope despite Cal, you have a lovely Christmas and New Year. Have you a fall back position to take now? And how are your cats? :cat::christmas_tree::cat2:

Hey there Poo,
Just taking the NSAID’s while I wait for the appointment with the Dr n see what the options are- maybe I can do another Cryotherapy. The boys are very good thanks! While I was pain free I built them cat-walks around the house so they have got lots of places to run around the ceiling n climb. Even the blind one. Oufff, just got jumped on. How you doing?

I’m sorry that cryotherapy didn’t work out even better, but hopefully you can get a game plan in place.

I’m jealous of the work you’ve done with the cat walks. My cats would love something like that. Not that they’re bored, but one of my cats in particular likes to be high up.

I’m good now but had a horrid Autumn but I live in the ‘now’ presently not the past! I also love what you’ve done for your cats. Sadly both mine are now gone due to old age, 16 and 17 years respectively. Miss them something rotten. But nearly three year old black lab dog is still very much keeping me entertained. Maybe in the New Year he might get a kitten, given my two more elderly cats did nothing but seriously beat him up when he was a puppy, introducing him to a adult cat might be a bit much, but I’ve no doubt in all the world, he’d find a kitten the best fun and they’d end up best friends. We’ll see.

Keep in touch and let us know what your doctor says. :grin:

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