A deep venous thrombosis is essentially a blood clot in the calf that when dislodged can travel to the lungs and even eventually to the brain if it mobilizes from there. This is a very serious condition never to be taken lightly as it can lead to a stroke and can cause permanent damage possibly even death. I bet you are wondering why I would write about this.
To be quite honest, I never thought I would see this condition in anyone in my practice but in the past year I have had two very scary cases and thus I thought it was important to share with you. The first case was a massage therapist who called me on a Saturday to see if I would meet him at my office to adjust his rib. I started asking him questions because not only did it sound weird, but I also didnâ€™t want to go to the office on my day off. As I investigated things further I realized that this patient was not suffering from a musculoskeletal ailment, even though it seemed like that to him. He was having chest pain of cardiopulmonary origin and needed immediate attention. I advised him to go straight to the ER. He begrudgingly did so, and then about a month after this all happened he called to give me all the details. He said that not only was it pain coming from his lungs, but that a few days before his chest pain began he reported pain in his calf that he had massaged. His massage therapist loosened the knot in his calf and by morning the pain was in his chest.
What he described to me was a deep venous thrombosis that he had dislodged by getting an aggressive massage of the calf. The chest pain was the loosened clot, or embolism, and the only place that this clot could now go, was his brain. He was lucky, I scared him and he went to the hospital.
The second case I saw was last week and it was a member of my own family. The patient was adamant that his complaint was purely biomechanical and there was not any cause for alarm. I never actually saw this person in my office, but the next morning when he said that his calf was swollen I knew that things were much more serious than originally thought. I urged him to go straight to the ER. He didnâ€™t listen to me; he made an afternoon appointment with his doctor instead. By the time he got in to see his doctor, the doctor sent him to the ER. He did have a clot, fortunately not a deep venous thrombosis, but a clot none-the-less.
Another lucky one. The moral of the story, calf pain and swelling should never be taken lightly. PLEASE have it evaluated to rule out a possible life threatening affliction.
Iâ€™m here to help.