Cryotherapy offers relief for Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) sufferer

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Topical Steroid Withdrawal (TSW) might not be the most well-known condition, but it can be insufferable for those with it. Luckily some sufferers are beginning to find relief thanks to cryotherapy treatments.

Amreen Ali began to suffer from TSW – which left her with a nasty rash and a burning sensation in her skin – three years ago after being prescribed oral steroids after an asthma attack. Off the back of that course of oral steroids, Amreen, unfortunately, developed TSW, which initially manifest as a rash on her face and arms.

Understandably self-conscious, Amreen noticed her behaviour changing, wrapping up in additional layers and avoiding social engagements. “I just couldn’t see a future for my life,” said the 28-year-old who saw the rash slowly covering more of her body.

A steady stream of appointments with doctors saw Amreen prescribed different drugs and even more potent steroids. Still, nothing was offering her the relief front the painful burning sensation that she so desperately needed. She even started a course of phototherapy in the hope that it could help, though she was forced to leave that treatment early due to work commitments.

Amreen was getting desperate, “the burning sensation was the worst part,” she said, remembering the pain, “it got so bad that I had to take ice packs to bed with me, just to be able to get to sleep.”

Two years after her ordeal began, doctors recommended Amreen be put on the immunosuppressant methotrexate. But even this didn’t work. Within five months of using it, her skin had stopped reacting to steroid creams, and she thought she was going to be stuck with the painful rash for the rest of her life.

Seeing the trend of doctors constantly prescribing stronger and stronger steroids, Amreen decided to consider any alternative treatments she could find and started reading about TSW online and what other sufferers were doing about their condition. One article which caught her eye suggested cryotherapy might be able to offer her some of the relief she had hoping for from the two and a half years of using steroid creams on and off.


The article said the cold therapy, where people stand in a full-body chamber with freezing cold -160 degree nitrogen blasted at their body for up to five minutes, had already helped a number of people with TSW. The idea is that this fast cooling of the body constricts the blood vessels at the same time as releasing hormones into the bloodstream, which helps pain and inflammation. Because cryotherapy is also known to boost the immune system and energy, this can improve healing.

Given the short term relief Amreen had experienced from those nightly ice packs, she was willing to give it a go. She booked in for a session at Active Clinics Cryotherapy in Birmingham, where she spoke with experts who showed her their full-body cryotherapy chamber.

While Amreen was shocked by the freezing-cold sensation the first time she used the chamber, she was equally amazed by the benefits she began to see. After each session, not only did she feel better in herself and have less pain, but her skin was also improving. Her clear skin is now unrecognisable from the patchy, red (and painful) skin she had just a few months ago.

Speaking of the improvement, Amreen said: “I can’t even explain how much relief it’s brought into my life. When I look at that first picture, I just remember thinking it had been there three years and that I couldn’t see any future to my life. I honestly believe that it would have never got so bad if I’d tried cryotherapy from the start.


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