A firefighter who suffered from a mysterious medical problem for years after 9/11 is finally getting answers.
On September 11, 2001, firefighter Sydney Martin rushed to ground zero as part of the fire department’s hazmat unit.
“You had 600 guys running in and thousands of people running down the stairs,” said Martin.
He was trapped in the pile and badly injured.
Eventually, Martin needed surgery on his back, the kind of surgery that left him with an incision more than a foot long.
The wound healed but, there was something strange left over.
The muscles around the scar constantly twitched, causing Martin pain.
Doctors had no explanation for what could be hurting the firefighter.
“I felt like I was working on my back, 24 hours a day seven days a week. So it restricted my breathing because I was in spasms,” said Martin.
Strong painkillers didn’t help. It took a toll on his daily life.
But two years ago, he came to New York University Langone’s Center for Movement Disorders, where Dr. Pat Drummond diagnosed what’s called “scar dancing syndrome,” a condition only known to medicine for a few years.
“We believe it’s due to an irritation of the nerves around where the surgical scar was,” said Dr. Drummond.
It’s rare, but the treatment is surprisingly familiar. Martin gets Botox injections deep in his back muscles to paralyze them and relieve his pain.
Doctors described Martin’s case as severe, but scar dancing syndrome could be more widespread and undiagnosed.
Martin hopes others will hear his story and get the help they need.