Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a condition marked by chronic and ‘burning’ pain in a particular part of the body, most commonly the limbs. The pain is extremely severe and can cause the life of the patient to come to a pause.
This condition usually shows its symptoms after the patient has suffered a stroke, trauma or injury. Most doctors believe the chronic pain is caused due to the inflammation of nerves in a certain part of the body. However, there is no known cause for this disease and no certain cure. But, the pain can be made more manageable with the help of therapy and the patient can retrieve functional use of their body.
CRPS treatment requires the assistance of a good physiotherapist as well as a mental health professional. Here are some ways that help in the treatment of this condition:
This is one of the most effective treatment options when it comes to CRPS. As, injury specific rehabilitation not only helps you reduce your pain but also helps in restoring functionality to your body. Studies show if caught early on the onset, the recovery rate for CRPS is about 80-90%. Therefore it’s really important to initiate and follow a treatment plan that your physiotherapist give you.
Physical therapy initiates by restricting a number of movements that worsen your pain. The next steps are, working on a series of exercises that help easing your ache and increase the functionality of your affected limb. It’s crucial that the therapy is conducted with utmost care and precaution as any wrong movement can worsen your condition severely. Rehabilitation of the affected limb helps in preventing/reversing the secondary brain changes resulting from chronic pain.
Receiving activity specific training can also help you resume your normal lifestyle and teach you to work around your affected limb.
Other physical therapy options include desensitization and graded motor imagery, for which you could consult your doctor to know more.
Although there are no tested medications for this particular disorder, additional drugs that have been proven effective for other disorders can be used to minimize the pain. NSAID’s (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs), opioids and anticonvulsants are some of the drugs that your doctor can prescribe. Intrathecal drugs have also proven useful for specific patients.
Sympathetic nerve block and spinal cord stimulation are other procedures that are sometimes used but are considered controversial among the medical community for the treatment of CRPS.
Talking to a mental health professional that specializes in pain management can go a long way in easing your anguish. It prevents the development of disorders like anxiety or depression that can result from chronic pain. Spending time with your friends and playing with your pets also give a new perception to your condition.
Utilize these tips to ease yours or your loved ones’ journey through this painful disorder. You can also contact a social worker to guide you through any of the steps.