Complex Regional Pain Syndrome…
The name of this type of debilitating syndrome begins to explain a diagnosis that is hard to define–Complex! Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS is a form of chronic pain that typically affects the limbs. It usually occurs after an injury, traumatic incident, or surgery; and is usually pain that is not proportional to the initial injury affecting the body. What does this mean? CRPS is usually extreme pain that is MORE than you should be having from your initial injury.
Symptoms of CRPS are very wide spread and include:
- sensitivity to temperature changes in the skin, especially cold
- constant burning and nerve related pain in the affected limb or limbs;
- changes in skin color such as mottled colors of white, red, or blue
- shininess of the skin
- joint stiffness
- muscle spasms
- increased hair and nail growth in the limb.
While these symptoms will vary from person to person, the pain, swelling or skin hypersensitivity usually occur first.
The cause of CRPS is not entirely known or understood. Some research does show a dysfunction between the central and peripheral nervous systems that results in an increased pain and inflammatory response. Emotional stress can also have a contributing factor to symptoms of CRPS.
When dealing with CRPS it is extremely important to seek out treatment early. Significant pain and joint stiffness can lead to muscle weakness and tissue wasting of the bones and muscles. Also, the disease may progress to other parts of the body and become more debilitating if not treated.
Seeking out a pain management provider is an excellent step when searching for treatment. Treatment may consist of medications, injections in specific areas, and therapy. While a correct diagnosis and treatment plan is vitally important with your chosen pain management provider, therapy plays an equally important role in returning function.
When you receive a therapy referral from your health care provider it is important to seek out a therapy professional that has experience with CRPS. Therapy treatment for CRPS is very complex and sensitive. Most therapy facilities will aim at loosening up the joint stiffness with exercises. While the motives of these facilities are good-natured, they may in fact cause flare-ups and increase the symptoms of the disease. CRPS therapy treatment needs to be delicate and specific to the individual and the severity of the symptoms.
Alexandria Rehabilitation specializes in the treatment of more complex diagnoses such as CRPS. We utilize advanced technology and unique manual therapy approaches that are aimed at first decreasing pain and symptoms, then progressing muscle and joint function without flare-ups. Therapy may consist of LASER treatments to stimulate physiological changes in the cells targeted and promote healing for chronic pain; specific electrical stimulation that targets the nerves associated with the out-of-proportion pain and aims to dull out the pain sensation without numbing the feeling in the skin; and joint mobilization with compression and traction that stimulates and seeks to normalize the central and peripheral nervous systems that are dysfunctional.
Our therapist has extensive training and experience with complex injuries and neurological dysfunctions. When it comes to more advanced care needs with your therapy, please remember that not all therapists are the same and training and experience plays a vital role in your recovery. We can help you!
To chat more about your specific condition, call us at 320.335.2515 or stop in between 8am-5pm, Monday through Friday!
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