With November being National Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Awareness Month; here are 7 helpful tips for to better understand the chronic pain condition that many Americans struggle to live with everyday.
- Common Symptoms: According to a National Institutes of Health Study, millions of Americans suffer from some form of chronic pain so understanding what someone with chronic pain is going through on a daily basis is important for friends, family, and doctors to better support someone they may know suffering from things like CRPS. When it comes to CRPS there are four key symptoms: burning chronic pain long after an injury should have healed, inflammation that is out of proportion to an accident or injury, spasms, and lastly insomnia/emotional distress. There are a lot of other symptoms that can be associated with CRPS that are not being ignored as well. To understand the full list of symptoms, check out this helpful website here.
- Anyone can get it: While CRPS is commonly diagnosed after one or many forms of blunt trauma, failed surgery or infection, there are many reasons that one can be diagnosed with CRPS. While it is most commonly diagnosed in women, anyone can get it. Teenagers as well as War Veterans can be diagnosed with CRPS as well.
- Get a Team of Doctors ASAP: With no known cure for CRPS, quick treatment after being diagnosed is important if there is to be any hope of some form of pain relief and or remission (a prolonged pain free period of time). Finding a medical doctor knowledgeable about not only diagnosing but also successfully treating CRPS is the first step. Additional doctors that may be very helpful with CRPS are: Anesthesiologist, Chiropractor, Massage Therapist, Acupuncture, Calmare Doctor (may have to travel for these treatments), Physical Therapist, Mental Health Therapist and lastly a doctor specialized in whichever limb is affected. Having a large team of doctors who preferably communicate about treatment plans can be very helpful for quick and effective treatments.
- Research Treatments First: Not all doctors are equally trained, and not all doctors have the most up to date knowledge on how to best treat CRPS. Do your own research before trying any new treatment; find other CRPS patients on the web via support groups and ask them about what has worked for them. CRPS is inherently difficult to diagnose and treat, and is not a familiar subject for most medical professionals. Treatment methods have not been standardized and taught; there is no manual or protocol. Do your own research and find what might work best for you, ask your doctor questions and advocate for yourself if you have to.
- Find a support group: This one may seem obvious to someone with a large, supportive family or group of friends. However, often after a patient begins to navigate the world of chronic pain, they find that not all of their friends and family members are up for dealing with the new, life-long challenge. When dealing with chronic pain, be sure to surround yourself with supportive, understanding, and (most of all) positive people. When your brain is constantly working to put your pain out of your mind and focus on the here and now, you don’t have time to have negative people in your life who just don’t get what you’re going through. It might help to write a letter to friends and family explaining your new life and new “norm” with CRPS. There are also online and local support groups for patients suffering with chronic pain illness and CRPS specifically. Do not try to navigate this alone, support is needed every step of the way. This website has a lot of helpful support links worth looking at if you need a place to start.
- There are a lot of treatment options, but no cure: Research is constantly being done searching for the cure for CRPS and many chronic pain illnesses. With no cure as of yet, doctors and patients are constantly seeking new and alternative treatments to gain some pain relief. If the normal options offered by your doctors aren’t working, don’t lose hope; there are more options out there. Chiropractors and Acupuncturists can be great resources of knowledge and expertise for alternative treatment ideas. Some alternative options can be found here and One treatment that is gaining popularity and success is Calmare Scrambler Therapy, which you can find out more about here.
For family wellness, pain relief, professional chiropractor care, and massage, schedule an appointment today at Chugach Chiropractic and Massage Center in Eagle River, Alaska. 907.694.0224