Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a rare chronic pain condition that affects about 200,000 people in the U.S. annually. Although it can affect anyone, it’s three times more prevalent among women than men.
The condition is characterized by constant debilitating limb pain that eventually progresses to other parts of the body. It commonly occurs after an injury to the arms or legs, and affects the limb in question more than the original injury did.
Despite its crippling effects, there’s very little information about the condition. To help shed some light about the condition, we explore symptoms of CRPS, and how you can cope with it.
What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
The exact cause of Complex regional pain syndrome is still unclear, but most health experts associate it with trauma to the body, in most cases, an arm, or leg injury. That said, about 65% of CRPS cases are usually as a result of a soft tissue injury to the mentioned limbs. However, CRPS can also be triggered by surgeries, injections, and fractures.
Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Pain is usually the main symptom of CRPS. It may be burning, throbbing or stinging pain, but unlike regular pain, a CRPS patient experiences far more pain than they should from sensory stimuli that is otherwise considered soothing such as light stroking of the skin.
The affected area becomes super sensitive to touch, and even the weight of your clothes is usually enough to trigger pain. After sometime, the affected limb may become swollen, weak, or even stiff.
Movement becomes difficult to control, and the affected area may appear more red or blue than usual. Other symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include:
· Skin, hair, and nail changes on the affected limb
· Temperature changes on the affected limb
· Sweating, or becoming too dry on the affected limb.
How to Cope with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Although it completely alters the trajectory of one’s life, the fact that it is a rare disease with unclear causes makes CRPS subject to a lot of skepticism and mockery. It was even once considered a psychosomatic condition.
However, it’s a real chronic pain condition, and if you are living with any of the symptoms above, you aren’t alone. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you cope:
Although CRPS is negatively altering, the good news is that with timely treatment, you can improve and even achieve remission. That is why you need to seek treatment from a reputable pain and wellness center like Maryland.
Learn to Relax
Since CRPS is essentially a continuance of pain cycles, anything that distracts you from the pain and helps your mind relax goes a long way in relieving the pain. It also helps slow down your nervous systems which is usually working twice as hard due to CRPS.
So try anything that keeps your mind, body, and heart engaged to distract yourself from the pain and slow down your nervous system for relief. For instance, try watching your favorite movie, art, photography, or whatever you like to distract yourself. Learn muscle relaxation, as well as progressive relaxation.
Accept Your Diagnosis and Pace Yourself
Acceptance is the first step towards healing. Accept your diagnosis, and then learn how to pace yourself. In other words, accept that you’re a CRPS patient, and know your limits so you don’t push yourself too much trying to do things you did before, only to end up in worse pain than before.
Join Support Groups
CRPS might be rare, but as noted, there are over 200,000 people diagnosed with the condition annually. So, you’re not alone.
Join CRPS support groups so you can understand how other patients cope with the condition. It also helps to be in a community of people who understand what you’re going through.
Get Professional Help Today
A CRPS diagnosis is life-changing but it’s not the end of the road for you. Our team of pain and wellness experts is always ready to walk with you every step of the way.
Get in touch with us today for an obligation-free consultation.