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How To Treat CRPS The Right Way

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Updated on April 25th, 2019

Why Visiting A CRPS Pain Treatment Center Is Important

Points Of Discussion:

  • What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Sympathetic Nerve Block
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Neuro Stimulation
  • Intrathecal Drug Pumps
  • The Medications
  • The Emerging CRPS Treatments
  • Alternative Therapies

What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

(CRPS) complex regional pain syndrome is a condition causing chronic pain usually impacting one limb after an injury. We believe this condition is the result of damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems.

The symptoms we most commonly see are excessive pain, swelling and a change in temperature and skin color in the area affected. If our patient does not have a confirmed nerve injury, our classification is CRPS-I.

When the nerve injury has been confirmed, our classification is CRPS-2. We treat both classifications in a similar manner. New methods for treatment become available due to new insight provided by clinical research.

 

1. Physical Therapy

We use physical therapy to improve the blood flow to the impacted limb. We have found this helps improve the function, flexibility, and strength of the limb. We believe occupational therapy assists outpatients in discovering new ways to complete their daily tasks. Good information is available at this link regarding treatment.

 

2. Psychotherapy

Some of our patients develop PTSD, anxiety or depression due to a disabling and painful condition. Psychotherapy is important for treating these conditions for both outpatients and their families. This type of treatment aids us in our rehabilitative efforts and helps out patients recover from CRPS.

 

3. Sympathetic Nerve Block

Some of our patients experience pain relief after a sympathetic nerve block. This procedure improves blood flow and blocks sympathetic nerve activity through an injection of an anesthetic near the spine.

 

4. Spinal Cord Stimulation

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In some cases, we temporarily place electrodes in the area causing pain. This enables us to determine if stimulation can help our patient. Minor surgery is necessary for implanting the electrodes, battery, and stimulator beneath the skin. We use an external controller to turn the stimulator off or on once implanted. If you need help, please contact the CRPS Pain Treatment Center at The Bridge Recovery.

 

5. Neuro Stimulation

Neural stimulation can be given at several points of the pain pathway in addition to the spinal cord. This includes the area of the brain controlling pain and outside the brain’s membranes. One of our latest options is called rTMS or repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. This is the application of magnetic currents to the brain. Similar methods are currently being researched. The advantage is this type of treatment is non-invasive. Visit this link for additional information.

 

6. Intrathecal Drug Pumps

We use this device for pumping medications into the fluid around the spinal cord for pain relief. This is generally local anesthetics including baclofen and clonidine or opioids. This enables us to effectively target the spinal cord better than with oral medication.

 

7. The Medications

We use numerous different medications at our CRPS Pain Treatment Center. We find when the disease is in the earlier stages, these medications are helpful.

  • High doses of bisphosphonates including pamidronate and alendronate
  • Drugs to treat swelling and inflammation including methylprednisolone and prednisolone
  • Drugs effective for neuropathic pain including pregabalin, nortriptyline, gabapentin, amitriptyline, and duloxetine
  • Injections of botulinum toxin
  • Naproxen, ibuprofen, and aspirin to treat moderate levels of pain
  • Receptor antagonists including ketamine and dextromethorphan
  • Topical anesthetic creams and patches including lidocaine
  • We closely monitor all opioids including fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, and oxycodone when prescribed

 

8. The Emerging CRPS Treatments

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(IVIG) Intravenous immunoglobulin is being researched in low doses in Great Britain for intense pain relief. Although this is not yet an approved treatment, the studies show the participants experienced a decrease in pain after a fourteen-day trial. Visit this link for additional information.

Ketamine has been given to patients in low doses. This is a strong anesthetic to completely eliminate or substantially decrease CRPS pain. Clinical research has been conducted for patients not responding to any other treatment. The latest results are promising.

Studies have been conducted regarding Graded Motor imagery. The results are showing this type of motor therapy helps with CRPS pain. The studies involve mental exercises such as looking into a mirror while identifying the parts of the body causing pain on the right and the left side. The idea is to imagine moving these painful areas without actually doing so.

Alternative therapies include acupuncture, behavior modification, guided motion therapy, and relaxation techniques. If you are suffering from the pain of CRPS, please contact us at Bridge Recovery to know about a CRPS treatment plan.