Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating condition that can cause immense pain and suffering. Unfortunately, it is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed.
This article will provide an overview of CRPS, including information on its development, the symptoms, and the various treatments available. We will also discuss how ketamine therapy is helping those who are living with CRPS.
What Is CRPS?
Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a chronic pain condition that usually develops after an injury, surgery, or heart attack. It can affect any part of the body, but it most commonly occurs in the arms or legs.
While CRPS is found in all genders, it is most common in women. It affects nearly 200,000 Americans every year and develops in 6 people out of 100,000 nationwide.
The exact cause of CRPS is unknown, but it is thought to involve a combination of physical and psychological factors.
CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to the nervous system. This damage can cause the nerves to misfire, sending pain signals even when there is no apparent reason. CRPS can also spread to other parts of the body, even if the original injury was localized.
Over time, limbs affected by CRPS can become stiff, swollen, and deformed. This leads to often irreversible physical damage and disability.
Symptoms of CRPS
The symptoms of CRPS vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe.
The most common symptom is pain that is out of proportion to the original injury. It can feel like a throbbing or burning sensation and is often worse at night.
Other symptoms include:
Swelling and Stiffness
This usually shows up a few days after the initial injury. The limb affected will feel tight and stiff, with range of motion being significantly reduced.
CRPS can cause changes in temperature sensitivity, skin color, texture, and hair and nail growth. These changes are often more pronounced on the affected limb.
This is a condition where the body retains fluid, making the affected limb appear swollen.
As the pain and swelling worsen, mobility problems can develop. This can lead to crutches or wheelchair dependency in order to get around.
CRPS can also cause anxiety, depression, and sleeping problems. The constant pain can be very difficult to deal with, both physically and emotionally.
Physical and Mental Health Issues When Dealing With CRPS
CRPS can have a devastating impact on every aspect of your life. The constant pain can make it difficult to concentrate or even sleep.
The physical changes can make it hard to do everyday activities like showering or getting dressed. And the emotional changes can lead to anxiety, depression, and isolation.
It is crucial to find ways to cope with CRPS, both for your physical and mental health.
Here are some tips:
- Talk to your doctor about your pain. This can help you get proper treatment and pain relief.
- Find a support group or talk to a counselor who understands CRPS. This can be helpful in dealing with the emotional aspects of living with chronic pain.
- Exercise and stretch as much as you can. This can help improve range of motion and reduce stiffness.
- Occupational or physical therapy can also help deal with the physical changes caused by CRPS.
Combining these with some of the treatment plans mentioned below is key to living as normal a life as possible with CRPS.
Treatments for CRPS
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for CRPS. The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and improve function. Treatment options include:
This can be anything from over-the-counter drugs, like ibuprofen, to prescription medications, like opioids taken in lower doses to help manage the pain.
Antidepressants and Anti-Anxiety Medication
These can help with some of the emotional changes caused by CRPS. Ensuring that you get enough sleep is also vital in managing the pain.
This is a procedure where medication is injected near the nerves to help block pain signals.
Spinal Electric Treatment
Provides a form of electrical stimulation used to help relieve pain. Small electrodes are placed near the spinal cord, and electrical pulses are sent to the nerves.
A long history of traditional Chinese medicine that involves inserting thin needles into the skin at specific points. This is thought to help relieve pain by stimulating the nervous system.
While many of these options can help solve some of the problems caused by CRPS, they are not always effective and can have side effects. One of the more recent and promising treatments is ketamine.
Ketamine for CRPS
Ketamine is a medication that has been used for many years as an anesthetic. It has also been shown to be effective in treating chronic pain.
One of the advantages of ketamine is that it can be given as an infusion, which means it can be administered over a period of time and does not have to be taken all at once. Another advantage is that ketamine seems to work when other treatments have failed, and it has very few side effects when used properly.
How ketamine infusion works on the body’s pain signals is still being fully researched, but it is thought to work by changing the way the brain and nervous system interact and how they process pain signals.
The infusion is given through an intravenous (IV) line over a period of time, usually around two hours. The dose of ketamine is slowly increased until the desired effect is achieved.
Most people report a significant reduction in pain after just one infusion, but getting multiple infusions can provide long-term relief. Unlike many of the previously mentioned treatments that can take days or weeks to fully work, the effects of ketamine are often immediate.
Revive Ketamine Clinic Can Provide You With Safe Treatment Plans
At Revive, we understand how debilitating CRPS can be, and we want to help you find the relief you need.
Our team of pain management experts will work with you to develop a treatment plan that is tailored specifically for you. We will help you learn all about ketamine and how it can help you.
If you are interested in learning more about ketamine for CRPS or any of our other services, book a free consultation with us. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.