Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) are two closely related pain conditions that an interventional pain management specialist is adept at diagnosing and treating. What makes these issues challenging for most doctors to recognize is that there is no laboratory test or imaging test that confirms the diagnosis of CRPS/RSD.
In this blog post, I'd like to address an uncommon, but not rare condition, which is probably under-diagnosed due to the difficulty of diagnosis and treatment. I've had much experiencing identifying patients with this condition and have great success in treatments, in both my Interventional Pain Management Fellowship and while out in clinical practice.
Imaging bumping your toe or twisting your ankle or wrist, and all off a sudden, you develop hot burning pain in that area for the next several months that prevents you from working. Seems ridiculous, right? Unfortunately, for some people, it's reality. And it has a genetic basis.
CRPS/RSD are called "clinical diagnoses" or "diagnoses of exclusion" and frequently, your pain doctor may need to order certain tests or images to see if there is an otherwise easily treatable condition, like obvious nerve damage or sciatica, or even an unrecognized fracture or infection.
Patients with CRPS/RSD develop hot burning or tingling pain in a particular area, which does not get better over time. Sometimes the patient notes swelling, redness or warmth in the area, which may come or go. Hyperesthesia, meaning a light touch feel like fire, or anesthesia, or numbness, can occur as well.
If left untreated, patients stop using the area and can develop disuse atrophy, or muscle and skin wasting, as well as chronic pain in the area.
Hands and feet are most likely to be affected, sometimes after a minor, uneventful surgery, or sometimes after something benign as an ankle sprain or possibly a fracture. However, CRPS/RSD can also be found in every other part of the body. Suprisely, even when a fracture is fixed, hot burning pain and redness may persist. After an ankle fusion by even the most skilled orthopedist, patients' pain levels sometimes persist, and it's no ones fault.
Pain doctors are uniquely in a position to identify this early to to begin a comprehensive and multi-modal treatment, as a variety of approaches are helpful to combat this stubborn and otherwise debilitating condition. Multimodal treatment encompasses use of certain low dose medications, minimally invasive interventions, techniques of mindfulness, and physical rehabilitation. Early intervention is key, in order to rehabilitate the area prior to disuse atrophy, or skin and muscle wasting.
I'm passionate in helping patients alleviate CRPS/RSD and returning to normal function as efficiently as possible while minimzing pain. CRPS/RSD is a treatable condition!
Prolonged sitting can lead to lower back pain due to poor posture, static posture, unsupportive seating, muscle imbalances, and disc compression. Using different solutions and prevention techniques can help with lower back pain.
Surgery offers relief for many, but some face post-surgical pain. Bellevue Pain and Wellness specializes in tailored pain management plans. Factors in post-surgical pain include surgery type & patient's age/health. Non-surgical solutions are emphasized.
The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson recently presented significant findings from the ESCAPE-TRD study, revealing the effectiveness of SPRAVATO® (esketamine nasal spray) in treating Treatment-Resistant Major Depressive Disorder (TRD).
Navigating the maze of Occipital Neuralgia and Migraine. Understanding their differences helps in tackling these complex neurological conditions. From sharp, localized pain to throbbing headaches, diverse treatments exist for symptom relief and improve.
Discover the power of weight loss in reducing joint and back pain. Shedding pounds alleviates strain, improves mobility and reduces inflammation. Learn how even a small amount of weight loss can make a big difference. Start your pain relief journey today.
Discusses different modalities of pain management for cancer related pain as well as palliative care pain management. Details medication as well as interventional methods and includes WHO guidelines.