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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome / Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.
CRPS and chronic pain affect the whole person; biologically, socially and spiritually. 1 in 5 Australians live with chronic pain, 1 in 3 at the age of 65.
At present, it is estimated that just over 20,000 Australians suffer from CRPS, said to be the most painful of all conditions ever known.
CRPS has been around for over 150 years. It can affect children, women and men in their limbs, torsos, eyes, organs, everything, and to date; there is still no cure. Anyone can get CRPS; 75% of victims are women. The majority of victims develop the disease in their 30's and 40's but it can affect anyone, at any age. In recent years more and more patients in their teens and pre-teens, especially females, seem to be developing the disease. Because no two people are the same, CRPS effects sufferers differently. There will be similarities of course and the ability to share those is truly a wonderful thing, as so many of us often feel alone and miss understood, even at times when we are surrounded by loved ones.
This information is not intended as medical advice and should not be used for diagnostic purposes.
Please seek advice from a qualified medical professional.
SYMPTOMS MAY INCLUDE:
(Not every patient will display all the symptoms. The symptoms may, and often do, change over time due to treatment, weather, medication, stress levels, and many other reasons).
Research has proven that CRPS is a chronic physical, neuro-inflammatory disorder, occurring when the immune and nervous systems malfunction as they respond to traumatic tissue damage, often following a nerve injury, a musculoskeletal injury, immobilization or even surgery, causing the nerves to misfire and sending constant pain signals to the brain.
While early diagnosis and treatment offer the highest possibility of remission, there is no single diagnostic tool for CRPS. Doctors and specialists must look at a patient’s history. By running tests and examinations, they will rule out all other possible conditions before reaching a final diagnosis.
A CRPS pain flare is the most intense pain known to man, scoring higher than childbirth and traumatic amputation on the McGill pain scale. The McGill pain scale was developed in the 1970s and is widely used throughout the world. The recognition of pain as a subjective and individual experience led to its development.
With CRPS presenting a variety of symptoms that can present so differently for each patient, barely heard of and not well understood, developing a good doctor patient relationship is particularly important. Compiling a treatment plan to suit the individual patient requires input from the General Practitioner, Physiotherapist, Occupational Therapist, Neurologist, etc., and the patient themselves.
This link will supply a handy diagnostic tool; please remember, this is a tool only and in no way replaces the diagnosis or advice of a qualified professional: http://www.trendconsortium.nl/diagnosis/
Does CRPS Spread?
It may spread from one part of the body to another regardless of where the original injury occurred; CRPS can spread in up to 70% of the cases. In a small number of cases (8-10%) it can become Systemic or body-wide.
CRPS usually spreads up/down the same limb, or to the opposite limb, but in an increasing number of cases it spreads to other areas of the body.