Current Pain Treatments and Therapies

Treatments for CRPS are much like CRPS itself, they affect everybody differently; just because it works for one doesn't mean it will work for another. Do your own research, ask your doctors and specialists what is best for you.

With persistent pain conditions that involve the whole person, pain management generally requires a combination of treatment options.

  • Pacing
  • Relaxation techniques: meditation, yoga, deep breathing
  • Mindfulness
  • Movement and activity
  • Coping and pain management skills
  • The use of medications
  • Medical procedures

Finding the best Pain Support Network to suit your needs, is extremely important.

This is a possible suggestion:

  • G. P. with rehabilitation goals - your relationship with your G.P is one of the most important relationships you could ever have. You need to be honest and they need to listen, if you don't feel this is happening then you may need to find a new G.P.
  • Pain specialist with rehabilitation goals - another important relationship built on trust and openness. 
  • Physiotherapist with an understanding of CRPS and/or Persistent Pain
  • A psychologist with Mindfulness and Meditation appreciation
  • Occupational therapist

Regularly used treatments in Australia;

  • Drug therapies
  • Opiates - Medications which reduce pain by acting on opioid receptors to initiate analgesia sedation. They attempt to reduce central nervous system activity, therefore reducing pain - short term use only.
  • Narcotics - Mask the pain by blocking pain receptors, stopping pain messages to the brain.
  • Antidepressants - Studies have shown that some can alleviate pain, assist with sleep and reduce the headaches often associated with CRPS.
  • Anticonvulsants - Used to try and decrease the random neurons firing, decreasing the burning pain and sensitivity.
  • Muscle Relaxants - Muscle spasm can be very common in CRPS and other Persistent Pain conditions.
  • Graded Motor Imagery - GMI is a rehabilitation process used to treat pain and movement problems related to nervous system disorders by exercising the brain. It can be taught by a physiotherapist or pain specialist or learned independently with the right amount of practice. Learn more
  • Mirror Box Therapy - Although a significant part of Graded Motor Imagery, many people ask about Mirror Box Therapy, how it works and what it is. To put it simply, by using a mirror you can trick your brain into believing the injured part is okay. It is best to be guided by a clinician who understands brain function. Learn ​more​
  • Spinal Cord Stimulator - A surgically implanted generator of electrical current to the source of the pain to create a pleasant sensation that in turn blocks the brain's ability to sense the previously perceived pain. Learn more
  • Nerve Block Treatment - The type of nerve block a patient might receive depends on the area of the body being affected. Learn more
  • Ketamine Infusions - Ketamine has long been used as an anaesthetic, while the first paper that showed the ability to "tame" ketamine was published in 1973. Ketamine is now widely used to treat therapy-resistant chronic pain syndromes. Learn more
  • Scrambler Therapy - Scrambler Therapy® is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical approach to pain therapy, developed in Italy for treatment of chronic, neuropathic and oncologic pain resistant to opiates, anti-seizure medications, intravenous anaesthetics and other forms of treatment.  Learn more

While there is still some debate over the use of hypnosis, meditation and cannabis for the treatment of persistent pain, there can be absolutely no question of their relaxation properties; and with stress being a major precursor for CRPS and persistent pain flares, relaxation sounds like a truly beneficial alternative.

Meditation is proclaimed by many as the best way to relax and escape, but for some, it is the hardest thing in the world to do. For those who find it difficult I suggest going with the guided meditation to start with.

Allodynia is a painful sensation caused by innocuous stimuli caused by touch, a light breeze and numerous other things that shouldn’t, and generally wouldn’t, cause pain. Allodynia is associated with nerve damage in conditions such as CRPS, Fibromyalgia, etc; and is likely to become an increasing clinical problem, which can also interfere with the treatment of your primary condition(s) – physiotherapy, scrambler therapy, chiropractic treatment and so on.

There are a number of ways you can start to desensitise your allodynia yourself, which may allow you to do it in your own time, at your own pace, in the manner of your choice and without the feeling of pressure or being rushed. The suggestions listed are in no particular order and are simply suggestions. Some may work for you, some may not. I have listed them as I found them.

  • Put your foot or hand in a suitably sized box with a good layer of raw rice in the bottom. Scrunch your toes or fingers in the rice as you might in the sand. Move your foot or hand around and gently sprinkle rice over your foot or hand. Alternate feet and or hands if required.
  • Get three types of material or clothing made from different material, one soft, one medium and one rough. Carefully and gently run each piece over the affected area. (Only use the material(s) that your skin can cope with). This may take some time to work up to.
  • Place a number of dice on the floor for feet, table for hands. Using your affected foot or hand only, pick up and move each dice. If both feet and hands are affected swap and repeat.
  • Try the above with dominoes. Instead of picking them up move them so they link together at connecting ends.
  • Water Therapy – In a suitably sized bucket or tub, with water at a temperature best suited to your preference, place ¼ to ½ cup Epsom salts. Move your affected foot or hand around in the water while your skin absorbs the always helpful magnesium.
  • Water Therapy – Hydrotherapy
  • Using Somatosensory Rehabilitation to treat Allodynia: “Somatosensory rehabilitation for pain” [#NeuroPainRehab] is a treatment method that includes strategies to help therapists and other health care providers assess and treat allodynia. More Info

This is just a start for gentle desensitisation. Your "Pain Support Network" will have many more ideas and exercises for you.