Treatments and Therapies for Patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome may be treated with a variety of techniques and procedures. There are different choices and methods that can be made available to each patient. One only has to find a treatment regime that fits and solves his/her own particular problem and case. Standard treatments include medications, physical therapy, and nerve blocks.

A plethora of options for medications exist for pain control and other symptoms associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Medications that are given are classified as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, antidepressants, anti-convulsions, and muscle relaxers.

Nerve blocks, often performed by pain management doctors or anesthesiologists, are a common option for CRPS patients. Common blocks like the SGB or Stellate Ganglion Block and the LSB or Lumbar Sympathetic Block are done for pain in the arms, legs, and feet. These are performed in an operating room using a fluoroscope, also known as a “live x-ray” that guide the surgeon to the target nerve area to block.
Physical Therapy is also an integral part of any pain or healing regiment. It helps keep the affected area moving and responding to stimuli and strengthens muscles. Unmoved muscle may atrophy and this can cause severe pain for the patient. Touch sensitivity can also be solved by desensitization routines that can be included in a therapy regiment. Aquatic Therapy can also be helpful for joint pain sufferers as it removes the pressure of the patients’ weight on themselves. Warm water is highly preferred as cold water may sometimes bring pain to CRPS sufferers.

Lidocaine infusions, ketamine infusions, and continuous epidural infusions are available for those who do not want to undergo surgery. Infusions are given intravenously while being monitored by a doctor or an allied health professional. The initial treatments take about an hour, the purpose of which is to ascertain if there are any side effects and if the treatment properly removes the pain. Ketamine comas are not approved for use in the United States.

For those with severe symptoms, doctors may suggest these surgical options, implantable spinal cord stimulators, morphine pump or symphathectomy. Great care should be taken before undergoing these procedures. It is best to consult your doctor and other patients who have gone under these procedures to see if these can work for your lifestyle.

Natural and Holistic training and treatment regiments may provide relief, healing, and relaxation to a patient’s life. Examples of these are acupuncture, massage, herbal supplements, tai chi, and qi gong. One can eliminate certain foods and drinks that can cause or add to the pain.

A psychiatrist, psychologist, or psychotherapist can help a patient deal with the imminent stress and emotional problems a CRPS sufferer will encounter. It is also helpful to inform family and friends about the patient’s situation and symptoms so that they will be prepared for any changes in schedules and routines of the patient.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a manageable and treatable condition. With proper information, preparation and research, one can be ready to face the changes and procedures that a CRPS sufferer needs to face.