Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that affects the limbs, usually after an injury. It is characterized by a combination of symptoms including swelling, changes in skin color and temperature, sensitivity to touch, and intense pain. There are several treatment options for CRPS, including medication and physical therapy. However, natural treatments have gained popularity in recent years as they offer a safer alternative to traditional treatment methods. Here are five natural treatments for CRPS that you can explore with help from your doctor.
Massage therapy can help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by CRPS. This is because massage helps increase blood flow, reduce swelling and inflammation, and release tension in muscles. Some therapists have found that massage therapy significantly reduces pain in patients with CRPS. Since massage also helps makes muscles more elastic, it should increase the range of motion in CRPS patients, as well.
Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine practice that involves the insertion of thin needles into specific points on the body. It is believed to help balance the body's energy flow and reduce pain. At least one study has found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain, reduced depression and improved the quality of life in a patient with CRPS. As with many such options, more research is needed, but acupuncture is a promising candidate.
Exercise is an essential part of any CRPS treatment plan. It helps improve blood flow, reduce swelling and inflammation, and prevent muscle atrophy. Low-impact exercises such as swimming, walking, and yoga can be beneficial for patients with CRPS. However, it is important to start slowly and gradually increase the intensity and duration of the exercises to avoid immediate, intense pain that could turn you off of exercise or cause intense pain or injury.
Mind-body techniques such as meditation and relaxation exercises can help reduce stress and anxiety, both of which can worsen CRPS symptoms. Obviously, CRPS is not “in your head,” but we have many built-in methods for dealing with pain that meditation and other such practices allow us to access. Relaxation is the first step to allowing yourself to access them.
Herbal supplements such as turmeric, ginger, and devil's claw have anti-inflammatory properties and may help reduce pain and inflammation in patients with CRPS. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any herbal supplements as they can interact with other medications, and you should be certain you aren’t allergic to any supplements, as well.
CRPS, as a chronic pain condition, can be challenging to treat. Natural treatments can help alleviate pain and improve the quality of life for patients with CRPS. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any natural treatment, and at Maryland Pain & Wellness Center we can walk you through all of your options. It is also essential to remember that natural treatments should be used in conjunction with traditional treatment methods and not as a replacement.