Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS, is not easily diagnosed and, in fact, can’t be confirmed by any single test. Most CRPS cases that are considered mild, or early cases, tend to resolve on their own and, while the pain caused can be difficult to deal with, treatment options are available for people affected by all pain levels. These will be determined through discussions with your primary care physician, as they need to know the ins and outs of your specific type of CRPS. It is best to get treatment as early as possible for it to be the most effective.
Psychotherapy for CRPS
Psychotherapy is typically considered a treatment for the psychological effects that result from CRPS itself. These can include situational anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Because of these resulting conditions, pain can be more acute, creating a cycle that makes it difficult to deal with or even seek treatment for their condition. Psychotherapy is designed to help break that cycle.
Physical Therapy and Rehab
The first method of treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is usually physical therapy or rehab, which is designed to increase blood flow, which helps take care of the circulatory system, which increases the likelihood that symptoms will decrease. Some therapy is also designed to help CRPS sufferers find ways to return to their daily life and work while dealing with the symptoms.
There are many medications that can treat symptoms of CRPS, though the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has not approved them to be specifically considered “CRPS medications.” Medications can affect each body differently, as well, which is why any of the medications that may be prescribed in certain combinations will change with each person suffering from CRPS. Some drugs include:
Stimulation of the Spinal Cord
Blocking the pain through the use of electrodes which are placed just outside the spinal cord is one method of possible treatment for CRPS pains. Sometimes these electrodes are kept in place for a few days to check the overall effectiveness of this treatment on each individual patient.
There are many nontraditional therapies that have been tried to treat CRPS symptoms, including acupuncture, relaxation techniques, behavior modification and even the use of medical marijuana. Because studies are limited, these should be assessed with your doctor and may, like other therapies, be best in combination with other efforts, either traditional or other.
Not every treatment method will work for every person who suffers from CRPS, which is why you will consult with your doctor to find the option to best treat the type or types of pain you are feeling. You may end up needing a combination of treatments, perhaps a mix of traditional and non-traditional, which is why it is healthy to keep an open mind. You can also keep a healthy diet in order to reduce inflammation, potentially decreasing the pain through natural means on top of your treatment.