Let’s Review! Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in a Nutshell

In a previous blog post we discussed what CRPS is and how it can affect patients. Here are the highlights:

  • CRPS, previously known as RSD, is a nervous system response to an injury sending the body into “fight or flight” mode when reacting to the world around us
  • Symptoms of CRPS include disproportionate pain to an otherwise non-painful stimulus, hair and nail changes, swelling, stiff joints and hypersensitivity, skin color or temperature changes in the affected limb
  • Once diagnosed with CRPS, patients often meet a pain management doctor, who may be able to help with management of associated symptoms
  • Our specialists at Ascend Hand Therapy will address symptoms of CRPS as well as the root cause, nervous system disfunction. Approaches to treating CRPS include:
    • “Scrub and carry” - loading tissues for deep sensory input, which is perceived as calming to the overactive nervous system
    • Laterality training – presenting the brain with activities/tasks that require specific attention to one side of the body over the other, for the ability to localize sensation, pain, and movement
    • Mirror therapy – using the mirror image of the unaffected limb to help retrain the brain to associate “normalized” functioning and appearance to the affected limb

Winter Is Here!
With the chill in the air, many of our hand therapy patients also feel a chill in their bones! Our bodies are sensitive to our environment. Change in weather can play a huge role in how our tissues move, feel, and function.
This time of year, can be more troublesome for individuals living with chronic conditions, such as CRPS and even arthritis.

Knowing the quick facts on CRPS can better equip a person to limit painful activity and sustaining heightened pain states which perpetuate CRSP. Some tools for limiting and decreasing pain include compressive gloves, weight bearing (scrub and carry protocol), desensitization techniques (such as different textures or fabrics), electrical stimulation for pain management, and maximizing functional use of the affected limb (particularly in pain free ranges).
Remember: Movement is Medicine! Movement helps keep blood flowing to tissues, bringing nutrients and warmth to tissues.

Compression Glove
Tens Unit


TENs unit

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