The pain is not localised where the original injury occurred but can affect the whole limb and in some cases the spread to other areas of the body. There is often an increased sensitivity to touch in the affected area, even a light brush of material over the area could provoke a pain response. People who are affected by CRPS could experience changes in temperature, skin colour and swelling in the affected limb which, is the result of changes in circulation to the affected area caused by damage to the affected nerves that controls the region. There also could be changes in nail and hair growth patterns, excessive sweating, stiffness in joints, decrease in muscle coordination and also tremors and jerking of the affected limb. Treatment for CRPS could be tricky as performing basic movements could aggravate the pain. Treatment protocol usually includes pharmacological treatment to try and manage pain and inflammation, in extreme cases ketamine infusions are used to break the pain cycle. If medication does not work spinal cord stimulation could be attempted. From a movement therapy perspective, first education about the condition is important and also strategies to cope with the pain like mindfulness is important. Graded motor imagery and mirror visual feedback of the unaffected limb could be attempted to ‘trick’ the brain into perceiving no pain in the affected limb. Desensitisation of the affected skin area could be attempted, this could be stroking the skin with material or using your fingers. As pain permits the limb should be used as much as possible through a full range of movement combined with visualisation exercises before performing the relaxant action. There is no steadfast rules with doing exercises – guide your intensity levels by the amount of pain you experience during or after exercise. The idea is not to be in pain after the exercise, but try and keep the affected limb moving as much as possible! Connect here with WatchFit Expert Henry Van Der Walt References: Hotta J1, Saari J2, Koskinen M2, Hlushchuk Y2, Forss N3, Hari R2.Abnormal brain responses to action observation in complex regional pain syndrome.
J Pain. 2016 Nov 12. pii: S1526-5900(16)30309-1. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain. 2016.10.017. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/ disorders/reflex_sympathetic_ dystrophy/detail_reflex_ sympathetic_dystrophy.htm
Carr ES1, De La Cerda A1, Fiala K1. Complex regional pain syndrome. Proc (Bayl Univ Med Cent). 2016 Jul;29(3):333-4.