Treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Treatments for CRPS focus on managing both physical and mental pain so that the child can move as regularly as possible. What works varies by individual, but the most critical aspects of CRPS treatment are physical and occupational therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. The physical therapy focuses on the natural movement of the affected body part(s) to retrain the brain and central nervous system to communicate normally. Occupational therapy helps the child do things for himself or herself allowing for more independence. Cognitive behavioral therapy works to teach the child how to deal with the condition and also how to manage stress and any other factors that may be triggers for relapse.
There are many options for pain management including various medications, acupuncture, and massage therapy. I used all of these. My medications included Gabapentin for nerve pain, Zanaflex to help relax my muscles which improved my circulation, and Indomethacin which is an anti-inflammatory drug. Using all three of these at the same time allowed me to go to physical or occupational therapy 5 days a week and do the exercises at home when my CRPS symptoms were at their worst.
As time has gone by, I have learned to be very aware of what my body is telling me and intervene much earlier which is reducing the severity and duration of my CRPS symptoms. When I feel symptoms returning, usually due to stress, I will use different combinations of pain management and make sure that I keep moving. I have found that I learned enough with the first “round” of CRPS symptoms that I can now manage the physical therapy portion on my own.