Friday, August 18, 2006

Doctors Believe CRPS Is No Longer In Your Head


Dr. David Marks, MD, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Doctors Believe CRPS Is No Longer In Your Head

Baffling Illness A Very Real Problem, Say Experts
Aug 18, 2006 12:20 am US/Eastern


(CBS) NEW YORK Pain has overtaken Vince Hudson's life.

He said it's spread from a bruise on his foot to both legs and his shoulder.

"I'm no longer employed," Hudson said. "I spent a year without any income at all. It impacts relationships. I'm just not the same person I was."

Vince is among the more than one million Americans suffering from complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS.

"I don't think there's any pain in medicine that's worse than this. You can't be touched," said CRPS expert, Dr. Robert Schwartzman.

Last year, "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul brought attention to this obscure disease when she admitted she suffers from the debilitating symptoms of CRPS. Like a lot of victims, she was told the pain was all in her head. But Dr. Schwartzman said new research proves the syndrome is real.

"One hundred percent," he said. "There's no question about this anymore. Zero."

CRPS has baffled doctors since the Civil War. It happens when there's an injury to a nerve that causes the entire nervous system to behave erratically.

A minor foot injury at gymnastics practice triggered agonizing chronic pain for 11-year-old Rachel Heisler. Now any noise or vibration can bring her to tears.

"The microwave beeping, the phone ringing. So everyday noise would make it worse," she said.

Keith Orsini runs an adult support group for CRPS.

"That sensitivity to touch sometimes means you can't be hugged by your children," Orsini said. "The slightest kiss from your husband, kiss from your girlfriend can cause extreme pain."

While there's no cure, Dr Schwartzman said pain medications and some treatments do show some benefits.

"If it got caught early and people understood this, I think we could dramatically stop its devastation," Schwartzman said.

New research shows that some people may be genetically predisposed to CRPS, which would explain why some people get it while others don't.

(© MMVI, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)




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