Friday, September 01, 2006

Living With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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Living With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

The Slightest Injury Triggers A Chronic Pain Ailment
Dr. Mallika Marshall, Reporting
Aug 29, 2006 8:26 pm US/Eastern

(This Article Has Video On The Original Site Page)

It’s hard to imagine a minor injury, like an ankle sprain, turning into a lifetime of pain. But it’s happening to as many as one million Americans. It’s a disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and doctors don’t know what causes it or how to cure it.

Vance Hudson was diagnosed with CRPS 13 years ago after his horse stepped on his foot. The seemingly small injury ballooned into chronic, intense pain. “I’m no longer employed. I spent a year without any income at all,” explained Hudson. Even standing long enough to make a pot of coffee can be excruciating for him. “It impacts relationships. I’m just no the same person I was.”

Dr. Robert Schwartzman is an expert on CRPS. He says it’s a chronic pain ailment triggered by even the slightest injury to nerves or nerve endings. “It starts with severe pain, out of proportion to what the injury is,” he explained. “I don’t think there’s any pain in medicine that’s worse that this.”

For years people were told it was in their head. But Dr. Schwartzman says new research from Mass. General and other hospitals proves the pain is real. “There’s no question about this anymore,” he said.

There’s no cure for CRPS. Doctors can only help patients manage their pain with drugs and other treatments. The National Institutes of Health is currently funding several studies to try to better understand the disease and develop treatments.

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