Thursday, October 05, 2006

It's Not In Your Head. Pain Syndrome Is Real

KOLD_News_13, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

It's Not In Your Head. Pain Syndrome Is Real
Oct 3, 2006 12:39 PM
From the KOLD News 13 Newsroom

(Video of this story available on the KOLD website, click here)

Imagine doing something as innocent as stubbing your toe or twisting your ankle, and developing an unbearably painful and chronic condition.

It's Complex Regional Pain Sydrome, or CRPS, and it's happening to as many as a million or more Americans, even children.

The experts say many doctors, but not all, are baffled.

Eleven-year-old Rachel Heisler loves to watch her brother race, especially now that he has a ribbon on his car honoring her race against pain.

Rachel's mother Marilyn Heisler says, "She would sit in the stands and cry it hurt so bad, but she had to go see him race."

Rachel has CRPS.

She was diagnosed after a minor foot injury during gymnastics triggered agonizing, non-stop pain.

Now, nearly any vibration at all can bring her to tears.

Her mother says, "The microwave beeping, the phone ringing. So everyday noise would make it worse. "

Dr. Robert Schwartzman is an expert in CRPS. He says it's a chronic pain ailment brought on by even the slightest injury to nerves or nerve endings.

Dr. Schwartzman, says, "It starts with severe pain out of proportion to what the injury is. So, you twist your ankle. Then, all of a sudden, it starts to swell more than it should."

He says the pain can spread throughout the body and is virtually unbearable.

He adds, "I don't think there's any pain in medicine that's worse than this. You can't be touched."

For years, people were told it's "all in your head," but Dr. Schwartzman says new research proves CRPS is real.

He says, "100 percent. There's no question about this anymore. Zero."

While there's no cure, Dr Schwartzman says pain medications and some treatments do show some benefits, but early diagnosis is critical.

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

It's devastation Vance Hudson knows all too well. It took doctors years to diagnose him.

He says the pain has taken over his life. "I'm no longer employed. I spent a year without any income at all. It impacts relationships. I'm just not the same person I was."

Hudson and many patients find relief in support groups like the one run by Keith Orsini.

It's called American RSDHope. Orsini says CRPS can leave you feeling depressed and alone.

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

Rachel gets a lot of support from her family. She's improving and is trying chiropractic care.

She can get around without her walker now, and has big plans for the future.

Rachel says, "I want to go back in gymnastics, have no pain, and go back to school!"

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

The information also may help doctors diagnose CRPS patients sooner.

The National Institutes of Health is funding several studies in hopes of better understanding the disease and developing treatments.

CRPS was formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, or RSD, so you may often see the term RSD used in reference for the syndrome as well.

Click Here For The Original Article Online


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