The first report of a child with CRPS came in 1971. While CRPS can happen at any age, CRPS in children is less common than in adults. Children often respond more quickly and positively to CRPS treatment than adults.
Treating CRPS in Children
Doctors typically attempt to treat CRPS in children with as little invasive surgery and medication as possible so as not to disrupt growth and development. Massage and physical therapy are relied upon more heavily for treating CRPS in children. Children are often more willing than adults to participate actively in physical therapy exercises and techniques.
Physical Therapy Only
CRPS in adults is often most responsive to a combination of physical therapy and medication therapy. However, studies have shown that physical therapy alone may be effective in many cases of children with CRPS. In one study, 90 percent of participants effectively alleviated CRPS symptoms after undergoing physical therapy for up to six hours a day with no medication.
Children are often particularly responsive to massage therapy. Many children with CRPS become very guarded about being touched, as even mild touches may cause excruciating pain. Massage therapy may help to desensitize children slightly to the pain, which will make physical therapy more bearable. Massage therapy can also be soothing for children, as the child can rest and possibly have a reprieve from the constant pain of CRPS.
Psychological Effects of CRPS
Although CRPS has a psychological impact on children, the effect is often less severe than in adults. Children are usually more accepting of the condition, and are more enthusiastic about treatment and recovery. The constant pain can begin to take a psychological toll on children with CRPS, but effective therapy methods can help to mitigate this tension.
Resurgence of CRPS
Resurgence of CRPS symptoms in children following successful treatment is more common than in adults. However, children are often just as responsive to treatment when CRPS recurs as following the initial diagnosis. In most cases, the condition does not worsen following resurgence.
Child CRPS Symptoms
In past years, it was assumed that CRPS symptoms in children were milder than in adults. However, little evidence exists to support this claim. Tests indicate that CRPS manifests similar symptoms in children as in adults, with CRPS pain being the primary symptom. Swelling, skin changes, and temperature differences are all commonly noted in cases of children with CRPS, as with adults. Due to the effectiveness of treatment, however, CPS in children is less likely to worsen to the point of decreased mobility than with adults.