Coping with CRPS can be psychologically taxing for patients that are diagnosed with the disease. CRPS, or chronic regional pain syndrome, is a condition that causes constant and often severe pain. Coping with CRPS pain as well as coping with the diagnosis of a disease for which there is no known cure can be difficult for patients.
Coping with CRPS Diagnosis
CRPS can render patients unable to perform job tasks, and sometimes daily care tasks, as well. Patients may have to depend on family members or paid caregivers to assist with tasks. This dependency can affect a patient’s self esteem and mental state.
Limitations of CRPS
In addition to physical limitations, CRPS may also affect a patient’s memory and ability to concentrate. These limitations may affect a patient’s ability to participate in hobbies and pastimes, in addition to job and daily tasks. These limitations may decrease a patient’s quality of life, adding an emotional burden.
Coping with CRPS Treatment
CRPS treatments such as medication and physical therapy may lessen CRPS pain, and there is the possibility that the disease will go into remission. However, making time for treatment and paying for treatment can be difficult. Coping with side effects of medication or physical effects of physical therapy may also add stress. Every case of CRPS is different, and it may also take time and trials to find effective treatment methods.
Effects of Coping with CRPS
Patients that have been recently diagnosed with CRPS or patients that have been dealing with the pain of CRPS for a long period of time may feel emotionally burdened. This emotional burden in addition to the pain and other difficulties stemming from CRPS may cause a patient to develop emotional disorders, such as depression. Emotional disorders may burden physical healing, and may require separate treatment.
CRPS Effect on Family
Patients that are suffering from CRPS my become dependent on family members for assistance with daily needs, and may sometimes require financial assistance as well. Family members may feel encumbered by the additional responsibility. CRPS patients may also be emotionally distant, aggressive, or depressive, adding to familial tensions.
Emotionally Coping with CRPS
Patients that are diagnosed with CRPS may be encouraged to schedule an appointment with an emotional counselor. Emotional counseling may benefit family members, as well. Emotional counseling may assist all affected individuals in understanding what to expect throughout treatment, as well as allowing a healthy outlet for emotions. Emotional tension following a CRPS diagnosis is often heightened by confusion surrounding treatment methods and other aspects of the disease, and having someone to answer questions can provide relief for both patients and family members. This may help to relieve tension in the household and may help patients to keep a more positive mind set.
CRPS Support Groups
Support groups for those affected by CRPS exist both online and in communities. Many CRPS patients and family members find comfort in speaking to others that share experiences with the disease. Patients may be able to provide tips for coping with CRPS, as well as give advice about what to expect throughout treatment and recovery.
Physically Coping with CRPS
Over time, many patients find ways to cope with the physical sensations of CRPS. Heating pads, pillows, or constrictive bandages or clothing may help to lessen the pain of CRPS. Certain exercises and stretches may also release tension in parts of the body that are affected by CRPS. Patients will eventually learn whether the personal sensations of CRPS are ordinarily hot or cold, tingling or throbbing, and be able to anticipate and mitigate the feelings. Learning to control small physical aspects of CRPS can provide comfort to patients and help patients’ better cope with CRPS.
“Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Fact Sheet.” National Institute of Nuerological Disorders and Stroke. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 12 Jul 2013. Web. 5 Mar 2014. <http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy/detail_reflex_sympathetic_dystrophy.htm>.
“Support Groups.” Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association. Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, 05 Mar 2014. Web. 5 Mar 2014. <http://www.rsds.org/supportgroups.html>.