Preparing for an appointment can be a cause of stress for potential CRPS patients. Due to the varying nature of CRPS and its manifestations, it is important for patients to be able to provide physicians with as much information as possible regarding their condition. A doctor’s appointment should be a time for patients to receive answers to their questions. Therefore, patients are encouraged to seek as much information as they like regarding CRPS and how it may affect them in the present and future.
CRPS Doctor Appointments
One of the best ways a patient can prepare for any appointment is to provide doctors with as much information as possible regarding his or her symptoms. If patients have any previous medical records or documentation that may be relevant to the condition, they should be prepared in advance so they can be brought to the appointment or sent to the doctor.
CRPS patients are advised to keep a journal documenting their symptoms. This is especially important because CRPS symptoms tend to vary day to day and at various times of the day. At the onset of pain and other symptoms, patients should write down detailed descriptions of their experiences. Patients should be sure to include the types of symptoms, when they occur, whether or not they appear to be linked with certain activities, and what type of actions may seem to alleviate symptoms.
Doctor CRPS Questions
Primary care physicians and CRPS specialists will ask a series of questions to pinpoint the patient’s symptoms and determine whether or not they could be caused by CRPS. One of the primary goals is to determine if there is a specific event or incident that could have caused CRPS to develop. CRPS Type II is typically caused by nerve damage that can occur during an accident, injury, or surgery.
Doctors may ask patients CRPS questions such as:
- What symptoms are you experiencing?
- Do symptoms occur constantly or intermittently?
- When did these symptoms begin?
- Do symptoms show general patterns, such as more prominence in the morning or at night?
- Do symptoms worse or improve with certain activities or behaviors?
- Have you recently experienced a traumatic event that may have caused nerve damage?
- Have you ever experienced similar symptoms in the past?
Patient CRPS Questions
Patients are encouraged to ask as many questions as needed to help them fully understand the situation. If patients are not fully educated on CRPS, its symptoms, and its prognosis, an appointment with a CRPS specialist is an ideal place to find answers. Any fears, concerns, and special considerations can also be addressed with the specialist. If patients have any other medical conditions, they should consult the doctor about how best to manage them together.
Patients may wish to ask their CRPS doctor the following questions:
- What about my symptoms points to a potential CRPS diagnosis?
- What other conditions may be causing my symptoms?
- What does diagnostic testing involve, and which tests will be performed?
- What side effects or special considerations can I expect from diagnostic testing?
- What type of treatment is typically given for CRPS?
- Are there any alternatives to these standard treatments?
- What side effects have occurred in other patients who received these treatments?
- In addition to medical treatment, how can CRPS be better managed?
- Do you recommend any local or online support or advocacy groups?
Clinical Trial Consideration
For patients who are interested, clinical trials for CRPS may be available for participation. Clinical trials allow patients with CRPS to volunteer for testing new treatments under careful observation and screening. However, participation in clinical trials should be carefully considered, as the treatments tested have not yet been verified as effective. CRPS patients who are interested in learning more about CRPS clinical trials should ask their doctor.
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Bett, BJ. “CRPS: a permanent condition?” Medical Economics 6 Feb. 2004: 13. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Mar. 2014.
Cherry, D. “CRPS: Current Diagnosis and Therapy.” Anaesthesia and Intensive Care 34.2 (2006): 286+. Academic OneFile. Web. 8 Mar. 2014.