There are many different medical treatments for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). The reason for this is that many medical treatments do not work for the majority of CRPS patients. Sometimes patients may attempt several medical treatments for CRPS without finding relief. It can sometimes take years for a patient to finally find a way to treat their condition. This is because CRPS is an idiosyncratic condition, meaning that patients are all affected in different ways by the disease.
Types of CRPS Treatment
It is important for patients to explore different options with the help of medical professionals. CRPS is widely debated among the medical community and not all doctors are aware of the most recent information regarding CRPS. For example, doctors should know there are two types of CRPS referred to as Type 1 and Type 2. The CRPS types also have other terms to refer to them. Some of the other names for CRPS Type 1 are Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS), or Sudeck’s atrophy. CRPS Type 2 is
also known as Causalgia. However, doctors may not all be aware of this and other important aspects to consider when treating CRPS.
Both types of CRPS are characterized by different symptoms and different causes for the condition. When deciding on medical treatments for CRPS, a physician will have to consider both the symptoms and causes in order to determine which medical treatments are the most likely to improve the patient’s health and alleviate the chronic pain associated with the condition.
Drug Therapy for CRPS
CRPS has a long list of possible medical treatments for both alleviating symptoms and reversing the condition. Ideally, the physician will find a way to accomplish both of these goals for the patient from either medications or other types of medical treatments. There are various pharmaceutical medical treatments that can treat pain and other symptoms from CRPS. It is important for a patient’s physician to find medical treatments that are the least likely to cause adverse effects in the patient.
Some of the types of drug therapy medical treatments for CRPS:
• Narcotics/analgesic medications
• Antispasmodics/muscle relaxants
• NMDA receptor antagonists
• Blood pressure medications
Pain Relieving Medical Treatments for CRPS
Chronic pain is the primary focus of most CRPS patients. Many individuals with CRPS find that the condition is nearly insufferable and in the medical community CRPS is considered one of the most painful medical conditions for a person to develop. This is because the disease is a dysfunction of the nervous system that causes the patient to experience an unnecessary amount of pain from unexpected sources.
Some of the pain relieving medications for CRPS are:
• Fentanyl patch
However, there are some risks associated with the use of this type of CRPS medical treatments. Adverse effects to a patient’s health may result from the use of these medical treatments. Dependency and tolerance are always factors to consider since this would provide only limited relief. Patients will also be likely to develop other side effects from both short and long-term usage, such as drowsiness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, dry mouth, dizziness, and itching.
Antidepressant Medical Treatments
Antidepressant medical treatments such as tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are usually used for treating depression. These medications can be used for treating depression in CRPS patients and also as part of the medical treatments for dealing with a patient’s pain in some situations. There is also the added benefit of helping with sleep and reducing headaches associated with CRPS.
NSAID Medical Treatments
The NSAIDs are one of the medical treatments used to relieve the swelling and inflammation associated with CRPS. Since the inflammatory mechanism is the primary cause of pain from CRPS, some patients may find that these medical treatments are the most effective for treating the majority of the problems associated with CRPS. Furthermore, research has indicated that older nonprescription NSAIDs are more effective at treating symptoms from CRPS that prescription NSAIDs.
Other Types of Medical Treatments for CRPS
There are other medical treatments for CRPS besides drug therapy. These medical treatments include both invasive and non-invasive techniques. For severe pain from CRPS, a physician may suggest a nerve block as medical treatment. This consists of an injected medication that stops all signaling from affect nerve cells and near the spinal column. Another medical treatment that is similar to a nerve block is an intrathecal pump that delivers medication directly into the spinal column.
Other invasive techniques that have been proven effective are surgical sympathectomy and spinal cord stimulation. These techniques work to directly influence and alter the behaviors of the nerve cells. Nerve cells can be surgically destroyed to prevent pain signals; however this can sometimes make symptoms worse. Spinal cord stimulation uses electrodes to rewire pain signals into subtle tingling sensations that are often pleasant.
“Drug Therapies Typically Used For Treating CRPS.”American RSDHope. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Aug 2013.
Jasmin, Luc. “Complex regional pain syndrome.” PubMed Health. N.p., 16 Feb 2012. Web. 10 Aug 2013.