Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Why suffer needlessly when physical therapy can relieve Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) symptoms? At Centennial Sports & Physical Therapy in Spokane Valley, Washington, we understand that this painful condition causes severe, often unbearable, symptoms that affect your body and significantly impact your quality of life. Let’s delve into the definition, symptoms, causes, and how physical therapy can help you manage this challenging condition.

Physical therapy offers a multi-faceted approach to CRPS treatment.

  • Pain Reduction: Targeted exercises and therapies help reduce pain intensity.
  • Improved Function: Physical therapy focuses on restoring range of motion, strength, and functional abilities.
  • Enhanced Quality Of Life: By addressing pain and mobility issues, physical therapy can significantly improve an individual’s overall quality of life.

Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain disorder that usually affects your arms, legs, hands, or feet. You may have noticed symptoms after an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack.

Types Of CRPS

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is usually treatable and can be acute (short-term) or chronic (lasting longer than six months). There are two main subtypes of CRPS.

  • Type I (aka Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) – occurs without nerve damage. You may have experienced an illness or injury without direct nerve damage before experiencing symptoms.
  • Type II (aka Causalgia) – occurs after an illness or injury with known nerve damage.

CRPS affects about 200,000 people every year in the United States.

What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

The exact cause of CRPS isn’t fully understood. Many experts believe this condition results from an abnormal response to injury or trauma. Nerve damage, inflammation, and malfunction of the sympathetic nervous system may contribute to the development of this condition.

According to Cleveland Clinic, in more than 90% of cases, CRPS results from nerve trauma or injury to the affected limb, and the most common injury associated with developing CRPS is a bone fracture.

Common CRPS Symptoms

  • Intense Pain – Unbearable, burning pain that may be disproportionate to the original injury.
  • Skin Changes – Skin may become blotchy, pale, purple, or red, and temperature changes may occur.
  • Swelling – Swelling, stiffness, and increased sensitivity in the affected area.
  • Limited Mobility – Muscle atrophy, weakness, and decreased range of motion.
  • Nail & Hair Changes – Nails may become brittle, affecting hair growth.

Easing CRPS Symptoms

Physical therapy plays a significant role in managing and alleviating CRPS symptoms. Physical therapy aims to restore function, alleviate discomfort, and improve your overall quality of life. Here’s how physical therapy can help those with CRPS:

  • Pain Management: Physical therapists use various techniques to address pain, including manual therapy, exercises, and modalities like heat, cold, and electrical stimulation.
  • Desensitization: Since CRPS often leads to heightened sensitivity in the affected area, physical therapists work on desensitizing the area through gentle touch and massage.
  • Range Of Motion Exercises: Regular, controlled movements help prevent stiffness and improve flexibility.
  • Strengthening: Weakness and muscle atrophy are common in CRPS. Physical therapists develop tailored exercises to strengthen muscles and improve function.

What Is The Best Exercise For CRPS?

Physical therapists employ a range of exercises to treat CRPS. After a consultation that considers your pain levels, range of motion, and medical history, your PT will work with you to create a personalized exercise plan that fits your goals and lifestyle.

  • Mirror Therapy: Patients view their unaffected limb using a mirror while performing exercises with their affected limb. This helps rewire the brain and alleviate pain.
  • Graded Motor Imagery: This involves a series of exercises that aim to improve the brain’s perception of the affected limb, ultimately reducing pain.
  • Active Range of Motion Exercises: Controlled, gentle movements help improve joint function and reduce stiffness.
  • Functional Exercises mimic everyday activities to improve coordination, balance, and functional independence.

Find Relief With CRPS Therapy In Spokane

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) poses unique challenges, but physical therapy has become a powerful tool for managing its symptoms. With a tailored approach that includes exercises, desensitization techniques, and pain management strategies, physical therapists aim to alleviate pain, improve mobility, and restore function. If you or a loved one are battling CRPS, schedule an appointment with Centennial Sports & Physical Therapy in Spokane Valley to enhance your quality of life and regain control over your health.

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