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Knee & Hip Replacement Patient Forum

    Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS or RSD), Aug 11, 2017
  1. Josephine

    I did quite a bit of research on CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) at one time.

    What happens is that normally when nerves are stimulated by a pain somewhere, they fire like an electric spark that shoots up the nerve cell (called a neurone) and travels from one cell to another. As each cell fires, it's supposed to go into a short period of rest before it can fire again. But when the leg is affected by CRPS, the nerve cells are just randomly and constantly firing which is why pain meds and all the other usual remedies just won't work.

    View attachment 15393

    There are some do's and don'ts with this - first be very careful of movement or any other stimulation like massage. A CPM is not a good idea as it will keep the nerves firing. Neither is ice or heat. Even hot water from a shower can do it. Rest is your best friend right now. You have to try and figure out for yourself what triggers an attack and then avoid it.

    Good news is that CRPS can go into remission if it's allowed to (no CPM!) but bad news is that almost anything can start it off again. You could go into a remission and do certain things a dozen times and then suddenly one day it will set it off again. Some people (lucky ones) just have the one episode and that's it. It can be caused by anything from a broken ankle to several extensive surgeries, from a bad fall to aggressive massage/PT. In truth, as yet this is a poorly understood phenomenon and the best that is known as that there is still a lot to be learned. Every case is individual and has it's own course and manifestations so there is no 'textbook' case to tell you about. I truly wish there was.
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