Sudden. Intense. Pain. It feels like a burning sensation. Your toes, or your fingers, or your knees feel engulfed in flames. There is pressure, and there is pain. Where did it come from? There was no trauma. You were probably lying in bed, or sitting on the couch watching TV when the pain arrived. What can you do?
This is a reality for people with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).
A young woman by the name of Margaret endures sudden attacks of this nature all too often. Her pain started shortly after a bunion surgery performed on her right foot. She knew there would be pain during the recuperating process; she had the same type of surgery performed on the other foot a few years prior.
But the pain of this surgery was more intense. A lot more intense.
After an emergency trip to the hospital, where the doctor unwrapped and eased her bandages, there was some easing of pain. But the relief of her pain didn’t last long. Soon the burning pain was back. Sadly, Margaret’s experiences are pretty typical of CRPS.
People with CRPS often experience localized pain in the given region. Frequently, but not always, the condition is preceded by injury or surgery. Also, lack of coordination is a frequent occurrence. Occasionally, tremors are present in affected limbs.
Margaret started experiencing her pain after a surgery. The pain caused her to severely compensate, not putting weight on her affected leg for months. She also dealt with some lack of coordination as a result.
There are numerous ways that CRPS can be treated. Pain medication and physical therapy are commonly used together. Surgery may even be an option, but usually only in extreme cases.