People who suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) often feel as if they have had their lives taken from them. What was once a simple task may become a difficult maneuver – or even impossible with the kind of pain they suffer from. It can really alter the way a person lives their life.
What is CRPS?
If you have never experienced the discomfort of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, count yourself fortunate. Those that do often begin by sustaining an injury or illness and go on to experience symptoms that refuse to subside. These may include pain in the arms and legs or all over the body, or intense discomfort as a result of almost any stimuli. It can make things as simple as a hug feel like an assault.
What are the Treatment Options for CRPS?
Unfortunately, CRPS can be very difficult to diagnose- much less treat. There are several common approaches, all of which are often tried in turns until one that works is found by the patient and their care team. These may include but aren’t limited to:
- Over-the-counter drugs such as NSAID medications.
- Prescription pain relief drugs or steroids.
- Physical or occupational therapy.
- Massage therapy.
- Creams, rubs, and balms meant to soothe sore muscles.
- Nerve blocks and neuromodulation.
These options may be used one at a time or in combination to treat CRPS symptoms. However, they aren’t always effective. Thankfully, there are new alternatives that are changing the way patients and care teams approach treatment.
Ketamine as a Treatment Option
Scientists and doctors have found many uses in recent years for ketamine, a drug originally developed for surgical sedative use. These days, the medication is being used to treat everything from depression to physical pain.
It is thought to alleviate pain by hampering the nerve receptors that cause it. While the exact science behind how ketamine works to relieve CRPS pain is still being studied, it has been found to provide fast and lasting relief for patients who did not have success with other options. It is providing hope for those who may otherwise feel that they can’t find it – and giving patients back their lives!