Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Inflammation in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

I've been diagnosed with
  • shoulder tendonitis (both shoulders at different times) - inflammation in a tendon
  • achilles tendonitis (both legs) - inflammation of the tendon
  • plantar fasciitis (both feet) - inflammation of tissue
  • bursitis - inflammation in a bursa
  • tennis elbow - inflammation of tissue
  • morton's neuroma - involves inflammation of a nerve
At first glance it appears that I have a great deal of inflammation and whereas the last time I wrote about this I questioned this, I now know it to be the case.
  • Bursitis pain was "cured" by mirror therapy.(Thanks Nigel. You're a legend.)
  • Morton's Neuroma pain was "cured" by mirror therapy.
  • Tennis elbow pain was "cured" by laser acupuncture.(Thanks Dr Liz. Another legend)
  • Shoulder tendonitis was relieved using mirrors. (continuing therapy)
  • Plantar fasciitis was relieved by orthotics. (Thanks Heather. You know your business.)
My theory is that something happens to irritate a nerve in the area of pain and that the brain translates that irritation as an injury and sends an inflammatory response. In chronic pain the inflammatory response is ongoing causing ongoing pain.

When mirror therapy gives the brain the "ok" message, the response to inflame is no longer relevant and the pain settles.
That mirror exercises work absolutely amazes me. By looking at the mirror image of my painless leg doing exercises which would be painful for the other leg, my brain gets the "it's ok" message and miraculously the pain stops. I 've also noticed that the leg relaxes and spasms ease. The benefit of mirror therapy is that I can do it anywhere I have a suitable mirror and it is free once you know what to do.

Acupuncture also certainly stops muscle spasm. I suspect repeated acupuncture may interfere with the inflammatory message ringing about the same result.

It appears in my case that although the pain has now gone there are still mechanical issues which are being addressed.

So, did I have all those conditions? After talking again with my physiotherapist I now realize that I did. The exercises and other treatment helped the conditions but didn't take the pain away and some of it just ramped up the pain. The problem was the brain wouldn't let go of the message. Mirrors and laser acupuncture allowed the brain to accept that all was "ok".

My new GP who is an Ayurvedic Medical Practitioner and Acupuncturist explained that the problem is inflammation in general, not individual episodes of tendonitis. The different "itises" are just a manifestation of this inflammation and treating each individually is only bandaiding the problem. A whole body approach is required. Why do I have so much inflammation? Inflammatory response is part of the dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

PARC (Promoting Awareness of RSD/CRPS in Canada) informs us that Dr van der Laan has supplied mounting evidence to support that "an exaggerated "inflammatory resopnse" is the how CRPS begins in the body. Dr van der Laan presented his evidence to the Special Interest Group of Pain and the Sympathetic Nervous System (PSNS SIG)(International Association for the Study of Pain members) and it was well received.
Based on the inflammatory theory, researchers in Holland have developed excellent treatments with free radical scavengers which fight inflammation.

There is also a current study in Bristol in the UK using vitamin C antioxidant to treat Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Something to ponder.

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