Sunday, December 18, 2011

RSD/CRPS awarenerss video.I thought carefully about posting this video as it is a little alarming. Not everyone has these symptoms or to this extent. Whilst I agree that chronic pain is very difficult to deal with I believe that all people in pain deserve respect and see no purpose served by comparing pain levels of various conditions. I believe that CRPS is treatable and am in remission for the second time from intractable, whole body CRPS.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Making a list and checking it twice - again

In the spirit of Christmas I'm happily busy preparing things for my family and friends. We live at the beach near Byron Bay so our Australian summer is a perfect time to share with those we love, great company, lazy days and good food. 

I'm in remission from CRPS now but have overdone things so I'm looking at my list as a reminder of how to look out for myself.

With CRPS/RSD I have learned to take one day at a time. Many things have helped in in my journey to wellness.
Having breaks between major flare ups is a blessing and an indication that I'm on the right path. Here are some of the things I've found to help with pain and symptoms. Click on the links to find out more.

I am a sufferer not a professional. These things work for me about which I am very thankful. If you think something may help you check first with your treating practitioners.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ramachandran's mirror box explained. NOIgroup and others have variations of mirror boxes. I use a pain mirror, not a box. I use it for whole limbs, the face and the abdomen, areas for which a mirror box isn't suited.

BBC article - on mirror therapy and the brain - We know it works for CRPS/RSD pain. Now they are finding it may also help osteoarthritis pain.

Stephanie Hagerty of the BBC has a comprehensive article What phantom limbs and mirrors teach us about the brain.
Last month researchers at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) announced the results of a small pilot study which suggests that mirror therapy can help ease the pain of osteoarthritis. The article gives a good background to how mirror therapy was developed with an explanation of the possible science behind it. I encourage you to listen to the radio interview of Dr V S Ramachandran. My husband is a Vietnam veteran. In 2009 we visited Vietnam for Australia's first "in country" reunion. There we met Vietnamese vererans with missing limbs. I'm delighted to read about a program called "End the Pain" which hopes to extend mirror therapy to the estimated 300,000 amputees in Vietnam. Finally mirror therapy is seen as mainstream and not just God dam hippy crap.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Can something as simple as vitamin c prevent the development of CRPS/RSD after orthopedic surgery?

This is of particular interest to me as had it been known at the time of my wrist fracture in 1998, this simple, inexpensive treatment could have prevented my many years of pain.

Researchers at Centre Hospitalier, Rue Marcellin Berthelot, 02 000 Laon, France found that the incidence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy was five time times lower in a group give vitamin C orally for 45 days from the start of the fracture. They considered that this supported previous observations and lent credibility to the value of vitamin C administration as a prophylactic measure to prevent the occurrence of reflex sympathetic dystrophy in patients who undergo surgical treatment of a displaced fracture of the distal radius.

In July 2007 the Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery reported that Drs Zollinger, Tuinebreijer, Breederveld and Kreis, Department of Surgery, Red Cross Hospital, Beverwijk, The Netherlands had conducted a randomized, controlled, multicenter dose-response study into whether vitamin C can prevent the development of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in patients with wrist fractures.
The study concluded that Vitamin C reduces the prevalence of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome after wrist fractures. A daily dose of 500 mg for fifty days was recommended recommended.
Science Direct published recent French study which showed The effect of vitamin c in prevention of complex regional syndrome Type 1 in foot and ankle surgery.
"The study demonstrates the effectiveness of vitamin C in preventing CRPS I of the foot and ankle—a frequent complication in our control group (9.6%). The authors recommend preventive management by vitamin C."
I believe it is should be used routinely for prevention of CRPS post orthopedic surgery. Hopefully more research will be done to support the use of vitamin c to prevent development or complications of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Dutch researchers' studies supported the theory that oxygen derived free radicals are possibly the mediators of mechanisms leading to some of the neurological symptoms of CRPS.

First suggested by Sudeck in 1942, Dutch researchers' studies supported the theory that oxygen derived free radicals are possibly the mediators of mechanisms leading to some of the neurological symptoms of CRPS. They found

  • high oxygen supply with tissue hypoxia in CRPS extremities;
  • a diminished oxygen availability to the skeletal muscle tissue affected by chronic CRPS;
  • and several deficiencies in the skeletal muscles of CRPS sufferers
Studies in Holland have centered around free radical scavengers as treatment for CRPS. There are many ongoing studies with DMSO, NAC in Holland.

This is supported by research in Israel serum and salivary oxidative analysis in complex regional pain syndrome.

Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defense system of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged. Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C. Additionally, selenium, a trace metal that is required for proper function of one of the body's antioxidant enzyme systems, is sometimes included in this category. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in the diet.
Vitamin E : nuts, seeds, vegetable and fish oils, whole grains (esp. wheat germ), fortified cereals, and apricots.
Vitamin C : Ascorbic acid is a water soluble vitamin present in citrus fruits and juices, green peppers, cabbage, spinach, broccoli, kale, cantaloupe, kiwi, and strawberries.
Beta-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A (retinol) and is present in liver, egg yolk, milk, butter, spinach, carrots, squash, broccoli, yams, tomato, cantaloupe, peaches, and grains. (NOTE: Vitamin A has no antioxidant properties and can be quite toxic when taken in excess.)
Research now shows that we can substantially affect the level of anti-oxidants in our bodies by eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Google "antioxidants for crps" to learn more.

Remember the research about vitamin c's ability to prevent CRPS after some orthopedic surgery!
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