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June 3, 2008

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

I took last week off from blogging because I had several exams to prepare for. Luckily, that is behind me and I can touch on some of the material this week that we covered and how it relates to massage.

First is a condition of neuropathy called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). It is a result of the body having an aberrant response to trauma, something like an ankle sprain or a broken wrist. It manifests as severe, spontaneous pain out of proportion to the original injury. The pain in the limb is intense, with edema, changes in skin color, excessive sweating, and skin atrophy. Treatment involves a nerve block at the nerve root (stellate ganglion for upper limb, lumbar sympathetic chain for lower limb).

I had never heard of this before, and I doubt anyone with this condition would seek massage therapy for it because it is so painful. However, that said, it is possible someone with this condition could walk through your clinic door undiagnosed. Alternating ice and heat may be helpful for pain and swelling, but these folks should be referred to a doctor. This condition can a devastating psychological impact on the client because of chronic pain. Diagnosed patients may seek massage therapy for stress management and relaxation as suggested by their doctor.

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Posted by linda at June 3, 2008 8:15 AM

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