Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

More Pain Means Real Gain In Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment

Date:
November 12, 2009
Source:
SAGE Publications UK
Summary:
A new study has shown that for sufferers of Type I Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, working through the pain of an aggressive physiotherapy program often leads to far better results than a more cautious pain-free approach.

The saying "more pain, more gain" may be true for those already in terrible pain due to a chronic and debilitating condition, contrary to received wisdom. For those with Type I Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), working through the pain of an aggressive physiotherapy program often leads to far better results than a more cautious pain-free approach. That was the result of a new study in

Clinical Rehabilitation

. In fact, nearly half those who were given the painful treatment recovered normal physical function, whereas those who avoided painful physiotherapy usually had further loss of physical function.

CRPS is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. The cause of this syndrome is currently unknown. Although CRPS may follow injury and surgery, this is not always the case.

Jan-Willem Ek, Jan C van Gijn and colleagues from the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Bethesda Hospital in The Netherlands studied 106 patents suffering severe physical impairments from CRPS Type I, which does not involve nerve lesions (unlike Type II). They found that almost all the patients improved significantly when subjected to a rehabilitation program involving graded pain exposure. In fact, more than half the patients in the study recovered full physical movement, and none of the patients experienced adverse effects from this more aggressive approach. While this "full on" approach doesn't reduce the amount of pain associated with the condition, it does provide sufferers with a significant increase in mobility, function and quality of life. Traditional treatments for this chronic condition typically minimize the pain, which limits physiotherapy significantly and usually leads to greater deterioration of the affected limb.

CPRS can vary from joint stiffness and moderate pain in the arms or legs to paralysis and complete loss of function in more extreme cases. People suffering from this condition usually have a poor prognosis. That's because the condition often leads to extensive changes in the brain itself, making treatment to the affected limb almost ineffective. Given that the brain is usually affected in this chronic condition, it's almost impossible to reduce the pain of this disease by trying to treat the isolated limb. The result is a vicious circle, where the pain of the condition limits the amount of therapy, which in turn causes more deterioration in the limb and the brain, which further hampers any recovery.

Typically, physicians resist therapies where excessive levels of pain are involved, for fear of causing further injuries to the arm or leg. However, the habitual pain from CRPS Type I is often a false warning sign. This seriously limits the extent of therapy that's offered, and often precludes the more aggressive treatments like traction, stretching and massage. Often, the result is that people's joints begin to deteriorate even faster.

"In our experience one of the cornerstones of the success of pain exposure physical therapy is to motivate the patient to undergo both the painful interventions and to keep training and exercising at home," says one of the co-authors, Robert van Dongen. This new insight into this debilitating condition allows doctors and physiotherapists to provide patients with hope for a more functional and normal life.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by SAGE Publications UK. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ek et al. Pain exposure physical therapy may be a safe and effective treatment for longstanding complex regional pain syndrome type 1: a case series. Clinical Rehabilitation, 2009; DOI: 10.1177/0269215509339875

Cite This Page:

SAGE Publications UK. "More Pain Means Real Gain In Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091112131846.htm>.
SAGE Publications UK. (2009, November 12). More Pain Means Real Gain In Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091112131846.htm
SAGE Publications UK. "More Pain Means Real Gain In Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091112131846.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

Hundreds in Virginia Turn out for a Free Clinic to Manage Health

AFP (July 24, 2014) America may be the world’s richest country, but in terms of healthcare, the World Health Organisation ranks it 37th - prompting hundreds in Virginia to turn out for a free clinic run by “Remote Area Medical”. Duration 02:40 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins