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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS 1)
or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
By Simeon Niel-Asher
Severe cases of Frozen Shoulder Syndrome can be associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome 1 (CRPS 1), formally known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) or Sudeck’s atrophy; now called This can be a serious and unwelcome complication of frozen shoulder syndrome, or in some cases it may precede a Frozen Shoulder. The average age of sufferers is 42, which fits into the “younger” frozen shoulder sufferer profile; it is
also associated with insomnia, another frozen shoulder symptom.
CPRS 1 is a chronic systemic disease characterized by severe pain, swelling, and changes in the skin, if untreated it gets worse over time. It is a type of inflammation of the nerves that supply and nourish the blood vessels (vaso-nervorum) and small nerve pain fibres to the skin; in 92% of cases once it starts it spreads to other body areas. It can be very painful, even worse than childbirth! It is sometimes diagnosed along with Fibromyalgia.
Extreme sensitivity to pain, heat and cold in the fingers
Stabbing or burning pain, tingles and electric feelings
White-blue or reddish, hot (mainly) or cold, numb, stiff, swollen fingers
Painful & swollen knuckle joints
Muscle twitches and tremors
Increased sweating and odour
Strange odour from armpit
Severe cramping in shoulder, elbow, wrist & hand
Frozen shoulder and CPRS 1
In terms of shoulder pain and the frozen shoulder CPRS 1 is associated with trauma such as fracturing the shoulder and or splinting it. It is also associated with shoulder surgery (including manipulation under anaesthetic).
Mostly on the affected side, the massive inflammation in a 'Freezing' Shoulder can spread to a nerve bundle at the base of the neck that regulates blood flow to the wrist and hand. This causes a host of more unwelcome symptoms in the hands and fingers.
The RSD associated with frozen shoulder syndrome can be effectively addressed with The Niel-Asher Technique™; it usually improves in tandem with the shoulder, but the longer it has been there, the longer it takes to get better.
If you think you have RSD you should consult your doctor and or a qualified Niel-Asher Technique™ practitioner (for a list of practitioners click here). Diagnosis can be made by thermography and or a type of stress test to the nerves, these procedures are relatively simple, quick and painless.
Daily vitamin C after an injury
Squeezing a squash ball for 5 minutes 10 times per day
Therapeutic Putty and certain home exercise products
Ruta Gravis & Rhus Tox (only take with professional advice
Certain Specialized Deodorants (check with your pharmacy)
Seek advice from a healthcare practitioner
The sooner you seek advice and treatment the better. This is because if you leave RSD too long it can become irreversible. Please consult your doctor if you think that you have "major" or "severe" CPRS 1. It may require special investigation.