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| The Cochran Firm - Dallas

Although Jim Broatch, executive vice president of the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, describes the pain associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) as greater than that of giving birth or having a digit amputated, there is widespread misunderstanding about the pain and limitations that those who struggle with the condition face.

In May 2013, a Spokane, Washington man who suffers from CRPS was tasered and wrestled into custody by law enforcement officers when he couldn’t keep his right arm raised after ordered to do so. The man, whose right arm normally hangs stiff along his stomach and shakes involuntarily, has filed a federal lawsuit against Spokane County and the deputy who fired the Taser, alleging excessive force and negligence.

What is CRPS?

CRPS, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD, is a chronic pain condition that may occur after surgery, trauma, or other unknown cause. It tends to occur in phases and may affect a patient’s arms or legs. The pain experienced is quite severe and can only be controlled if treatment is begun at an early stage.

There are two main types of CRPS, according to the Mayo Clinic:

  • Type 1, also known as RSD, usually results from an injury or illness that did not impact the nerves present in the limb affected by the condition.
  • Type 2, known as Causalgia, is caused by an injury that directly affected the nerves present in the affected limb.

Treatment Plans

Although there is no known cure for CRPS yet, there are various treatment options available.  Seattle Pain Relief Clinics are now recommending and offering more than 10 effective treatments for CRPS, giving relief to those afflicted by the debilitating condition, including:

  • Over-the-counter pain medications
  • Anticonvulsants
  • Antidepressants
  • Bone-loss medications
  • Corticosteroids
  • Intravenous ketamine
  • Sympathetic nerve-blocking medication
  • Stellate ganglion blocks
  • Spinal cord stimulator implants

Physical therapy is perhaps the most effective way of dealing with RSD/CRPS, if started at an early stage. It can not only decrease the pain associated with the condition, but can also provide long-term relief and increased flexibility to patients.


  1. Gravatar for Darlene Cancienne
    Darlene Cancienne

    I have been suffering from RSD since 2006, was diagnosed in 2007. My injury was work related, I hit my knee on my desk. I have been through most all of the treatments you have listed without success of relief. I am still waiting for Workers' comp to approve for me to see an RSD specialist, which are few in the United States. Doctors state they can treat RSD, but I have not come across any that really know anything. The people need to be able to see doctors that specialize in this disease, I like most others are tired of seeing doctors that know nothing about our disease. Constantly in pain seeing doctors every month just so they can give us pain meds etc. to survive another month. Still not having anyone to actually help us understand what we are going through and if we are doing the right things to help ourselves. If we have to do the research for our own disease, how is it that we are getting the right treatment. The people with this disease should have the right to see someone who knows about the disease, someone we don't have to tell what to do. Someone that has seen different scenarios and know what to do about it. Also, myself I would like to speak to others that have had treatments that I have not had to find out their experience and if it actually helped or not. Then ask the doctor why he thinks it didn't help one and if my condition is the same or different to make a decision if I would try the same treatment or not.

  2. Gravatar for Nancy Bass
    Nancy Bass

    I have RSD/CRPS since 2000. I have lost my family watched my son's father steal my money with the help of Bank America and the IRS Give my refund to someone claiming to be my husband in another state. My boyfriend was arrested after a neighbor tried to kill me for my meds. It's disgusting. How we are pushed to the side.

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