Imagine going about your day and suddenly someone stops you dead in your tracks, trapping you so there is no escape. This assailant grabs a large, heavy sledgehammer covered in razor-sharp nails each one burning red-hot with sizzling oil. Without warning, this assailant raises the sledgehammer high in the air and brings it down on your arm, leg, hand, foot or any other body part that you can think of. And as you scream from the searing pain, this assailant continues the vicious assault. Although you beg for mercy, your cries of anguish are ignored.
When you have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), this is your reality. Let that sink into your mind for a minute. Imagine every aspect of your life invaded by this kind of pain.
Every. Second. Of. The. Day.
For millions of Americans with CRPS this is just a glimpse of their own personal hell and barely touches on the severity of their pain. This incurable disease is progressive and often invisible so many patients around the country are treated like drug seekers rather than with compassion, which they so rightly deserve and desperately need. Narcotics are a godsend because they decrease intense pain levels and make the pain tolerable. They also allow patients a better quality of life so they can work, socialize and simply do the things that we all take for granted like taking a shower or making dinner. To deny chronic pain patients strong narcotics that can improve their lives is inhumane yet it’s happening all around the United States every day. Many physicians are quick to recommend physical therapy, meditation or yoga instead of narcotics. For some patients those treatment modalities alleviate pain but for others, they do absolutely nothing leaving patients in excruciating pain with nowhere to turn.
Pain from CRPS demands to be felt and it’s always there. It infiltrates every moment of your life and does not care whether you are working, getting ready for a date, helping your children with their homework or picking things up from the grocery store. It doesn’t care whether you have to work every day to pay the bills and put food on the table. CRPS is always a part of your day once it sets up home in your body. This high level of constant pain takes a serious toll emotionally as well as physically. Patients often feel extremely emotionally worn down because they are so tired of dealing with CRPS pain. Sadly, many patients have taken their life just to escape the horror of CRPS pain and because of this CRPS is also known as the Suicide Disease.
Why should you care if you don’t have CRPS? This condition doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter what age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation or social status you are. It strikes without warning! You can get CRPS from any minor injury like a paper cut, bruise, sprain or broken bone. Speak up and share your story if you have CRPS or know someone that does. It’s the only way to get the world to understand what life really is like with this cruel disease.