Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) – is a pain condition that can be present for a long period of time. Those with this condition have a dysfunction in their central or peripheral nervous systems, causing the system to send frequent or constant pain signals to the brain, which results in the nervous system becoming overactive.
Here are 8 signs that you may have CRPS:
- “Burning” pain
- Sensitive skin
- Changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler compared to other parts of the body)
- Changes in skin color (often blotchy, purple, pale or red)
- Changes in skin texture (shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty)
- Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
- Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
- Decreased ability to move the affected body part
“…the instrument becomes an extension of the body, for example, the bow of the violinist or the drumsticks of the drummer.” – Schlinger, 2006.
Many musicians say they “merge” with their instrument when they are playing – that they lose themselves and do not know where they stop and the instrument begins. This process leads to beautiful music; however, it can lead to less body awareness, pain and overuse injuries related to playing their instrument.
Statistics estimate more than 39,000 people are formally employed as musicians in the United States. This does not include the large numbers of children and teenagers just starting out, or devoted amateur and professional musicians playing night and weekend shows. Among this large number of musicians, studies have shown that the percentage who report having play-related pain may actually be higher than in other professions. In some groups, more than 90% of musicians surveyed reported having some type of pain.
Nearly 1.5 million Americans were treated for addiction to prescription opioids or heroin in 2015, according to federal estimates, and when those people get seriously hurt or need surgery, it’s often not clear, even to many doctors, how to safely manage their pain. For some former addicts, what begins as pain relief ends in tragedy.
Max Baker is one such case. He started using prescription pain pills as a teenager in New England and quickly moved on to heroin. His father, Dr. James Baker, is a physician in the Worcester, Mass., area, and says he saw signs that his son was high on opioids — in Max’s pupils and skin tone. He begged Max to stop.
“He would have slurred speech, and be nodding off at the dinner table, and we’d go to a concert together and he would disappear and come back acting differently,” James Baker says.
It was a long, painful slog, but Max eventually sought help. When he was 22, he was prescribed an opioid called suboxone, a standard relapse prevention drug that helps wean people off opioids. After a year, he’d worked his way off that medication, too.
Chronic pain that does not respond to conventional treatment can be frustrating for both the person with the pain and the team of people trying to help alleviate the pain. You may have heard of mirror therapy, but are unsure of what it is or who can benefit. To answer these questions, I consulted Susan Stralka, PT, DPT, MS. Susan has many years of experience treating patients with chronic pain and has lectured around the world on this topic.
What is mirror therapy?
Mirror therapy is a rehabilitation technique that uses the mirror image of a non-painful limb to retrain the brain about its perception of a painful limb. The non-painful limb (such as a hand or foot) is placed in front of a mirror and the painful limb is placed behind the mirror out of sight.
A fracture may cause pain, stiffness and loss of movement in your hand. Many people think that because they can move their hand, it means it is not broken, but this is a myth. If you’ve injured your hand and it is painful, visit a hand surgeon at the next available appointment.
During your visit, the hand surgeon may take an x-ray to determine the type of fracture. Treatment options may vary. Watch our video for more information or visit www.HandCare.org.
from the Cleveland Clinic
Does the thumb side of your hand feel like it’s going to sleep — that weak, numb, pins-and-needles feeling — for no apparent reason? You may suspect that you have carpal tunnel syndrome.
The good news is that there are a number of methods you can try at home to ease your pain. And if those don’t work, surgery can be a highly effective treatment.
What is carpel tunnel syndrome?
Carpel tunnel syndrome is a fairly common condition that affects the hand and wrist, says hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder surgeon William Seitz, MD.
“Symptoms include numbness, tingling and pain, usually in your thumb and the first three fingers of your hand,” Dr. Seitz says.
Carpel tunnel syndrome happens when the median nerve, which runs from your forearm to your hand through a narrow space called the carpel tunnel, is compressed or pinched, Dr. Seitz says.