Educating Your Doctor About CRPS/RSD

The average CRPS/RSD patient sees five and 10 doctors before he can get a diagnosis, and many physicians have little or no knowledge or understanding of the condition. Some question whether or not it even exists.

What is CRPS/RSD?

Complex regional pain syndrome/reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder that affects an estimated 250,000 Americans, although experts say the number is considerably higher. It often follows a musculoskeletal or nerve injury, surgery, or some type of immobilization, although not always. It results in pain affecting the limbs of the body, frequently centralized on a finger or toe, although it may spread throughout an entire arm or leg.

According to American RSDHope, patients must be diagnosed and treated aggressively within the first two to twelve months of the onset of symptoms (not the actual diagnosis) if there is to be any real chance of slowing down the advancement of the condition. The chronic, persistent pain associated with CRPS/RSD requires coordinated, interdisciplinary, patient-centered care to help achieve pain reduction or cessation and better function for the patient, but this often easier said than done.

Educational Courses in CRPS/RSD to be Offered to Physicians

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA), an international non-profit organization based in Milford, Connecticut, has partnered with the American Academy of Pain Management to offer two accredited educational courses focusing on CRPS/RSD. New Jersey physician Dr. Phillip Getson will teach the courses, designed to help orthopedists, podiatrists, and family physicians to learn more about the disorder.

According to the National Pain Report, Dr. Getson’s message to physicians is simple: Slow down and listen to the patient. “We’re in rush mode, which is not what medicine is supposed to be,” he said. “I’ll remind them what we learned in medical school, which is to make someone better, get them to someone [who] can get them better.”

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