Former ER Doctor Spreads the Word: CRPS is Real

Dr. Billy Alexander, an internal medicine physician from West Monroe, Louisiana, took a strong message to the American College of Emergency Physicians annual meeting in late October: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is real.

“Surprisingly, some physicians are somewhat skeptical about it,” Dr. Alexander was recently quoted as saying in The National Pain Report, “but I know it’s real.” Alexander’s daughter injured her hip when she was a 21 year old college basketball player and developed the condition, and he says the experience taught him much as both a doctor and a father. He has since developed a relationship with the CRPS community and speaks out in helping to educate physicians about the condition, also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).

As a former emergency doctor himself, Dr. Alexander relayed two distinct messages to emergency room doctors at the ACEP annual meeting:

  • Understand that CRPS is real
  • Ketamine injections may be helpful in treating CRPS

Study Says Ketamine May Effectively Treat RSD/CRPS

A new study has suggested that ketamine may be a safe and effective way to relieve chronic pain in adolescents suffering from a variety of chronic pain conditions, including CRPS. The researchers conducting the study found that ketamine significantly reduced pain scores in 37 percent of the injections that were given (a reduction of 20 percent or greater was considered significant). Patients with CRPS/RSD experienced the greatest reduction in pain during the study, as compared with those suffering from other chronic pain syndromes.

CRPS/RSD is a disease of the sympathetic nervous system that ranks as the most painful form of chronic pain existing today, according to the McGill Pain Index. The condition often develops following some sort of trauma that damages the peripheral nervous system.


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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a serious medical condition that causes chronic, debilitating pain. For those who suffer from it more