Pain management is critical for living a hopeful life with CRPS. We use and we try various medications and treatments, but the pain is relentless. We have sleepless nights and excruciating days, but we can persevere. There is hope.
My first suggestion is getting a Dorsal Root Ganglion Spinal Cord Stimulator in addition to a Neurontin, and other supportive medications as prescribed by your physician. High-quality CBDs work as well.
Joyful Distractions for Living
All that said, we can fight depression and suicidal thoughts and tendencies with distraction. There are so many ways to distract ourselves from the pain.
A Few Ways to Distract Ourselves:
Exercise: Move those CRPS limbs and strengthen muscles surrounding the affected area. This will help prevent Atrophy and Dystonia.
Entertainment: Watch positive movies, TV and videos. Staying positive helps our bodies to recover from the pain. Watching negative (death, violence, etc.) shows stresses our bodies and we can become anxious and depressed.
People: Friends and families give us relationship and fellowship which we need as human beings. We are made for relationships and community. People can offer us love and care.
Pets: Having pets gives us joy. We often laugh and play when we have pets which works to heal our bodies, minds and spirits.
Hobbies: Find one if you don’t have one. Take pictures, write, sing, dance, play… and do it like nobody’s watching. Anything we can do to keep our minds busy can help reduce the pain.
Whatever you do, unleash your creativity. Being creative unquestionably gives life meaning. When we have a reason to live for the living, we are less likely to fall into hopelessness.
P.S.: How do you distract yourself? Please, let me know in the comments.
My left foot hurts unless I’m asleep. That’s just the way it is with CRPS. So, to tackle the pain I make sure I’ve taken my medications on time, eat well, the occasional heating pad (yes, it works) and I move my feet every day. I rotate them, stretch them through cramping and walk as much as possible. I know it sounds strange to exercise and walk when I’m in pain, but it helps tremendously. And I don’t want to incur any more irreversible damage than I have to.
You see, CRPS comes with its complications, two of which are Dystonia, muscle tightening, contracture and Atrophy, muscle and tissue wasting. You can read a bit about Dystonia in a recent post, Fighting Dystonia. These states often create irreversible damage.
I want to use my feet as long as I can. I do use an electric wheelchair if I have to walk long distances, like going to the mall. But I do my best to walk as much as I can. I try not to limp and walk as straight as possible to exercise the right muscle groups, but it takes concentration and effort. Walking exhausts me and I do rest afterward with my feet up to relieve the inevitable swelling.
You can see in my pictures where my left foot is smaller and has less muscle mass than the right. I was diagnosed in 2014, so they are showing six-years of muscle and tissue wasting. In the first three years I babied my foot, used my wheelchair more and wouldn’t walk far. Now I have a Dorsal Root Ganglion Spinal Cord Stimulator and I am much more mobile. I take advantage of the reduced pain by moving more and resting when I’m fatigued.
I do fight other illnesses, so life is not back to normal by any means but it’s definitely better. My treatments and methods my not be for you, but if I can get one thing across it’s to say don’t give up and keep moving your CRPS limbs.
Maintaining mobility and much love,
P.S.: Don’t let CRPS steal any more of your life than it can.