What is nerve pain?
Neuropathic pain, or nerve pain, is a disease where nerves misfire and send signals of intense pain when they shouldn’t. Sometimes it gets worse over time, especially with certain diseases such as CRPS/RSD (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, previously known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy). Common treatments include pills and physical therapy. When these options fail, are difficult to achieve, or cause significant side effects, there are alternatives, some of which our clinic provides. These alternatives include ketamine infusions and motor sparing nerve treatments. The goal of these treatments is to allow patients to perform physical therapy and a renewed ability to be physically active. Physical activity and a healthy lifestyle is the key to a successful, rewarding life for someone who has nerve pain.
What is CRPS?
CRPS is a devastating, poorly understood, debilitating condition in which a patient experiences severe pain and gradual loss of function in one or multiple limbs. Pain can also occur in other parts of the body.
Who suffers from it?
Anyone can develop CRPS. In fact, mild self-resolving forms occur frequently after trauma or surgery. Unfortunately, when the disease persists, it gets worse. Diagnostic criteria vary and can be so confusing that some won’t think the patient meets enough diagnostic criteria to qualify for the condition. However, CRPS must be treated early to prevent evolution of the disease, and treatments are generally very safe with low risk. Therefore, upon exclusion of other diseases that can resemble CRPS, a presumptive diagnosis based on a few key symptoms and immediate treatment are warranted.
What can we do to help?
The cornerstone for CRPS treatment is specialized physical therapy. However, physical therapy can be extremely painful and therefore difficult for patients to perform. Our goal at Acute Pain Therapies is to facilitate a patient’s ability to perform physical therapy by utilizing nerve pain treatment. We do this utilizing protocols involving patient-controlled, motor sparing nerve catheter placement as well as a ketamine infusion regimen. We also partner with community members who we have found to be experts in treating CRPS from the standpoint of the provider’s individual discipline. There is no such thing as one provider who can manage all of CRPS. It requires a team approach from a community of compassionate medical experts.
The three pillars of therapy emphasized by Acute Pain Therapies are: functional status optimization, psychological well-being, and pain control itself. The specialized nerve pain treatment we offer in Bellevue will complement the other two pillars, but without the psychological and functional elements of therapy, our treatments will not be successful. We therefore provide pain services as well as a concierge referral based system to ensure patients who commit to getting better have a complete and robust experience.