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CRPS Member resources

CRPS Treatment

How is CRPS treated? 

The following therapies are often used:

Rehabilitation and physical therapy.  An exercise program to keep the painful limb or body part moving can improve blood flow and lessen the circulatory symptoms.  Additionally, exercise can help improve the affected limb’s flexibility, strength, and function. Rehabilitating the affected limb also can help to prevent or reverse the secondary brain changes that are associated with chronic pain.  

Standard treatment includes: 

  • desensitisation, 

  • contrast baths (ice-cold vs hot-warm water immersion), 

  • hydrotherapy, 

  • graded exercise/ strengthening, 

  • gradual increase in weight loading of the limb, 

  • sensory re-education/exposure therapy (placing limb in sand, use of tactile gloves and texture boxes) and 

  • oedema control (compressive garments).

  • The patient must move, exercise and reintegrate the limb into normal everyday activity.

  • Graded motor imagery has evidence supporting its use.‘brain retraining’ with left– right (laterality) discrimination training (photographs and mobile apps to identify limb side, improving accuracy and speed of response), proceeding to imagined and then mirrored movements.

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