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Breakthrough in the Treatment of Pediatric CRPS

Katherine Jackman

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There are constant little breakthroughs and advancements in the medical community that are making things easier for people with difficult, complex conditions that have a significant impact on their day to day lives. This includes increases in funding for research and an expansion of resources to keep people with these conditions connected and able to access the information that they need.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, better known as CRPS, is a condition that can affect a person at any time because of the way it manifests. There’s no way of predicting the condition developing either.

Little is currently understood about the condition other than it seems to affect women more often than men and often occurs after an accident to some kind. The result is debilitating and varying levels of pain in the affected part of the body, usually a limb. Because the exact causes are unknown, this also means that treatment is limited. CRPS sufferers tend to receive a mix of treatments, including physical therapy and combinations of pain medication depending on the severity of the condition.

However, there are some cases where early cases might be treatable, specifically in cases of Paediatric Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Research from the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation suggested that Paediatric CRPS can be treated with something called Scrambler Therapy. Scrambler Therapy is a non-invasive procedure in which the scrambler interferes with the brain’s pain neuromatrix by providing ‘non-pain codes’ to send back to the brain and has been used to successfully treat a variety of chronic pain conditions. It was initially developed to treat pain in cancer patients and will be tested on Paediatric cases in further research to see if it will be successful on a wider scale and for a more specified condition.

Researchers have been able to identify when chronic pain receptors in the brain have been damaged and that those receptors created codes independent from the pain source. The brain continued to interpret those codes as pain signals back to the body, whereas the Scrambler Therapy was able to intercept those signals and send non-pain signals back to the brain instead. This has proven to be successful for various forms of neuropathic pain and has a lot of potential.

If this form of non-invasive therapy is successfully in cases of Paediatric CRPS, then it may become a viable form of treatment for adults with the condition. As stated previously, CRPS can manifest at any stage in your life and it’s vital that the treatments available are flexible enough to meet your needs and cover the stages of CRPS , helping you to get through your worst days and supporting you through the easier ones.

Scrambler Therapy is a hopeful new treatment that is non-invasive and requires no medication. If we see a breakthrough in treating Pediatric CRPS then it may not be long before people with CRPS can break away from the various kinds of treatment in favour of something more efficient, more effective, and painless form of CRPS treatment.


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