Pain syndrome an excruciating condition

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KING5com, originally uploaded by rsdscrpsnews.

Pain syndrome an excruciating condition

02:55 PM PDT on Thursday, October 12, 2006

JEAN ENERSEN / KING 5 News

Eleven-year-old Rachel Heisler loves to watch her brother race, especially now that he has a ribbon honoring her race against pain right on his car.

“She would sit in the stands and cry it hurt so bad, but she had to go see him race,” said Rachel’s mom, Marilyn.

Rachel suffers from complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS. She was diagnosed after a minor foot injury during gymnastics triggered agonizing, non-stop pain. Now, nearly any vibration at all can bring her to tears.

“The microwave beeping, the phone ringing … so everyday noise would make it worse,” said Marilyn.

Dr. Robert Schwartzman, an expert in CRPS, says the chronic pain ailment can be brought on by even the slightest injury to nerves or nerve endings.

“It starts with severe pain out of proportion to what the injury is. So, you twist your ankle. Then, all of a sudden, it starts to swell more than it should,” he said.

He says the pain can spread throughout the body and is virtually unbearable.

“I don’t think there’s any pain in medicine that’s worse than this. You can’t be touched,” he says.

While there’s no cure, Dr Schwartzman says pain medications and some treatments do show some benefits, but early diagnosis is critical.

“If it got caught early and people understood this, I think we could dramatically stop its devastation,” he said.

Rachel gets a lot of support from her family. She’s improving and is trying chiropractic care. She can get around without her walker now, and has big plans for the future.

“I want to go back in gymnastics, have no pain, and go back to school!” she said.

New research shows that some people may be genetically predisposed to CRPS, which would explain why some people get it while others don’t.

The National Institutes of Health is funding several studies in hopes of better understanding the disease and to find a treatment.

Click Here For The Original Story Online

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