Below is an article describing the physical affect of RSD/CRPS on the brain. There is apparently a noticable physical change to the brain once one has come in contact with this monster we all have in common. We all know by experience though of this change in that none of us have been the same since exposure. Just about every part of our mental capacity has been effected in some way. I could possibly list a few, but I would most certainly miss some and not do the article justice. The writing mentions a picture or graphic, that I have removed to prevent any band-width issues, but by clicking the link at the top of the page you will be directed to the article in full with the graphic.
This article only echoes what we have learned to live with but it is refreshing to see research that starts to inform others of the problems associated with this life touched by RSD.
I hope this first of many breakthroughs that are revealed in the diagnosing treating of this malady we are learning and living with daily.
The article is found on the web site for CBC.ca and their web address is www.cbc.ca/news/
Brain is rewired in patients with chronic pain syndrome
The brains of people with a chronic pain condition look like an inept cable worker rewired areas related to emotion, pain perception and skin temperature, a brain imaging study suggests.
In Wednesday's issue of the journal Neuron, researchers reported using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to look for the differences in the brains of 22 normal subjects and 22 subjects with a chronic pain condition called complex region pain syndrome.
The brains of chronic pain patients showed changes in the brain's white matter, the cable-like network of fibres that deliver messages between neurons.
"This is the first evidence of brain abnormality in these patients," said the study's lead investigator, Vania Apkarian, a professor of physiology at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.
"People didn't believe these patients. This is the first proof that there is a biological underpinning for the condition."
The syndrome often begins with significant damage to a hand or foot. In five per cent of patients, the pain continues to rage long after the injury has healed. The cause is unknown.
Typical features include:
- Pain that radiates from the injury site, such as the hand, to the rest of the arm or even the whole body.
- Skin colour changing to blue or red, and skin temperatures that feel hotter at first and then colder as the condition becomes chronic.
- A hike in immune markers in the blood showing the immune system has shifted into overdrive.
The white matter changes are related to the duration and intensity of pain and anxiety that patients feel, Apkarian said.
**Dramatic improvements or remission are possible if treatment such as anti-inflammatories, physical therapy, sympathetic nerve blockers, electrical impulses applied to nerve endings, biofeedback and spinal cord simulation are used early, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The new anatomical findings could provide targets for potential drug treatments, the researchers said.
Aside from the white matter changes, the brains of people with CRPS also showed an atrophy of the neurons or grey matter that has been found in other types of chronic pain.**I highlighted this statement for the specific purpose of voicing a comment.
The remission mentioned is the opinion of some and continues to be elusive in most. While many of the reatments mentioned offer some relief, one must be careful to research ANY treatment that is invasive in nature. There is a procedure where a radio frequency laser is applied to the nerves central path that is to offer temporary pain relief. This relief is minimal at best and more times than not leaves the patient in worse shape after the fact.
The patient is likely to experince:
* More frequent flare ups
* More intense flare ups and overall pain
* And more difficulty controlling the pain at any levelThus making the procedure "iffy" at best.
Thanks and many blessings, gojogo.