Halfway through November—which is CRPS Awareness Month—people who are working for more understanding about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome think they are making progress.
“But there is an incredible amount of work still to do,” said Jim Broatch, the Executive Director of RSDSA for the past 15 years.
CRPS—which is also known as RSD— is a chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder. It is classified as a rare disorder by the United States Food and Drug Administration. However, up to 200,000 individuals experience this condition in the United States, alone, in any given year.
The theme of awareness this month is “Color the World Orange”—and there have been several events to promote CRPS. One of the most interesting is a virtual walk that will last until November 21st. (click here)
The two year education effort with the emergency room physicians appears to be working, according to Broatch. (Here’s a National Pain Report story on the efforts with the American College of Emergency Physicians)
“They’ve been reading articles and other information that we have provided,” said Broatch. “They are trying to get away from prescribing opioids in the ER, and ketamine is an alternative that makes sense to them since they use it in other settings, particularly involving injuries to children.”
Next target is the American Academy of Family Physicians.
“It makes sense since they see so many people who might have CRPS,” he said.
“We will bring one of the family physicians who knows CRPS to the meeting because doctors like to learn from each other.”
RSDSA will also be working to develop data that can lead to a standardized protocol about the use of IV Ketamine for intractable pain.
“In addition, we believe those efforts can lead to getting insurance coverage for the treatment,”’ he said.
There are still wide practice variations in how CRPS is identified and treated.
“We are still working to identify what is happening in practices and get researchers together,” said Broatch.
He also reminded us of the basic grass roots work that his organization and others are doing to educate doctors.
“Just recently, we were contacted by a woman in the Midwest who had a very troubling encounter with her hospital doctor who was dismissive of her and her symptoms and wrote the visit off as a drug-seeking patient,” said Broatch.
We communicated with the CEO of the hospital to both complain about the treatment the patient received (or didn’t receive) and to educate them about CRPS.
“It’s too bad that this still a part of what we have to do, but it is,” said Broatch.
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