November is CRPS Awareness Month. It may be that awareness is already building in the hospital emergency rooms in the U.S.
Two men, committed to promoting the CRPS awareness and treatment, spent last week at the American College of Emergency Physicians meeting in Boston and came away believing their work is paying off.
There were two messages they wanted to deliver
- Understand that CRPS is Real
- Ketamine injections may help in treating CRPS
“It was 1000% better than we expected,” said Jim Broatch, who runs RSDSA which is the nation’s leading CRPS non-profit. “We were meeting emergency room doctors and were pleased to see that the awareness is dramatically improving.”
The “we” that Broatch refers to includes Louisiana physician Dr. Billy Alexander, a former ER doctor who has become a leading voice in CRPS awareness since his college age daughter, an athlete, was injured and developed CRPS.
Alexander said that there is more talk about using ketamine in the emergency room for CRPS patients and other chronic pain patients who are experiencing acute flares.
This is the second year that Broatch and Dr. Alexander have attended this meeting. Progress is being made.
“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.”
For Dr. Alexander, the progress in awareness is positive. Some of the ER physicians shared that they are actually gathering data to document the use of ketamine in treating CRPS and other chronic pain issues.
Some of the awareness work must still be done by the patient, particularly in emergency rooms where there most likely is no prior relationship with the physician.
Chronic pain advocate Gracie Gean Bagosy has advice for CRPS sufferers.
“I recommend everyone with CRPS keep copies of the RSDSA CRPS ER Protocol and Hospital Protocol with them at all times. I keep copies in my purse,” she said. “These documents contain an easy to understand explanation of what CRPS is along with instructions on how you should be cared for. Be sure that your loved ones know where these documents are in the event of an emergency as well.”
For Dr. Alexander, who believes ketamine should be used more broadly to help the CRPS patient, he says the patient has a job after leaving the ER.
“If they do get the treatment and it helps, by all means write the hospital and let them know,” Dr. Alexander urged. “That can help accelerate adoption.”
Speaking of awareness, the RSDSA is doing quite a bit this month. One is the virtual walk it is promoting for CRPS sufferers, their friends and families. For more on that click here.