Getting hurt can come in various different ways. However, unless we are to live in a plastic bubble (my husband and mother has been trying to design one for me- preorders anyone?) chances are good we will occasionally have a nick here or nudge there.
But, for patients with RSD/CRPS a simple cut is more than meets the eye. Much, much more. An injury to a part of the body can be cause for serious concern, for it can be a cause for spreading of the beast.
Recently, I had a little mishap and thought I had broken my left wrist. There was a twist. There was a pop. Then there was a pain. Just like when I broke my ankle four years ago and had the onset of RSD/CRPS. The cold weather had just settled into our university town, it was Friday at 4pm, and it was Homecoming weekend for the university.
Timing has always been my specialty.
I wanted to see if it would swell and turn colors first, but my much more practical husband called my doctor and got us in for an X-ray immediately. On campus. (Well, however quickly we could dodge the parade, football players, and endless fans bundled in shade of blue and white!).
Granted, I am in remission from the beast, but I have struggled with RSD/CRPS for four years now. I had previously been a full-body patients, bed-ridden, without the use of my arms or legs. A re-injury like that could mean lighting a fire underneath the beast and hearing him roar again from his cave. It was indeed a time for alarm.
Thankfully, there was no need for casts, splints, or resetting of the bone in my future.
It was just severely sprained. Yet, a sprain, or bruise, or even needle poke has been known to ignite and spread RSD/CRPS. We called my doctors. We called my specialist. We checked online. We read research. There is little known about the mechanisms of RSD/CRPS and even less known about the spread of the disease.
As for the wrist injury, I am four weeks out of the incident with no swelling, color changes, sensitivities, or unbearable pain. And thus, no onset of RSD/CRPS. I don’t think that this list is an all-said-all-done (a little animal auction speak for yall) process. It is not a cure. But, like all things, if it is just a little something to help, then we who have lived with the beast know to take it!
Please feel free to print this list out and tape it to the inside of the cabinet door. Until those orders of the plastic bubble are fulfilled (kidding…slightly) it will bound to come in handy.
- Do NOT Ice. Unless it is an absolute emergency, life-and-death situation keep that ice far from your injury.
- Elevate the Injury Above the Heart: it is important to keep the swelling (inflammation) down. This will help to limit the blood flow to the affected area.
- Go on a Vitamin C Regimen: This research study showed that Vitamin C can possibly help to reduce the risk of RSD/CRPS. It is a six week protocol.
- Follow an Anti-Inflammatory Diet: If there is any time to start, now is the time. Here is a list of the diet that I have followed
- Do NOT castrophize the situation: this creates the brain to become hyper-alarmed. The “que-sera sera” attitude is best in this scene. Breathe. Relax.
- Play King/Queen for the day: oh, yeah, that is right. In order to avoid #6, treat the day (and a few following) like a holiday. Watch a special movie, have a special dinner, listen to your favorite song. Anything to remind your body that it is okay.
- Turmeric (or the active ingredient- curcumin): This little supplement packs big punches. It is fabulous for the inflammatory system. My RSD/CRPS specialist insisted that I took it every day.
- Use your Flare-Up Regimen: Talk with your health care provider. I typically use my flare-up regimen in order to prevent extra pain signals for firing. This can include any ketamine-based products (cream, nasal sprays, ect.) to work on the NMDA receptors.
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