Does medicine help?
Yes, medicine can help. Sometimes a combination of medicine is necessary. Several medicines are used to treat the pain of complex regional pain syndrome. Your doctor may suggest that you take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) to help with pain and inflammation. These medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen (brand names: Advil, Motrin) and naproxen (brand name: Aleve).
If your pain is severe, your doctor may prescribe medicines that block certain nerves. Sometimes steroids help swelling and pain. Some medicines used for depression and seizures also help chronic pain. Narcotics and other pain medicines may not control the pain of complex regional pain syndrome.
Are there other treatments?
Yes. Your doctor may suggest a sympathetic block. This is an injection of an anesthetic (pain reliever) into certain nerves to block the pain signals. If the injection works, it may be repeated.
Physical therapy and psychological counseling are also helpful. However, a treatment that works for one person may not work for another. An individual treatment plan must be made for each person.
Will the symptoms ever go away?
With early treatment, you may keep complex regional pain syndrome from getting worse. Sometimes the condition improves. If treatment is started early enough, the symptoms may completely go away. However, people who have more severe symptoms that have lasted for a long time often don't respond to treatment. These people may benefit from a pain management program aimed specifically at dealing with chronic pain.
Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff