Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a nerve disorder that usually occurs after an injury or period of immobilisation. The principal symptom is pain ? it is a debilitating and disabling inflammatory condition. CRPS can strike anyone at any age and affects both men and women. Very little is known or understood about CRPS and there is no cure! One of our employees has CRPS which is why Auto-Mech Cheddar Ltd supports this charity and is one of the Patrons of CRPS-UK.

Here’s their story
June 2013

I work in the office at Auto-Mech?
Prior to this I was in the nursing profession for 26 years. In 2006 I worked as a Community Nurse in our local area following an accident at work which resulted in me developing CRPS in my right arm. I tried to alleviate the pain by having 2 operations which sadly didn?t help. So I was unable to continue my nursing career. I had just recently completed my First Class Hons Degree.

?I lost a career I loved?

It took two years for my CRPS to be diagnosed and four years for treatment to commence at Bath Hospital (who specialises in CRPS), with this drawn out length of time before getting diagnosed and any treatment. This led to my CRPS getting worse.

I may look healthy and no different from everyone else, but I suffer from severe, unrelenting, burning nerve pain. My skin may swell, change colour or temperature and hurt to the slightest touch. Often it is difficult for me to sleep which affects my concentration, or my medicated drug levels have the same effect. Making my words become muddled up and therefore, I panic on the telephone or face to face contact.

?I am unable to simply clap or shake hands anymore?

Chronic pain often leads to depression. Stress increases the pain.

?I have good days or bad days even hours?

I have always been an active person, yet when my CRPS became severe, I barely struggle to do any sort of activity, including dancing with my husband. The loss of independence and being unable to do the things that I loved, I was unable to drive, do basic things like open a jar, anything that required the use of my right hand/arm.

Swimming was another, as I am unable to get up and down the pool ladder, unable to shop on my own due to driving, or pushing a trolley/basket & carrying items, it is difficult for me to open my purse & get loose change out, making shop assistants impatient with me, leaving me embarrassed.

I hate crowds as people may bump into me and causing pain, my arm feels heavy so I place it in my pocket or rest it on my handbag, my CRPS makes my balance off centre and so unable to walk in a straight line therefore, continuously bump the person on my left hand side.

?This in all, lead me into a severe depression?
?I hit rock bottom?
?I didn?t want to leave the house?

I realised I needed help, which I sought from my GP and Bath Hospital which led to a two week in-patient programme. My husband was a great support which led me to work flexible hours at Auto-Mech Cheddar Ltd, this has made me feel that I have a purpose in life again.
For more information visit the charity website on the link – CRPS UK