Can CRPS get better?

A Word for the Newly Diagnosed:

If you’ve just learned you have CRPS, you’re likely feeling a whirlwind of emotions.

The relief of finally having a diagnosis can be overshadowed by the daunting stories you might find online. However, it’s crucial to realize that these stories don’t capture the entire CRPS experience. Many individuals, particularly those diagnosed and treated early, find relief, manage their symptoms, and lead fulfilling lives.

Let’s dispel myths, understand the latest research, and maintain optimism.

Chronic Doesn’t Mean Permanent:

When doctors refer to a condition as ‘chronic’, they are describing the duration of the condition, not its permanence. Specifically, ‘chronic’ means that the condition has been present for a prolonged period, often defined as more than three months.

However, just because CRPS is labeled as ‘chronic’ doesn’t mean the symptoms are set in stone or will last indefinitely. Many ‘chronic’ conditions can improve or even resolve completely over time.

Pain levels in CRPS can fluctuate, and achieving remission, where symptoms temporarily or permanently cease, is genuinely possible. Even if symptoms persist over the years, their severity and impact on daily life can lessen.

Importance of Early Treatment:

The sooner CRPS is diagnosed and treated, the better. Patients who begin their treatment journey within the first few months of the initial injury have a significantly higher likelihood of managing or resolving their symptoms.

Natural Resolution is Common:

Many patients with CRPS experience a natural decrease in symptoms. Notably, a 1998 study revealed that 26 of 30 patients with CRPS found symptom resolution within a year.

Long lasting CRPS

For people who have already had CRPS for years, the chances it will disappears completely are lower, but still possible. For example, a research study that followed 102 people who already had CRPS for a long time, found that:

  • 30% were later healed from the condition
  • 16% had a worsening of symptom
  • 54% had stable symptoms.

Even for people who have stable symptoms, it’s still possible to have periods of time where symptoms decrease. These statistics also don’t take into account the types of self-care people do for themselves.

The bottom line is that even with long lasting CRPS, good care can increase chances for improvement, and symptoms can get better even if the condition doesn’t completely disappear.

In summary

While CRPS is undeniably challenging, there’s a wide range of experiences and outcomes. By working with knowledgable and compassionate healthcare professionals, and focusing on early intervention and good self care, there’s real hope for a brighter future.