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Living with complex regional pain syndrome: Understanding the battle
chapterposted on 29.01.2020, 00:00 authored by Colleen Johnston-DevinColleen Johnston-Devin, F Oprescu, M Gray
Living with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can be described as similar to living with any other chronic pain condition, but with extra complications. Many health professionals have never heard of the condition and it is even less known in the general community. There is a diversity of presentations, no objective medical test for diagnosis, and it remains a diagnosis of exclusion based on clinical signs and symptoms. The pathophysiology is not fully understood and there is no dedicated treatment. There are only low-quality data supporting any treatment approach. Although there is no known cure it may go into remission. It may also reappear. The condition may occur spontaneously. Although the mechanisms are not well understood, it can spread to other parts of the body. This chapter is based on a PhD study entitled "Battling Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A Phenomenological Study." The aim is to describe and discuss the meaning of living with CRPS. Using a heuristic hermeneutic phenomenological approach to investigate the phenomenon of living with CRPS, 17 patients and four health professionals from 6 different countries were interviewed. Textual material from internet blogs and a book containing patient stories were also included as data sources. As the first author has been diagnosed with the condition, she was interviewed as well. Serving multiple purposes, the interview transcript was used as data while allowing for explication of preunderstandings and assumptions. This is an important step in phenomenological research. Findings revealed that living with CRPS is a daily battle. Within the battle analogy, readers can recognise aspects of the themes and relate to them on some level. Within this battle, there are many smaller, but important, fights.