The Biological Side Of CRPS!!

Well I’m back from taking a couple of days away and celebrating yet another birthday yesterday. Truth be told it was a great day. I woke up to my oldest daughter running into my bedroom and wishing or should I say singing to me happy birthday! A great start to the day. The rest of the day was pretty low key with no big plans. My wife made a great meal for me including cupcakes made with beets, that the kids wanted to help decorate. Now if you haven’t tried a cupcake made with beets I highly recommend that you do! The best part of my day though was that my pain decided to take a break and ease off a bit!!

In my last post I started talking about some of the biological research that is being done and the results of what they are finding. I’ll try to explain things the best that I can! As you may or may not know our nervous system is made up of the Parasympathetic system which is responsible for relaxation, and the Sympathetic system which is responsible for the flight/flight response. These systems work together trying to keep our bodies in balance. Typically our bodies are balanced however when it gets thrown out of balance a few things can happen. The way you feel, sense. and think all become different. As a result what happens is that a person either has a high level of sympathetic activity which puts them in a state of hyper arousal, or a high level of parasympathetic activity which puts them in a state of low arousal. What does that mean?

A person who is suffering from hyper arousal often sees changes in hearing intensity, and has a faster heart rate. A person who is in a state of low arousal is often lethargic, is withdrawn, and numb. So when you look at our bodies with CRPS, it’s easy to see why our bodies get thrown off balance the way that they do.

When it comes to the brain of a person living with CRPS, there are a couple of areas that they are looking at. There is the amygdala, prefrontal cortex, and the insula. The amygdala is responsible for turning on the stress response and it becomes hypersensitive. The prefrontal cortex is thought to be resonsible or involved with fear conditioning and the retrieval of emotional memory. Finally is the Insula which is the meeting place for the right and left brain. The area where emotion and thoughts meet, and its biggest responsibility is to register pain. So what happens to a person dealing with CRPS and the chronic pain? The prefrontal cortex is suppose to communicate with the rest of the brain when stress is registered and tell it to calm down. It has the biggest influence on the amygdala and when under chronic stress losses the ability to talk to it, and can’t tell it to calm down. Even bigger though, is that the prefrontal cortex can’t tell the rest of the brain to calm down when a person is under chronic stress and therefore we can’t regulate our system when under stress.

So you can see the importance between each of these areas in the brain, and how they have to work together so that everything stays regulated within our system and keeps everything balanced. I’ve tried to do the best that I can in explaining all of this. For today I’ll stick to this and on another day I’ll get into all the chemicals that our body produces, which will help you understand the biological side of things even more with CRPS and chronic pain. I also want to thank my therapist who was responsible for giving me all of this information so that I can share it with all of you. They are the ones who do all the hard work in finding out all this information, and putting it all together.

Well for now it’s off for the weekend. I finally get to test out my camera that I just bought, so when I get back I’ll post some of the pictures I get. Until then!!

 

 

About Ross

My name is Ross and I want to welcome you to my site. I'm married to an amazing woman who is my best friend, and my soul mate all rolled up into one! I am the father of two very special girls who we adopted from China & Ethiopia. Together we make up one very multicultural family! In 2006 my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with CRPS/RSD. It was the start of a journey I never could have expected, and one that I couldn't fight without God. CRPS is a chronic pain disease and it started in my left hand. I lost mobility of my hand and started to experience pain unlike I ever could have imagined. Not to long after my left ankle became affected. I spent the better half of about a year not knowing what was going on in my body and traveling from doctor to doctor to find a diagnosis. As time went by I started learning more about CRPS and all its symptoms that it brings with it! As I started to learn more about CRPS I felt the growing need to share the information I was learning with others and to raise more awareness. As well I want this to be a place where we can connect and support one another. So I would encourage you to contact me if you want.
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