When I was in school, I remember being told that reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) was the modern term for causalgia, a condition first described by doctors during the Civil War.
Characteristics of CRPS
|Table 1: Skin Changes in the Area of CRPS*|
Sweatiness or moistness
Redness, white color, blue color
Increased temperature or decreased temperature
Increased hair growth or hair loss
*Not all changes are seen in all patients.
Vitamin C for CRPS: What Recent Research Suggests
The authors of a 2009 study1 called it a "quasi experiment" because it compared the outcomes of 392 patients in successive years who had foot and ankle surgeries. The first group (July 2002 - June 2003) numbered 177 patients; the second group (July 2003 - June 2004) included 215 patients. Patients in the second group only were given 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day for 46 consecutive days following their surgery. Study findings are shown in Table 2.
Based on these two studies, the simple addition of 500 mg of vitamin C a day for two months following extremity trauma appears to reduce of the incidence of CRPS by 80 percent. Whether you practice nutrition or not, anytime you have a patient who has a upper or lower limb injury requiring casting or surgical repair, remind them to take some extra vitamin C. Not only will it help healing by its well-recognized effect on collagen formation and free-radical reduction, but it also just may prevent CRPS. And as anyone who has had a CRPS patient will tell you, the best treatment is prevention.
- Besse JL, Gadeyne S, Galand-Desme S, et al. Effect of vitamin C on prevention of complex regional pain syndrome type 1 in foot and ankle surgery. Foot and Ankle Surgery, 2009;(15)179-182.
- Zollinger TE, Tuinebreijer WE, Breederveld RS, et al. Can vitamin C prevent complex regional pain syndrome in patients with wrist fractures? A randomized controlled multicenter dose-response study. J Bone Joint Surg (U.S.), 2007;(89):1424-1431.
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