Resources — Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Elliot Krane: “The mystery of chronic pain.”   Dr. Krane is a pediatrician and anesthesiologist who treats children with complex pain problems.   In this TED talk, he tells the story of one patient who suffered from CRPS after spraining her wrist, and how he helped her to recovery.

Dr. Krane gives of my favorite pain quotes of all time:

“It’s almost as if somebody came into your home and rewired your walls so that the next time you turned on the light switch, the toilet flushed three doors down… it sounds crazy, but that’s what happens, and that’s why chronic pain becomes its own disease.”


CBC News segment “Dealing with Pain.”  Highlights the story of Anais Porier, a young Canadian who suffered with CRPS for months before finally getting help.


Pain Maps: Really great site run by Jessica Mendes, a writer living with fibromyalgia and CRPS.  Awesome collection of links to very informative resources.


Graded Motor Imagery. If you have CRPS, you really need to check out this approach to therapy.

Pioneered by pain science heavyweights such as David Butler and Lorimer Moseley, graded motor therapy is

“…a rehabilitation process used to treat pain and movement problems related to altered nervous systems by exercising the brain in measured and monitored steps which increase in difficulty as progress is made” (

Rigel Johnson, DPT, gives a great explanation for

“GMI as a treatment is focused on training the brain to re-connect to the body part affected by pain.  When you have CRPS in one part of your body, your brain “disowns” the body part, recognizing it as threat, instead of your hand or foot.  When your brain recognizes a threat to your survival, it produces pain to protect you.  It is an alarm system that goes off so you can treat the injured area.  However, in cases of CRPS, this alarm system is faulty… GMI is a series of steps to help the brain recognize the body part and reduce painful sensations.


Mirror Therapy.  One aspect of graded motor imagery involves the use of mirrors to trick the brain into thinking the affected limb is actually healthy.  David Butler gives a great explanation in this video.


Neuro Orthopaedic Institute.  This organization, headed by David Butler, offers a lot of great resources.  Check out The Graded Motor Imagery Handbook and Recognize Online, an online database of therapeutic exercises for CRPS sufferers.


The Invisible Warrior— great blog written by Kelly, a clinical social worker living with CRPS.  I highly recommend it, both for her insights on life as well as her apt explanations of the condition and its treatments.  She has a great resource section, and I’d definitely check out her guide to physical therapy for CRPS.


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