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  • Writer's pictureErin Miller, MBA

November is National Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Awareness Month

Did you know that November is National Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (CRPS) Awareness Month? Now you might ask what does that even mean, it’s quite a mouthful to even say!

CRPS is a rare, neuroinflammatory syndrome characterized by intense chronic pain, swelling, tropic changes, vascular changes, and functional impairment of the limb. It can become incredibly debilitating unless diagnosed early and treated appropriately. (RSDSA Supporting the CRPS Community, 2019)

While this is a rare condition it brings me back to the bigger topic of chronic pain. More and more individuals are affected with chronic pain conditions year after year. Chronic pain can be defined as pain you feel for longer than a 3-6 month or more period of time. According to SAMSHA, chronic pain affects over 60 million people worldwide.

Sometimes chronic pain can begin without any obvious cause. But for many people, it starts after an injury or because of a health condition. Some of the leading causes include (WEB MD, 2019):

- Past injuries or surgeries

- Back problems

- Migraines and other headaches

- Arthritis

- Nerve damage

- Infections

- Fibromyalgia, a condition in which people feel muscle pain throughout their bodies

Chronic pain can interfere with your daily life and tasks you used to be able to do with no problem. It may take a toll on your self-esteem and make you feel angry, depressed, anxious, and frustrated. Chronic pain can also result in mis-management and misusage of opioids or other pain medications which can result in addiction, overdose and even lead to death.

So how can we deal with chronic pain? Comprehensive and interdisciplinary approaches are the most effective way to treat pain according to SAMSHA (SAMHSA, 2019). In a perfect world this means that a patient experiencing chronic pain would see a primary care physician, pain specialist and a behavioral health specialist and a “team approach” would be taken to ensure that the patient is receiving the best and most comprehensive care possible.

The diagram shows how chronic pain interacts with the biological, psychological and social aspects of our lives and affects our quality of life. (SAMHSA, 2019)

Pain is closely related to depression and this is where we can help! Crossroads offers many different avenues where clients can receive services directly or indirectly relating to their chronic pain. Examples of services may include visiting with a mental health therapist about past history they experienced in the past that may be related to chronic pain, visiting with our psychiatrist and Psych RN to determine what is the best route of treatment may be or discussing with a counselor about substance abuse issues they may be worried about. Crossroads Behavioral Health Services offers a multidisciplinary team who focuses on holistic treatment plans devoted to your improved pain management and health. We also have experiences social workers who may be able to help you with social support services that may be causing additional stresses in your life. Don’t feel like you have to suffer alone, Crossroads is here to help you be the person you desire to be!

Call us today at 641-782-8457 to schedule an intake where professionals will talk with you about your concerns and goals. You are also able to walk in for services on Tuesdays & Wednesdays from 8AM-4PM at our Creston location.


RSDSA Supporting the CRPS Community. (2019, October 27). Definition of CRPS. Retrieved from RSDSA Supporting the CRPS Community:

SAMHSA. (2019, October 27). Emerging Best Practices in Chronic Pain Management. Retrieved from

WEB MD. (2019, October 27). What is Chronic Pain & What are the Symptoms? Retrieved from

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