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I fractured and dislocated my left wrist on December 5th,2016.  In the emergency room my BP went down to 60/30, clearly I was in shock.  My wrist was reset under Propofol, and I woke up casted.  That night my forearm and hand swoll up and the pain was as excruiating as the original fracture.  At this point I should tell you that I am white, female, and 54, with mild spina bifida, (non union at the L4 and L5).  Apparently, these are all predisposing factors to CRPS.  I returned to emerg, they cut the cast and the Orthopedic sugeon prescribed morphine 1mg, up to 3 tabs for pain, Naprosyn for the inflammation.  I thought that would be that.  I have never broken a bone before, so I didn't know what to expect.  I was in exteme pain.  I continued to use the max pain medication around the clock.  I had my arm elevated to shoulder height 24/7.  I was icing the cast for hours at a time.  The swelling continued, and I kept asking for refills of the pain medications.  The orthopedic surgeon never twigged on CRPS, and he never treated me for it.  Three cast changes for pain, x-rays at each visit.  I went to him a week after the the cast finally came off.  I said, I am still in pain, I'm so swollen, I can't move my fingers or wrist.  I was told to give it time and see him in 6 months, if I needed to.

I was desparate, I went to my GP and he diagnosed CRPS and prescribed Amitriptiline 1mg at bedtime.  I was hesitant, how could an antidepressant relive the swelling and pain, and sensitivity?  Actually it did ease some of the ache, but the relief was short term, so I increased the dose to twice a day.  The pain and swelling was still bad I started taking over the counter Codiene for the pain.  I then took myself to a different hospital for a second opinion.  A doctor their confirmed that it was CRPS.  She prescribed Lyrica three times a day for the pain, and agreed with my increase in Amyiriptiline.   To decrease the sensitivity to my arm and hand, I used a silky textured long elegant glove.  It works.  The glove reduces the swelling because its has lycra in the glove and the silky allows  me to touch and massage my forearm, wrist and fingers.  Why don't they make a TEDS for arms, like they do for legs?  The Lyrica is a miracle, most of the pain is gone.  My muscles feel like they go into spasm as an over reaction to activity.  I am still swollen and movement is stiff.  I push myself continuosly to rotate and flex and extend my wrist, and stretch and squeeze my fingers.  If I do too much my hand tendons tell me the next day or hours after activity.  I think I need to be on Cortisone and Fosimax to help reduce the swelling and prevent further bone loss.  This is going to be a long recovery, and it seems that most Dr's don't really know what or how to treat CRPS.

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  • Posted

    Hello Erika,

    Your healing story and fracture was quite a journey. The ups and downs of healing can sometimes take all our resolve and strength .Especially swelling can cause nerve and joint pain for months. Im sorry you have been diagnosed with CRPS. 

    Im not sure why PT was not recommended. The pain sounds like nerve pain if Lyrica and diagnosis CRPS.take it slow and nerve pain is tricky to manage. Chronic pain can be difficult I hope that you will get thru this , heal and get better soon.

    Lyrica is a good choice for CRPS as nerve pain is difficult to treat in my experience.

    Wishing you to to do well,thru this journey and that you are given all that you need to sustain you thru. this journey.

    Keep posting to keep us informed and share your healing journey.



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  • Posted

    Your journey through all this is so typical and makes me so angry. You don't say what country you live in but most countries are all the same. Doctors do not want to treat pain appropriately for fear of losing their license. The first doctor under medicated you so horribly. You should never have been in that much pain. Hell, I have lower back pain and I regularly take 15 mg three times a day. Now I know that you don't want to become dependent on the drugs like I am. I have been taking mine for many years and have no other option. But as you can still see, 1 mg is like baby asprin to someone with the kind of pain you were in.Shame on that doctor. Lyrica is a pregabapintin. It does a great job for a lot of people in controling pain and it is non addictive. But please be sure to look up the medicine so you know all the ins and outs of it. I've never taken it but I've read other people's posts where they've said how horrible a drug it was. And I can't remember now what exactly their complaints were. But I do think it is not something you can just stop all at once so don't do that either without talking to your doctor. Good luck on the future. I've heard that CRPS is just awfully painful. BTW if you are on facebook there is a great site for people with that disorder. You might want to look that up.

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  • Posted

    Hi Erika

    Sorry to hear of your problems.

    I have broken many wrists, ankles and legs over the year, so I'm gonna sound a bit geeky and also guessing bits.

    I am surprised at how much pain you have had with the wrist, swelling is quiet normal after a cast has been put on.

    I'm slightly guessing what you broke but might be wrong so forgive me if I am, but if it is please seek and ask there opinion again.

    A common problem from a broken wrist if you have a (distal radius fracture) is pain after the fracture has healed. The distal radius is commonly broken because it bears most 70-80 of the force when falling on an outstretched arm. This is why more people break this bone (radius) instead of the other bone in the forearm. However, although the fracture occurs at the “thumb side” of the wrist, there is a ligament complex located on the opposite side of the wrist called the triangular fibro cartilage complex that can be injured. Additionally, the distal radius bone can heal shorter than it once was which will ultimately produce more force though the articular disc and TFCC creating more pain and swelling, have you see a physio, if I am correct in the above you need to be doing different exercises, both my wrists now have pins in them both because of this problem, but mostly I think because I have broken it so many times, I used to do motorcross for 18 yrs so had many many accidents.

    You said you were given 1 mg of amertriptilin, is that a typo perhaps you are on 10 or 100mg??

    Can I ask how they. Came to the conclusion of CRPS.? Have you had additional X-rays and any MRI.??

    Can I ask where you live, treatments differ, I have only heard of 1 thing that has helped with CRPS before as it's really tricky and time consuming.

    Also what are all the meds your taking and dosages and how many a day.



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  • Posted

    Ohhh and sorry the biggest issues most people have with lyrica ( also known as pregablin) I was on 300mg 3 x a day, for about 8 months and I put on massive amount of weight. So be very careful on this one and I have read so many people say that.
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