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I was recently diagnosed with CRPS in my left wrist that has spread to the whole hand. I am left-handed so it is very disabling. This condition makes me very anxious. I don’t know what to expect, how to resolve this and deal with the situation. Any advice, insights would be much appreciated.
I went for an acupuncture treatment on January 20 for my frozen shoulder (left) and I asked the acupuncturist to do some points for anxiety. She put a needle too deep and it hit the ulnar nerve on the left wrist. I felt a sharp pain on the spot then it seemed to go away. At the time, I did not know what was going on and unfortunately did not ask her to remove the needle. She left it there for 30 minutes.
After leaving the clinic, I noticed that I had tingling sensations when I bent and extended my hand. I also had intermittent burning sensations on my wrist and sometimes forearm, intermittent numbness at the fingertips. Then, my wrist and the back of my hand started swelling and later my fingers. Now, I have trouble moving my wrist laterally, bending my hand forward and back and raising my fingers completely because I have contractures in the finger joints. My wrist, hand and fingers are very stiff but the silver lining is that most of the time, I don’t have pain.
For the 1st month after the injury, the doctors, who din’t know what was wrong, told me to wear a wrist brace which only made things worse. Finally, I saw a doctor who suspected CRPS and referred me to a physiatrist. Unfortunately, there were some delays. The first physiatrist I saw misdiagnosed me with tendinitis. I finally saw a competent physiatrist on March 28 who diagnosed me with CRPS and started me on Prednisone and Gabapentin. It helps somewhat with the inflammation but the contractures to my fingers continue to progress and I fear it’s a little late for that treatment to be effective and reverse the condition.
I had only one physiotherapy treatment so far which was too intense and worsened the condition. I am waiting to be seen in occupational therapy at the hospital, but it will be in a few weeks. They say it is more effective if you start treatment in the first 3 months after the injury. It’s been 11 weeks now. Do you think the physiotherapy could help reverse the condition even if started after 3 months? I do some exercises for my hand and contrast baths (hot/cold) at home. Any suggestions of exercises or other treatments you did or had that help decrease symptoms and increase function?
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