Following a well known Danish study* reported in 2014, it was proposed that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) may be initiated by a compartment-like syndrome. The theory is that swelling caused by trauma compresses microvessels in the tissues, thereby restricting the blood supply to those tissues. When the blood supply returns, damage is caused to these microvessels resulting in a permanent restriction in tissue oxygenation.
Now, in an interesting clinical trial underway at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam, researchers are assessing tissue oxygenation, skin temperature variation and pain in the extremities of those suffering CRPS 1 and Neuropathic Pain as compared to healthy volunteers.
If, as seems possible on the basis of the Danish study, there is a correlation between levels of tissue oxygenation and CRPS / Neuropathic Pain, how might this knowledge be of benefit to sufferers?
That remains to be seen. However, in an earlier article, we considered how in Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), body tissues are supersaturated with oxygen. The results of this were highly variable in terms of reduction in swelling and reported levels of pain relief. However, a few patients did report some long term benefit.
On a practical level, however, even if your pain specialist is sympathetic to HBOT, both the availability of facilities and the cost remain significant barriers for most people.
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