Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and acupressure

A dramatic improvement showed following acupressure for complex regional pain syndrome is reflected in these images below:

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Three-phase bone scan: Before (A) and after (B) acupressure

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Three-phase bone scan: Before (A) and after (B) acupressure

This is not an x-ray, it is a bone scan. A radioactive substance injected into one of blood vessels shows an increased circulation to the joints in the affected area. And following a course of acupressure the bone scan looks almost normal!

Acupuncture should be even more effective way to manage this, however, most of the patients with CRPS find that they can not tolerate the needles in the affected area.

The open boxes show the patient’s VAS scores over time for the 7 mo before therapy. The closed box shows the rapid and sustained improvement in the months following BMT treatment. The patient’s pill usage decreased as the pain resolved with BMT treatment.

The open boxes show the patient’s VAS scores over time for the 7 mo before therapy. The closed box shows the rapid and sustained improvement in the months following BMT treatment. The patient’s pill usage decreased as the pain resolved with BMT treatment.

There are a few good ways around this:

  • According to acupuncture principles of treatment, we can treat the corresponding areas on a healthy limb on the other side. There was also some recent research supporting this theory.
  • We can use acupuncture points on the same meridian, but not on the affected area, which may also be more effective than acupressure.
  • Laser acupuncture is touchless!

Source: Anesth. Analg. February 1, 2007 104:453

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  • Mark Phillips

    I have a 14 y/o girl with advanced CRPS. She cannot tolerate the softest touch on most areas of her body and has been in a wheelchair for the last month. I can only use neck, head and ears areas for acupuncture. Moxa is agreeable to her. I am preparing a treatment plan and I am excited to see your information. Would you please email me if there is any advice you may wish to offer. Many thanks. Mark

  • Giles Watts

    Thanks for another article that I found really useful – expect a link at any time . . . if only my computer skills can improve!

    It is good to read evidence that bypasses the problematic of RCTs, and is rooted in the actual effects.

  • Giles Watts

    In reply to the above post –
    You could try using points that are either diagonally opposite or on the non affected side – e.g. needle SJ4 if GB40 too tender; or opposite GB40 if both feet are not affected. Eg2: If ST41 is too tender, the try LI11.

    This can be affective, or you could try metal water points if the fire points are too active (see Kiko Matsumoto’s book : CLinical Strategies Vol 1

  • Stephen

    Hi Mark,
    have you tried laser acupuncture. It works really well for the areas that are too sensitive to touch.