How to Treat Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy/Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, RSD/CRPS

A nutritional and lifestyle modification approach as an adjunctive therapy for the treatment of RSD/CRPS….clients report an “overall feeling of well-being.”

I am going to paint some broad strokes to provide a brief overview of some of the modalities that I utilize during a holistic health counseling session. The internet has provided us with the means to have information at our fingertips.

I provide support and guidance to those trying to find their way through what has become the somewhat murky waters of “what to eat.”

RSD/CRPSAn initial session usually lasts about 90 minutes, in which I talk with the client about what is going on in their life, what their life was like before the diagnosis of RSD/CRPS and what it is now. This conversation would fall under the category of “primary food.” Primary food is more than what is on your plate. Healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career and a spiritual practice can fill your soul and satisfy your hunger for life. When primary food is balanced and satiating, your life feeds you, making what you eat secondary.

Once “primary food” is addressed I move on to what clients are actually eating.

For instance, I strongly encourage everyone to move to an organic diet, one rich in nutrient-dense foods. It is very difficult for a person with a healthy immune system to handle the impact of all of the toxins, antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones in the conventional diet. A person with RSD/CRPS really cannot handle the toxic load that comes from eating the Standard American Diet or the SAD diet. Most grocery stores, even the big box stores, have an organic section. Or better yet, start your own little organic garden. It doesn’t have to be an acre, it could start out as a box garden or some herbs on the windowsill; keep it simple.

I strongly encourage the elimination of processed food, sugar and gluten.

RSD/CRPSI implement a plan called “crowding out.” If you fill your body with healthy, nutrient dense foods, it is only natural that cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen substantially. When you increase your intake of nutritious foods, such as dark leafy greens and healthy fats, your body will have less room for processed, sugary, nutrient-deficient foods. Once you start adding these healthy foods your body will naturally start to crave them. This helps you to avoid feeling deprived and before you know it you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, almost without effort. It becomes a lifestyle.

Hydration is very important.

We should be drinking half our body weight in ounces of water. We are 60% water. We need it for our bodies and organs to function properly. You might be surprised by the myriad of symptoms caused by dehydration.

Once we establish some good dietary habits I may introduce some high grade, high-quality vitamins, supplements, protein, and greens powder.

We also cover stress reduction and body movement.

We know that if your stress levels are high then your cortisol level is high which increases pain. There are many modalities for stress reduction, the trick is to find one that works for you and then do it. The same with moving your body. If you have RSD/CRPS you will most likely not be working out at the gym 5 days a week but how about some chair yoga or stretching?

My clients that have been able to slowly implement all the little steps and changes have said they have an “overall feeling of well-being.”

RSD/CRPSThey still have the RSD/CRPS pain but it is more manageable. Because they are hydrated, getting nutrient dense food into their bodies and cells, sleeping better and practicing stress reduction they are better able to handle the curve balls that life inevitably throws at us. Being more grounded and centered allows them to keep their cortisol levels down which decreases their pain.

Diet and lifestyle may not be the whole answer but it certainly is part of the equation.

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Autumn, the year’s last and loveliest smile. ~ William Cullen Bryant