Victims of CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, often needlessly suffer for years in silence. Even post-diagnosis, those who suffer from this debilitating disease are often unable to afford the costly treatments that are available to them. After medical malpractice, or an accident, victims often find themselves out of work and the bills pile up. Medical expenses, rent or mortgage, household bills, and childcare are just some of the financial burdens those who can no longer return to normal life experience after they develop CRPS. CRPS is not only painful physically, but emotionally and financially.
In our third and final installment on our CRPS article series, we’ll take you behind both doctor and attorney’s office doors and give you all the information you need to know about treating this debilitating, chronically painful condition. We’ll also tell you everything you need to know about letters of protection that can assist victims represented by a personal injury attorney in seeking the medical treatment they couldn’t have otherwise afforded.
Here on the Shaked Law Blog we provide the facts and expose what the insurance companies are trying to hide from accident victims!
Your attorney can be your most trusted guide on the road to pain relief
After being diagnosed with CRPS, be it due to medical malpractice or an accident caused by another, retaining legal counsel to obtain compensation can ease the financial struggle those afflicted with this disease face; sometimes longterm or even for the rest of their lives.
It’s easy to think to oneself why do I need an attorney to represent me after being diagnosed with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
The answer to that line of questioning is a simple one: an experienced attorney has your best interest at heart. Rushing you out the door to bring the next client into the office is not a mark of an attorney with empathy or good moral standing, and a board certified civil trial attorney will never treat their clients as a number! Your board certified civil trial attorney will truly understand your situation and have compassion for your circumstances. Being board certified will hold your attorney to the highest standard in their chosen specialty.
Just because a lawyer has tried similar cases, this should not make them immune to your pain and suffering! If anything, attorney with prior experience will have insight into how drastic a lifelong disease such as CRPS can actually be. A lawyer who has their client’s best interests will fight the insurance company for what they deserve, and never let the client get taken advantage of. Insurance companies all play the same game: “pay as little as possible”, while accident victims are paying the price with their life!
Most importantly to note: when victims retain experienced counsel, they will know the process by which to allow for them to receive the medical treatment they need before a settlement is reached. This process is known as issuing an “LOP” or Letter of Protection.
Let’s define Letter of Protection before moving forward:
- A letter of protection within the scope of personal injury law is defined as a letter sent to a medical professional (physician, surgeon) by a board certified personal injury attorney on behalf of their injured client. This letter will guarantee payment for all medical treatment from future compensation obtained in a settlement.
Now that we’ve defined the term, what can it actually do for an accident victim? The answer, again, is a simple one: This letter allows a client represented by a personal injury attorney to receive medical care before a settlement in a court of law is reached. This is beneficial to victims and allows them to begin the long road to recovery during the lengthy claims process.
Treatment for CRPS is available to accident, malpractice victims
So, what treatment exactly, is available to those suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome? There are several treatment methods available to those suffering from CRPS. While the insurance company doesn’t want victims to know this, their attorney will ensure that they get the treatment they rightfully deserve. Each case of CRPS differs and no two are exactly alike. For this reason, it’s important to seek the professional medical advice of a licensed neurologist when considering your options.
Medications to relieve some of the pain caused by CRPS are available. While only a doctor can prescribe the medication that’s right for you, let’s look at a few of those currently available that are known to provide pain relief for CRPS:
- NSAIDs: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are known to treat moderate amounts of pain. Most NSAIDs (without codeine) are available over the counter and should be taken according to the instructions printed on the bottle. Some name brand NSAIDs are Excedrin, Motrin, and Advil. Prescription only NSAIDs such as Celebrex, Voltaren-XR, and Ketorolac are much stronger and should be used with caution due to their GI-related side effects. As with all NSAID usage, a doctor should closely monitor liver function for those treating CRPS pain longterm with these medications.
- Anti-seizure medications: While these drugs used to be strictly for the treatment of epilepsy, research now shows that they can effectively provide some relief for those suffering from lifelong, chronic CRPS. Lyrica, Elavil, Pamelor, and Cymbalta are several of the anti-seizure medications that may be recommended by a neurologist in specific cases of CRPS.
- Opioids: Morphine, Hydrocodone, and Fentanyl are commonly prescribed opioids for severe, unrelenting pain. These drugs are highly addictive and a physician must monitor any patient prescribed these drugs closely as they can pose severe, longterm side effects. Many physicians are reluctant to prescribe these drugs as a first-line treatment for pain, and other options often need be exhausted before a patient is said to be a candidate for such strong pain medication.
- Other treatments in the form of prescription medications are creams, lidocaine patches, and the previously mentioned Voltaren, which can be dispensed as a topical lotion.
This little known treatment for CRPS may be one of the most effective while causing nearly no side-effects at all! Those suffering from the pain of something as severe as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome may find themselves also suffering from high anxiety, depression, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). These are common co-morbidities of chronic, severe pain conditions.
Treating these side effects through effective psychotherapy techniques such as meditation, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy that can attempt to retrain the brain’s line of thinking away from pain, and hypnosis are all forms of psychotherapy that patients may find helpful. As previously stated, every case of CRPS is different and not every patient will benefit from every treatment.
Last but not least, this treatment may be the most effective for those suffering severe pain. A physical therapist with experience in nerve injuries will be able to assist an accident victim in keeping the painful extremity moving and active, so that the muscle surrounding it doesn’t atrophy. A physical therapist-monitored exercise plan can vastly improve quality of life for victims of CRPS.
However, many patients aren’t granted the pain relief physical therapy (or any of the previously mentioned treatments) can give them due to insurance disputes and the expense of paying out of pocket skyrocketing. An LOP obtained on a victim’s behalf by their attorney can be the beginning of the road to recovery!
Medical research is ongoing, shining a better light on CRPS treatment every day
There is extensive research being done on less conventional treatments for CRPS as well, and with time the medical profession has the hope that they will offer patients more relief for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome than what’s currently available.
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