What is CRPS? Does Regenerative Medicine Have a Role?

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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CRPS

Is there a CRPS alternative treatment? CRPS means complex regional pain syndrome and it’s a nasty nerve disease that’s almost untreatable. Why? The best way to understand why is to conceptualize what CRPS is and how it works. Let’s say the speed of your car represents nerve pain. Most of us have a system to accelerate that pain in normal healing (the gas) and also a system to slow it down or stop it (the brakes). CRPS is what happens when the brakes are out and the accelerator is stuck in the “to the floor” position. In general, CRPS is such a problem, because we don’t know how to restore the brakes. I’ve blogged a few times about the positive effects of using nerve hydo-dissection on patients with chronic nerve injury. We’ve been a bit cautious about this procedure, as the common wisdom is that an injection can’t help nerves regenerate. We’re still not sure that’s what we’re seeing in select patients, but Dr. Hanson who has pioneered this technique has been steadily showing me patient after patient where there is significant improvement. Case in point this morning is a patient with a two year history of CRPS type 2 (nerve injury) caused by a surgery. She received an ultrasound guided nerve hydro-dissection procedure with Dr. Hanson in August of this year and we just received this e-mail:

“Dr Hanson-

Just wanted to let you know Nicole has begun to have some temperature sensations on the bottom of her foot. Last week, she said that she could feel the floor was cold. This is the first time since the surgery in 2010 that she has had this sensation. Also, her pain continues to be improved. She has gone from 600 mg neurontin per day to 450mg. She is going to try going down to 300mg. Nicole has also started running a little and is thrilled! So, all good news. We’ll see you in January. 

Merry Christmas to you and the Regennex team!”

So we are cautiously optimistic and will continue to monitor these patients.

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
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Shoulder

Shoulder

Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

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Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

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Knees

Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

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  • And more
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Lower Spine

Spine

Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • SI Joint Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Pinched Nerves and General Back Pain
  • And more
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Hand & Wrist

Hand and wrist injuries and arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and conditions relating to overuse of the thumb, are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
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Elbow

Elbow

Most injuries of the elbow’s tendons and ligaments, as well as arthritis, can be treated non-surgically with regenerative procedures.

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Hip

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Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

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Foot & Ankle

Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
  • Ankle Arthritis
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Ligament sprains or tears
  • Other conditions that cause pain
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