Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)

CRPSCRPS or RSD are terms commonly used to describe severe pain and burning in an upper or lower limb or body part following an injury.

It starts with a burning pain and stiffness in an arm or leg at the site of an injury, but then extends beyond the original injury. The pain is out of proportion to the injury.

The injury can be the result of something minor such as a sprain or small laceration or after major trauma, surgery, crush injuries, fractures, pressure on a nerve, and radiation therapy.

The Cause

Research done and published in the Japanese Journal of Clinical Medicine* shows this pain to result from injuries to the nervous system.

With RDS or CRPS, these nerve injuries many change the way nerve impulses are sent, causing a “short circuit”.

When the sheathing of the nerve cells are damaged or degenerate due to the injury, the signals being transmitted are scrambled, resulting in your body receiving signals that are interpreted as numbness, heat, cold, tingling, pain, etc.

This is similar to an electrical wire that is covered with insulation and the insulation is beginning to crumble. Without insulation, the unprotected wire will start short-circuiting.

RSD shows up as one or more of the following symptoms:

Burning pain in the limbs

Feeling of cold, burning or pain in the hands, feet or legs

Extreme sensitivity to touch, even a light touch

The pain is often worse at night.

Can these nerves become healthy again? *

It has been known for some time that increased levels of Thiamine (vitamin B1) in the blood stream are very effective in building healthy nerves. Unfortunately, the oral intake of vitamin B1 does not greatly increase the levels of B1 in the blood stream.

Previously, the way that blood stream levels of B1 were increased was through periodic intravenous feeding or through injections every few weeks.

The reason that injections have to be used is that thiamine (sometimes spelled Thiamine) like all the B vitamins, is water-soluble. Thiamine cannot be stored in the body and flushes out within 4 to 5 hours.

Oral intake of Thiamine over 5 mg. results in greatly reduced absorbability, and is flushed right out of the body (this is why urine frequently turns yellow when taking larger dosage of B vitamins).

Additionally, thy symptoms have been found to be made worse by insufficient amounts of B12 in the body.

Vitamin B12 supports the sheathing that protects nerve cells and has shown in studies to promote the regeneration and growth of nerve cells.

In the past, it has been difficult to remedy the B12 deficiency. The reason for this is that, while vitamin B12 is readily stored by the body, it is not readily absorbed by the body.

For this reason much larger amounts have been used in supplementation, but even large oral dosages have not been an adequate solution.

The most common type of vitamin B12 used in supplements is called Cyanocobalamin. Taking Cyanocobalamin can result in absorption of as little as 1/2 of 1% of the amount taken, which makes it almost impossible to get enough of this vitally important vitamin.

In addition, to the very low absorption, the body must convert the Cyanocobalamin (which cannot be used by the body) to a form of vitamin B12 the body can use called Methylcobalamin.

Unfortunately, as the body gets older, it loses this ability to convert Cyanocobalamin to Methylcobalamin.

For the above reasons, as people get older, many physicians recommend regular monthly injections of vitamins B12 to maintain adequate body levels or to replenish greatly depleted stores of this vital nutrient.

A Remedy for this Problem

You might have heard of the new type of vitamin B1 being produced, called Benfotiamine. It is a fat-soluble version of vitamin B1. What does this mean? It means this new form of vitamin B1 can be taken orally in large dosages and it will not flush out of the body the way ordinary Thiamine (vitamin B1) does.

The result is that by taking Benfotiamine the blood stream levels of vitamin B1 can now be greatly increased, nutritionally supporting the body to build healthy nerves.

Also available is Methylcobalamine (called Methyl B12). This is the form of vitamin B12 that can be directly utilized by the body and is available in the quantities nutritionally needed by the body. Methyl B12 can be taken orally and is immediately available to the body much like injectible vitamin B12.

Where can I find these supplements?


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We always recommend building health, and nerves are no different.

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*Studies & Research on Nerve Health

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Neuropathy Information Hub

*Japanese Journal of Clinical Medicine 2001 Sept 59(9): 1655-62 Pathogenesis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), Mashimo, T. Department of Anesthesiology and Acute Critical Medicine, Osaka University Medical School

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