The first symptom I want to talk about is the pain. The pain can come in all sorts of ways. The easiest way to describe the pain would be to say it’s dull, sharp, sudden, gradual, etc. For me I try to relate my pain to something other people such as family or doctors could relate to. Most of the time I describe mine as being a pole sticking all the way through my ankle. It gives them something to visualize. (I might get into explaining the pain in a later post.) At the bottom of this page I’ll attach the pain scale that I use as well.
The next symptom that comes to mind is temperature. I have cold CRPS meaning my affected areas are cold 90% of the time. The easy thing would be to put on socks right? No. Cold CRPS can mean that your feet are a little chilly or in most cases mean your affected areas can be up to 20° colder than non-affected areas.
Another symptom I had for a few years was this numb type of feeling. It was always harder for me to explain because sometimes my leg would be numb and I couldn’t feel it and other times it would be hyper sensitive.
Allodynia aka hypersensitivity:
This symptom has been one that has stayed with me from the start. Before my DRG implant (I’ll get more into the DRG implant in next weeks post) I was either numb or hypersensitive. I was hypersensitive 90% of the time. This meant that I couldn’t get in a car because the vibrations would send me into a flare. Sometimes the wind outside or just the breeze or someone walking by would hurt my leg. Since my DRG I’m still hypersensitive but only to cold (ice packs, winter) and cars.
Another common symptom is color changes. My feet can turn red or purple. That’s when I know I’m going to have quite a bit of pain coming. But when my feet turn purple, it’s definitely a fun way to freak out your friends or family.
Here is my favorite pain scale to use. Many CRPS/RSD patients use scales that go to 15. no matter what the scale goes to, everyone I’ve talked to has agreed that the normal smiley face to frown face scale doesn’t work for chronic pain
My Pain Scale
Feel free to download this image and use it whenever you need to! I love it and when my doctors see it they think its a lot better than the normal smiley face scales.