Common Hidden and Invisible Illnesses Explained – Please share to raise awareness

If you saw a person in a wheelchair or on crutches struggling to move, would you accuse them of milking it for attention? Not unless you were a truly malign, cold-hearted individual. If you saw a seemingly healthy person climbing out of a car that’s just been parked in a disabled parking spot, would you accost them and insist that they park elsewhere? Quite possibly, but before you do, it’s worth taking the time to consider whether that person actually does need the spot, even though they seem healthy.

There’s a little insight into the world of the hidden illness sufferer. Aside from the crippling physical pain they courageously endure on a daily basis, there’s also the frustration and torment of unsympathetic observers who take their exterior appearance at face value and believe that there’s nothing wrong. It doesn’t have to be a physical illness, either. Depression is also classified as a hidden illness, as it is a medical condition which might be highly concealed but has an enormously damaging impact on a person’s day-to-day life.

For people living with hidden illnesses, a basic degree of understanding and empathy from others is greatly appreciated. If you hear someone saying profusely that they’re feeling unwell, don’t just brush their words aside as the attention-seeking whines of a serial complainer. Ask them if there is anything you can do to make them feel a bit better. A person without a chronic illness just does not know the extent of the suffering of those with such illnesses.

This infographic from Burning Nights neatly summarises 10 of the most common hidden illnesses so that we can all obtain a small level of understanding. This include multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, depression, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Lyme disease, Lupus and CRPS. Maybe the next time we see a seemingly healthy person occupying a handicapped parking space, we won’t be so hasty in our judgement.

Common Hidden Illnesses Explained [Infographic]

What is CRPS and what can we do about it?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic long-term condition that causes sharp, burning pains for those suffering from it. It can affect both men and women of any age, although it is most commonly found in people between 30 and 55. Three out of four people with CRPS are likely to make a full recovery from the condition, but this still leaves 25% with a moderate or severe permanent disability.

CRPS can be caused by soft tissue injuries, fractures, sprains, stroke, heart problems or small nerve fibre injuries, and it is usually identifiable by signs such as prolonged burning pain, changes in skin texture, unusual sweating patterns and abnormal difficulties with muscle movement. It is a horrendously difficult condition to endure, with everyday tasks like getting dressed, taking a shower and cooking dinner all requiring a great deal of effort.


To find out more about CRPS, including ways in which the condition can be treated and advice on how to cope with it from one day to the next, take a look at this infographic from Burning Nights (http://www.burningnightscrps.org/).

What is CRPS and what can we do about it?
What is CRPS and what can we do about it?




Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Come over and tell your story


Complex Regional pain syndrome
Complex Regional pain syndrome
Welcome to the latest in our series of pain and pain management blogs.  To have a look at the previous stuff we have covered please go to http://patienttalk.org/?tag=pain-management.

Today we want to focus on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS. A little understood medical syndrome but one which, according to the Britain’s Royal College of Physicians, 12,500 or so people are diagnosed with each year in the UK.  For more information on this and other aspects of CRPS this article is worth reading http://www.rcplondon.ac.uk/sites/default/files/documents/complex-regional-pain-full-guideline.pdf.

The objective of this blog is to give people who have RCPS an opportunity to share their pain management story with other people with the condition and their caregivers.

One of the main issues is that the causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome are not yet fully understood but it often manifests after an injury.  The key issue is that the pain that results from the injury is much greater than the sufferer, typically, would expect.

The pain which is, for most, the key symptom, has been described as “(chronic) burning pain in one of their limbs”. Though in some cases it can be in more than one limb. I was told this was true in around 7% of cases.

While the condition often disappears a few days after the injury in some cases it can continue for months and years.  It is advised that patients receive treatment as soon as possible to improve long term outcomes.

So how is CRPS it treated?  Normally in three ways:-

a)      Medications – such as pain killers and anti-inflammatory.

b)      Physiotherapy

c)       Counselling to help the patient come to terms with the effects of pain

 

This is where you come in.

It would be great if you could share your CRPS story with our readers.  The following questions may be useful:-

 

1)      What do you think caused your CRPS?

2)      How would you describe the pain and other symptoms?

3)      How long did the symptoms last?

4)      How did you treat your CRPS and how effective were these treatments?

Please feel free to share anything you think may be of interest with our readers.  Any links to useful sites would be great.

Many thanks in advance.