By Stephanie Stahl
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Imagine waking up to such debilitating pain that you cannot walk. It often goes undiagnosed and anyone can be a victim. 3 On Your Side Health Reporter Stephanie Stahl explores this mystery pain.
Alexandra Annaloro has excruciating and debilitating leg pain. It can get so bad her leg sometimes shakes uncontrollably. The 21-year-old says she can barely walk.
“There are days that I cry a lot. It’s hard,” said Alexandra. She has a chronic illness called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS. It can strike anyone, anywhere at any time.
“It can have very debilitating pain syndrome that doesn’t respond to any treatment plan,” said Dr. Sudhir Diwan, a Pain Management Specialist. He says CRPS can begin with something as simple a bump or a bruise. For Alexandra doctors believe it started with a car accident.
“Very mysterious,” said Dr. Diwan.
CRPS has no clear cause making it difficult to diagnose. What is known, it’s a disorder of the nervous system causing nerves to send constant pain signals to the brain.
“We call it sometimes cross talking of the nerves,” said Dr. Diwan.
It usually affects the arms and the legs causing burning, swelling and sensitivity to the simplest touch.
“I can’t eat. I can’t function,” said Daphne Cuebas, who also has CRPS. She says it forced her to quit her job and had her contemplating something far worse.
“I actually thought of ending my life. It came to the extreme,” said Daphne.
After 14 years of suffering, Daphne says the pain has subsided because of this surgically implanted internal pain pump, that delivers morphine directly to her knee.
“I’m going to be fine cause I’m a fighter,” said Daphne.
There is no cure for CRPS, but the pain can be managed most effectively if treatment starts early, with things like medication or physical therapy.