Thursday, December 22, 2011

CRPS, HPA axis, and a remarkable void in the science

I just went looking for scholarly articles linking chronic CRPS to the HPA axis damage that has been such a feature of my life. Though me, my cohorts and all my providers have been talking freely about this for years, there was nothing on PubMed and nothing of value in the Google search.

It's possible to chain together articles that make the point -- one on stress and adrenal function, one on stress and pituitary dysregulation, one on chronic neurogenic pain and hypothalamic oddness, one on constant pain as a causor of physiologic stress, and one on CRPS as a source of pain -- but academics get squirrelly when you make them link the logic. They don't want to think; it makes them feel exposed.

Nevertheless, me and my providers, me and my cohorts online, me and hundreds and thousands of people with chronic CRPS, have been taking it for granted all this time that there was a link -- because it is so bloody obvious that there is.

However, the studies don't exist.

The connection is obvious, but unwritten.

The data are sitting there, waiting to be captured.

The study subjects are right there for the recruiting.

It's like the topic is standing there with its pants down and its pockets full. An easy target -- and a rich one!

This is ridiculously obvious, and you know that all the subsequent work on CRPS and anything related to the adrenals, hypothalamus and pituitary would have to quote whoever documented it. Tenure, much?

Who wants to find the funding and put together a team? I would be happy to help. If I had the MD and the university contacts, I'd already be making calls. Please, whatever I can do to help, just let me know. Make it happen.


  1. You've put together a fantastic post here. CRPS can be a devastating condition, but there's very little awareness of it amongst the general public. This blog post is a step in the right direction toward changing that.

    Please do keep up the good work.

    Best wishes, Alex.

    1. Thank you, I intend to...

      Speaking of awareness, did you know that 500 mg of Vitamin C daily, one month before and 3 months after surgery, can reduce the incidence of postsurgical CRPS by up to 88%? The evidence has finally gotten overwhelming.

      This article gives a good lowdown, though they only tested for 50 days. Pre AND post medication regime has evolved since then:

      Spread the word. Cheers :)

  2. Very interesting. I was originally diagnosed with CRPS. It's now thought to be M.S. instead. Over the last several years, my adrenals also failed. The medicos treat the adrenal failure, the "M.S." and my other problems as separate entities, but of course it only makes sense to me that they aren't separate issues. The narrow-minded compartmentalization of the medical establishment...

    1. Co-morbidities are common with CRPS; MS is one of the companion illnesses. Not that it matters in practical terms, but you may have both. Lucky you! :P

      Our bodies never got the memo that they consist of separate, distinct systems. As far as they're concerned, each body is one interrelated, inextricably interconnected organism, engaged in an interdependent, interrelated dance with other organisms.

      You'd think that would be obvious.

  3. I have been reading up on HPA since this reading this great post, and thought of you today when I read this since I noticed enormous changes in my CNS during and after menopause, then got RSD at 59:
    It isn't just about the influence of estrogen and mood, but also about the CNS.

    1. Good article. The study sounds excellent -- I'd love to get my hands on it, but my access to Chinese science is sadly limited.

      Wonderfully straight-faced forehead-smacker: "The authors believe that hormones do not exert an absolute and singular effect on the body. They regulate physical and psychological changes in numerous dimensions." Ya think? :)

  4. Katelyn BradwellMay 2, 2012 at 6:03 AM

    Oddly enough, as you were writing this, the first study ever on the HPA axis and CRPS was being submitted for publication. It was just accepted in March 2012. You do need to purchase the article to read it.

    1. Wow, that's almost too exciting for words ... Interesting that this science is coming out of South Korea, done jointly by the army and the integrative medicine department at a medical university. Makes perfect sense.

      When I have $31.50 that isn't booked for food, bills or transit, I'll grab me a copy and quote it responsibly.

    2. I can help you out, but I am having trouble locating your email or contact info on your blogs. I also have RSDS/CRPS/TheDevilHimself. If you point me in the right direction, I can get the article to you to review. It isn't a perfect study, but it is a damn fine start.

    3. I don't know why it took so long for Gmail to notify me of your reply, but for that article, I'll take my Internet security in both hands and let you know that, if you put the word "problem" in front of the word "childe" (no spaces) and send it through Gmail servers, it would get to me.

      That would be tremendous, Katelyn. I hope you can still do it. It would be worth another blog post and specific thanks!


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