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Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute

CRPS treatment

To initiate CRPS therapy, a health provider's order for occupational and physical therapy is required.

For more information or to make an appointment, call

Linda Zeien

Getting her life back

Imagine not being able to use your dominant hand. You can't work. You can't do household chores. You can't even hold your grandchildren.

That's what Linda Zeien's life was like after a fall in August 2010 left her with an injured shoulder and a swollen right hand that caused intense pain if she even thought about touching it or moving it.

This integrated approach is the best treatment available, clinically proven to reduce pain and disability due to CRPS.

Patients also receive an individualized home program with guidance and advice for gradually increasing the home program exercise levels – essential to avoid aggravation of the pain syndrome.

Experienced CRPS therapists

Therapists providing CRPS services are occupational or physical therapists, who have several years of experience in CRPS and participate in CRPS continuing education.

They have also worked in close collaboration with Todd Hess, MD, United Pain Center, a regional expert on CRPS.


CRPS services are available at the following Courage Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy locations:

For directions and parking information, call 612-863-4432.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition associated with dysfunction in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Typical features include changes in the color and temperature of the skin of the affected limb or body part, accompanied by intense pain, skin sensitivity, sweating and swelling.

CRPS can strike at any age and affects both men and women, although most experts agree that it is more common in young women.

Symptoms of CRPS

The key symptom of CRPS is continuous, intense pain that is at a higher level and lasts longer than expected after injury. The pain also becomes worse over time instead of improving as normally expected.

CRPS most often affects one of the extremities (arms, legs, hands, or feet) and is also often accompanied by other symptoms which may include:

  • "burning" pain
  • increased skin sensitivity
  • changes in skin temperature: warmer or cooler compared to the opposite extremity
  • changes in skin color: often blotchy, purple, pale, or red
  • changes in skin texture: shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty
  • changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  • swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  • muscle dysfunction with decreased ability to move the affected body part.

Often, the pain spreads to include the entire arm or leg and may be heightened by emotional stress. The symptoms of CRPS vary in severity and length.

Graded motor imagery therapy

Recent research has shown that rehabilitation for persons with CRPS is most effective when it incorporates graded sensory and motor activities.

Sensory re-education has been shown to decrease the hypersensitivity of CRPS. Imaging movements both with and without a mirror are also an important focus of this program.

The therapists, in close collaboration with each other, evaluate and provide individualized guidance during the treatment process.

Patients repeat the therapeutic activities and exercises frequently throughout the day during their home program. These activities are designed to improve the function of the central and peripheral nervous systems by "retraining the brain." This unique approach has been associated with decreased pain and swelling, and increased function.

Course of treatment

Courage Kenny Sports & Physical Therapy offers occupational therapy and hand therapy that guide patients through the phases of graded motor imagery, usually over several months.

In addition, occupational and physical therapies include therapeutic exercise, manual therapy and education to improve range of motion and strength.