Finding a CRPS/RSD Specialist
It is a sad fact that the typical CRPS/RSD patient sees an average of seven physicians before they're even diagnosed, let alone treated. The possibility of curing the illness falls off quickly with time (around the first 6mo - 1yr), and relies on fast and aggressive diagnosis and treatment, so quickly finding expert medical resources is vital. All of the resources below have either excellent information about finding a pain management specialist or feature a specific utility for searching from their site.
Is Your Doctor Board-Certified? A very useful site where you can look up any physician in the country and determine what board certifications they possess.
Certification Matters | Find Out if Your Doctor is Board Certified "When you choose a doctor who is Board Certified by one of the ABMS Member Boards, you can be confident he or she meets nationally recognized standards for education, knowledge, experience and skills to provide high quality care in a specific medical specialty. Board Certification goes above and beyond basic medical licensure."
Prescriber Checkup a new, excellent utility sponsored by ProPublica, the excellent investigative site. Just enter a physician's name and the state in which s/he practices, and receive a bunch of useful information, including how their prescribing habits compare with their peers, the top 10 drugs they prescribe, etc. This is only for Medicare Part D patients, but with over 35 million people involved, it gives an accurate snapshot of a physician's prescribing profile.
Dollars for Docs "How Industry Dollars Reach Your Doctors" - A companion site to the Prescriber Checkup page noted above, just enter a physician's name and city, and you receive a report of all money paid to the physician by drug companies, the date and reason, and the amount (you can opt to see only payments >$250).
Help in Paying for Medical Help
If you're one of the growing number of folks not only battling the horrors of CRPS but also finding your finances dwindling here are just a few resources.
Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka "Obamacare", cannot turn you down despite your long-term CRPS or any other existing medical condition. If you don't have adequate insurance, meet the financial need requirements, and don't live in a state whose idiot GOP governor hasn't turned down the free (for the first 3 years) Obamacare program just to keep the enrollment numbers down to try to hurt the President) , you should enroll for this ASAP!
Officially, the deadline is March 31, but the White House has announced that they'll accept applications several weeks late. I doubt they'll let it bleed over into a second late month, so you really musn't waste this valuable arranmgement if you need it!
In Pain and Agonizing Over the Bills (Financial Assistance Resource Directory) this is a great, 64-page resource published by RSDSA, and is a wealth of ideas and contacts for those in serious financial need due to medical bills.
Finding a Physician
All-States-Doctors-List complied by RSDSA, this wonderful listing, although a pdf file, is easily navigable via the bookmarks, which are just all of the states' names. When a state is chosen, what is returned is a list of CRPS/RSD physicians in that state. This is a substantial PDF file, at 85 pages, and I'm very grateful to RSDSA for compiling and allowing us to increase the list's availability to those who really need it.
Finding a CRPS Specialist from the RSDSA site, an excellent article on what you should know when looking for an RSD specialist. As any experienced pain patient (like me!) will tell you, pain specialists can be extremely different in their treatment philosophies, types of treatments offered, expertise of the staff, etc.
Finding Care from PainFoundation.org, an excellent, multifaceted site on finding a healthcare specialist. Much of their material is outlined in their publication Finding Care for Your Pain (click to download the pdf file).
Heathgrades a popular site with patient reviews of physicians, hospitals, etc.
Local Resources for Pain Management from MedicineNet.org, a powerful, rapid search method combines with a huge database listing the pain management resources in the "Top 1000 Cities"! There's also a Google Map with a pull-down menu listing every city covered in the US - and it's a lot.
Pain Clinics from the excellent Pain.com site, a search engine to find CRPS clinics anywhere in the world. Excellent utility; very large database.
Pain Management Centers from the excellent RSD(S)-CRPS Advisory site, a substantial listing of practices that specifically specialize in treating CRPS/RSD.
Physicians for Patients - Complex Regional Pain Syndrome "Created by physicians. Made for patients"
RSDSA Review Archive the collection of review articles kept on the RSDSA site; several are relevant to assessing the qualifications of RSD docs.
RSDSA Medical Articles Archive as above, but consists of scholarly papers from the peer-reviewed medical literature.
Sites with utilities for identifying CRPS specialists (as listed in the RSDSA site): [NOTE: All links open in a new window/tab.]
American Academy of Pain Management "The mission of the American Academy of Pain Management is to advance the field of pain management using an integrative model of patient-centered care by providing evidence-based education for pain practitioners, as well as credentialing and advocacy for its members."
American Academy of Pain Medicine "AAPM, founded in 1983, is the recognized authority on the evaluation and care of patients with pain. It is a professional community of physicians with a sustained interest in pain disorders and their management, with a background in related specialties such as anesthesiology, internal medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedic surgery, physiatry, family practice, and psychiatry."
American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation "Exclusively serving the needs of today's physical medicine and rehabilitation physician, the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation has over 8,000 members in the United States and abroad. The headquarters office for the Academy is in Rosemont, Illinois."
American Board of Pain Medicine "The mission of the American Board of Pain Medicine is to serve the public by improving the quality of Pain Medicine."
Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities "Through accreditation, CARF assists service providers in improving the quality of their services, demonstrating value, and meeting internationally recognized organizational and program standards."
Pain.com "The Pain.com CAM Advisory Board was formed to ensure that the consumer receives the most relevant, up-to-date information in the fields of pain and pain management. The board consists of healthcare leaders representing a broad range of clinical settings." It is noteworthy that this site has only two people with advanced degrees on their Board of Directors: a dentist and chiropractor. They do list, however, an undergraduate student as their nutrition expert. Caveat emptor.
Individual Physicians who Advertise expertise in Helping CRPS Patients
The physicians whose sites are featured here are those that I searched for or ran across. The fact of their inclusion in this list in no way constitutes my endorsement of any particular physician.
Woman Struggles with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) a two-physician practice, with an orthopedic surgeon and pain management physician.