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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Autoimmune Diseases

Is it possible for CRPS (full-body) to trigger the onset of an autoimmune disease, or vice versa?

Three and a half years ago I was complaining of pain in my left foot, specifically my big toe. After three weeks I couldn't take the pain any longer and the appearance of my entire foot was odd. I finally relented and went to the ER for an x-ray per doctors instructions. At first look the doctor believed I had a flare up of gout due to the edema, color change, and the lack of any trauma or injuries, but he ordered x-rays to be thorough. Much to our surprise, my foot was fractured in two places; the sesimoid bone was in two pieces and the other one was a stress fracture near my inside ankle bone. The doctor explained to me even though I had to fractures he still believed I had gout and I should follow up with podiatrist for a more accurate diagnosis. That more accurate diagnosis was CRPS. Before that day I had never heard of this nightmare disease. The doctor said recovery would take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years so I did my best to stay positive. My goal was no more than 6 months; that meant due everything I could with physical therapy and follow the doctors directives to a tee. There was only one problem; like clockwork, with every week that passed the pain was spreading.

This began in March, 2011, by the end of August, 2011 I had pain from head to toe. In September I had blood work come back ANA + with a Neuclolar Pattern. Further testing did not reveal a specific diagnosis leaving the doctors to treat my symptoms. I have had 3 more ANA+ with the same pattern since then, but still just being treated for the symptoms calling it, "some type of Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder and we'll just have to wait until it's true nature rears it's ugly head!"

The four Rheumatologists I have been referred to over the years all say, "fibromyalgia". The Neurologist who performed the EMG tests, ordered and monitored the physical therapy, ordered and reviewed all the Bone Scans, MRI'S, and X-RAYS believes the diagnosis is, "Scleroderma". The Pain Management Doctor prescribes my narcotic meds and performs the surgical procedures on my spine (5 to date), he will not give me a complete diagnosis except what pertains to my spine. His diagnosis' are as follows; Clinical Lumbar Radiculopathy, Cervical Radiculopathy C5-6, Cervical Facet Syndrome, Cervical Disc Herniation C6-7, Cervical Disc Bulging C5-6, Annular Tear at L5-S1, Disc Herniation L5-S1, Myofascial Pain Syndrome, Chronic Pain Syndrome, and CRPS. He has recently referred me to an Orthopedic Surgeon and the appointment went very well.

The surgeon believes the diagnosis is, "Full-Body CRPS". Better than that, he is the first doctor who 1.) DOESN'T THINK THE PAIN IS ALL IN MY HEAD....2.) IT'S DEFINITELY NOT FIBROMYALGIA!!!!!!!.....3.) HE IS CONFIDENT DISC REPLACEMENT SURGERY WILL RELIEVE ME OF 90-95% OF MY BACK PAIN!!!!!!!!!......

I couldn't help the tears of joy bursting from my face. I was in shock. He caught me by complete and utter surprise. No doctor, in all this time, has treated me with such true regard for my feelings what I've been through. Here is the amazing part; he took the time to read and review everything I brought with me. Do you know how I know that? He must have read it, otherwise he would not have known about all the horrible things I've been through when he spoke to me.

The worst part about having to go see new doctors is having to fill out paperwork, explain things to the nurse what you just filled out, and answer her questions, then explain to the doctor what you just explained  to the nurse what you just filled for the hundredth time this year which they could've gotten from the paperwork that the referring doctor sent to them in the first place along with the rest of your medical records that they absolutely have to have for their new file on you that will now have in duplicates!

So to sum it up, I need to know if one disorder or disease can set off or trigger another? I was a full-time package car driver for UPS, working on average 50 hours a week; weighing in at 135lbs. and 5'1" tall. Now my weight bounces between 92-99lbs, I grew 3/4" due to Lordosis, and I have lost a lot if not all of my muscle mass. Even my eyes are degenerating. Before I had 20/20 vision in both eyes and now I've diagnosed with Macular Degeneration in both eyes with 20/60 in the both eyes.

So that's the story, I would appreciate anyone's input and or opinion.
What does kill you makes you makes you stronger!

Thank you in advance,

This discussion is related to Blotchy non-itch rash on inside of legs/knees.

This discussion is related to Blotchy non-itch rash on inside of legs/knees.
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