A Sydney teenager has taken to A Current Affair searching for help due to a little-understood illness that causes her body to be constantly overcome with pain “worse than childbirth”.
14-year-old Chloe has no physical damage to show, but suffers from what is now as complex regional pain syndrome, a neurological condition that causes her skin to be overly sensitive to the touch.
The pain first occurred last November and she was rushed to hospital due to the agonising pain that she felt in her foot. Chloe was in and out of hospital for weeks before she was finally diagnosed with the illness.
The pain has since travelled from her foot into her right arm and hand, which you can visibly see is more swollen and red than the other side.
Chloe wanted people to understand how severe her pain is and she demonstrated to A Current Affair that just the simple touch of a feather lightly touching her arm feels like she is being stabbed with a knife. Doctors have said that her pain is more severe than that experienced during child birth.
“I want other kids my age to understand and get answers as well, because the one thing that frightened me the most was not understanding what it was,” said Chloe.
Chloe’s mother Mandy told A Current Affair that one of the hardest parts is not knowing if Chloe will ever be cured.
“The thing that kills us, (that) gives us many a sleepless night is this could go on forever,” she said.
Leading researcher in the little-known disorder, psychologist Peter Drummond from Perth’s Murdoch University has said that they are unsure what exactly causes the disorder but they do know that it generally occurs more often in women.
“We don’t really understand why some people get it and other people don’t,” he said. “It does affect women and girls more than boys and men.”
What is known about CRPS is that although it causes physical pain, it isn’t brought on from an injury or trauma. The illness tends to cause limbs to swell, sweat and experience changes in bloody flow.
The condition currently affects 20 people in every 100,000 but treatment for CRPS is not always successful as much of the disorder is still not understood.
“Unfortunately when people get this condition it often doesn’t get better,” said Dr Philip Finch, who treats people with CRPS. “We can improve people with treatment but often they have this condition and it fluctuates in intensity over the years.”
Source: A Current Affair