Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS/RSD)

This 53 year-old woman presented with a diagnosis of third-stage complex regional pain syndrome (formerly called reflex sympathetic dystrophy), a chronic degenerative disease that typically affects an arm or leg, with unknown cause. There is no known cure for the degeneration that characterizes the third stage. At the time of her therapy, 14 years after her car accident injury, her right foot and ankle were severely atrophied (<80% of original mass), extremely painful, and the ankle joint had little range of motion. Her podiatrist predicted that she would eventually become wheelchair-bound.


After five months of SNS pain discharge treatments every other week, she had regenerated the original mass of the foot and most of the leg muscle, which required strengthening in order to rebuild muscle mass. The pain ceased almost entirely, as well as the hot and cold sensations. Her ankle’s normal range of motion returned. She exclaimed, “My foot fills my shoe again!”


The procedure was the simplest Arneson Method approach, used in other brief sessions for chronic pain in the extremities. This client simply needed more than a single treatment. After relaxing, she focused her attention on the sensations in her foot and ankle. After a few minutes of attention and a gradual building of sensation, she felt her foot and ankle contract and discharge with relatively little discomfort. In some discharges, there was only a dull ache or pressure sensation. The contractions gave her pain relief after each session (our ostensible goal), and thus reason to proceed. We were both surprised when we eventually realized that her foot was getting larger. Meanwhile, she experienced less and less pain over time. Her foot and ankle stopped discharging after the mass returned. No touch was used in the procedure.


Discharge does not occur when it is not needed. It's a specialized healing function that deploys—when supported by proper procedure—in a location that requires it. In her case, horrible tissue stagnation was embedded so deeply in atrophied tissues that she needed more than one or two pain discharges to clean out the affected area.

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