My Pain Is Not Made Up

Published on February 10, 2022 under RSDS General Info

Written by Valrie Ricketts for the RSDSA blog.

How and when did you develop CRPS/RSD?

In 2018, I developed CRPS after breaking my left hand during a fall.

What has daily life been like since your diagnosis?

It has changed my life significantly. I never know when I will experience a flare. My days are determined by how my hand feels.

What is one thing you wish those without CRPS/RSD would understand?

I would like people without CRPS to understand that even though I look fine, I may be experiencing great discomfort. My pain is not made up.

What advice would you give to newly diagnosed Warriors?

My advice to those who are newly diagnosed is to pace yourself, do not be afraid to share your feelings and get as much CRPS education as possible. 

What encouragement would you give to Warriors who have had CRPS/RSD for many years?

Living with CRPS is not easy but you are not alone. Try to network with others to talk about what you are experiencing.

What activities or treatments have helped you find temporary or long term relief?

I have found that using paraffin bath helps to warm my hand, applying weight bearing pressure relieves stiffness, massaging helps to soothe it, and redirecting my thoughts distracts me from the pain.

Anything else you would like to add?

I have written a book about my story of an Occupational Therapist being a CRPS patient. The changes it made to my career. It is called “The Fight” Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Inside A Patient’s World. Exclusively on Amazon.


Connect with Valrie via Instagram at @val_uplift.


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  1. Dora Cervantes

    Hi! My name is Dora, I just want to let you know that I have CRPS in my right hand, which is my dominant hand. So, I understand how hard it is to learn everything with your left hand! If you ever want to talk about it or if you need some ideas please text me or email me, I would appreciate it! Thank you!

    1. lvppharm@gmail.com

      Hello, My name is Lorna P. a registered pharmacist 20+ years! I have been diagnosed with CRPS in my right arm/hand/wrist! This journey has been unbelievable…..my life style has been greatly affected. I cannot work in my traditional pharmacy career because….I can’t open prescription bottles..my right hand drops items randomly……..I am trying to remainl sane! My orthopedic doc who diagnosed me, after casting and insertion of screws ,with CRPS and treated me said that since my hand wasn’t swollen at the time of my many visits..I might be faking the continuingsymptoms!!! I almost flipped!!

  2. Mary Edmons

    I commend you. I too have CRPS in my hand/arm (right) due to a cervical disc. I have suffered with it since 1995. I was misdiagnosed for “many” years. A hand specialist wrote in my medical file, at that time, that the pain I suffered was all in my head and I should see a Psychiatrist. He never told me this to my face. I cannot afford massages, paraffin hand baths, Ketamine treatments, Calmare therapy, or even physical therapy treatments on a regular basis. I resort to a using a used hot tub I was able to buy, a heating pad, medication and medicated rub creams to help. Rest is the biggest thing too. Since my dominant hand is affected, I can no longer draw, crochet, or do a lot of arts and crafts, or any other things that use fine motor skills like I used to when I was young. I try to read with a tablet or my phone, and watch shows on tv. I do have a spinal cord stimulator, which helps, along with meds to relieve about 20% of my pain, unless I go into a flare. I worry that it is spreading though, as my lumbar spine started burning about a year and a half ago. I already have sciatica, but this was something new. I will go see an orthopedic doctor soon, and I fear that he will have no education on CRPS. We shall see. I look forward to purchasing your book.

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