I was just reading this paper on CRPS. One the points of the paper is that in CRPS patients, startle responses, which make normal pain decrease (so one can deal with the threat better), make CRPS pain even worse. They go on to connect the data to the dysfunctional parts of the nervous system unique to CRPS.
What I found personally applicable to my life, however, is that they used a sudden loud noise to test their subjects, who reported significant increase in pain and sensitivity, especially when the noise was on the same side of the body in which the CRPS was found. In our noise-polluted world, as well as in our daily lives, we run across startling loud noises more or less frequently depending on our environment. It seems like this is one of those minor, unintuitive things that, as people who have CRPS, we may be able use to decrease our pain.
We already know that CRPS pain is heightened by emotional distress. But overstimulating environments could also be a pain-increasing influence that we can attempt to minimize, by our choices in where we live as well as the places we go outside the home.
I’ve always been very sensitive to noise, but I think since I got CRPS that sensitivity has become greater. I know I do tend to feel more stressed than I would like when the neighbors all too frequently play their music loud enough that I can hear it in my apartment, but I had not made the connection that the noises from the neighborhood could be directly affecting my pain. I do know that the next time I move house, I’ll be looking for somewhere with a little more peace and quiet than my current abode. And if I return to work, some day, I will make a quiet environment one of the things I look for in a workplace.