From Invisible Pain to Unbreakable Spirit: A CRPS Story

CRPS Lived Experience – Courtney du Preez

Reprinted with permission from Ngau Mamae, the quarterly publication of the New Zealand Pain Society, Issue 4, 2022.  


In this heartfelt article, Courtney shares her personal journey of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS is a debilitating and chronic condition characterized by severe pain, usually affecting one limb after an injury. In Courtney’s case, her CRPS began after a hand injury in 2019 and has since spread to her neck, torso, and contralateral upper limb. Despite facing numerous challenges, including lack of understanding from others, long wait times for pain services, and difficulties getting treatment, Courtney has remained resilient and positive throughout her journey.

Living with CRPS can be isolating, as it is often a silent and invisible condition. Courtney has experienced judgment and hurtful comments from people in her personal life who fail to understand the severity of her pain. However, she has found solace in the support and understanding of her Musculoskeletal Physician, Dr. Grant Thompson. For Courtney, managing CRPS involves various medical and non-medical treatments. She also emphasizes the importance of finding humour and enjoyment in activities like paddleboarding, bird watching, and singing along to music while exercising her hands. Through her experiences, Courtney has been inspired to pursue a career in health, with the goal of specializing in Musculoskeletal Medicine to help guide others through their treatment journeys.