WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A Texas woman was bitten by a copperhead snake three times in 2017.
- She later developed complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a condition in which even the slightest touch can cause terrible pain.
- No effective treatment for CRPS exists at the moment.
A woman from Texas has been diagnosed with the world’s most painful condition after being bitten by one of the world’s most venomous snakes.
When Rachel Myrick, a 40-year-old Fredericksburg realtor, entered the LongHorn Steakhouse in Spotsylvania County in 2017, she was bitten by a copperhead snake.
An 8-inch-long copperhead that had made its way inside the restaurant’s foyer bit Myrick twice on her toes and once on the side of her foot. The bites were excruciatingly painful, causing her to drop everything she was holding, according to The Free Lance-Star at the time.
The story was reported all over the world, detailing how Myrick underwent antivenom, commonly known as antivenin, as well as treatment in Mary Washington Hospital while her foot and ankle swelled.
Even after media interest in the story waned, Myrick’s anguish did not end there. Either the bite, the antivenin she was given, or a combination of the two caused her to develop complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a disorder in which even a gentle touch can cause terrible pain.
According to LMTonline, even a mild breeze or a brush over her skin can be excruciating.
She told the news outlet:
“You feel like your skin is sunburned, then you take sand or shards of glass, depending on how bad my moment is, and you just rub it into the top. I’m in the worst pain of my entire life, times 10.”
Above tooth fracture, chronic back pain, amputation of fingers or toes, and even childbirth, CRPS ranks towards the top of the McGill scale, a questionnaire that patients fill out to determine how much pain they are in
According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH), CRPS develops after an injury to an arm or leg, and symptoms include changes in skin color, warmth, and/or edema on the arm or leg below the injury site.
According to the study, the majority of CRPS injuries appear to be caused by faulty nerve fibers delivering signals to the brain. The National Institutes of Health says the disease, which causes “burning” or “pins and needles” and the sensation of a limb being crushed, eventually goes away as the nerve regrows. Severe cases, on the other hand, can make you disabled for a long time.
No effective treatment for CRPS exists at the moment. It can be difficult to treat due to its vast range of symptoms that can change over time. Diabetes and smoking also negatively affect the treatment.