For those with a certain pain syndrome, working through the pain of an aggressive physiotherapy program often leads to far better results than a more cautious, pain-free approach.

Type I Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), is a chronic progressive disease characterized by severe pain, swelling and changes in the skin. The cause of this syndrome is currently unknown. Although CRPS may follow injury and surgery, this is not always the case.

Researchers found that almost all CRPS e patients studied improved significantly when subjected to a rehabilitation program involving graded pain exposure, which included traction, stretching and massage, according to a press release from SAGE Publications, publishers of the journal Clinical Rehabilitation, in which the new research is running.

In fact, more than half the patients in the study recovered full physical movement, and none of the patients experienced adverse effects from this more aggressive approach.

While this approach doesn’t reduce the amount of pain associated with the condition, it does provide sufferers with a significant increase in mobility, function and quality of life, the SAGE release noted. Traditional treatments for this chronic condition typically minimize the pain, which limits physiotherapy significantly and usually leads to greater deterioration of the affected limb.