A GIRL from South Somerset has been fighting through the pain barrier to raise awareness of her debilitating illness.

Since the age of seven, Ella Murphy, who goes to Kingsbury Episcopi Primary School, has suffered Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, a poorly understood neurological condition causing chronic, burning pain.

Having usually developed the condition after an injury, a person with CRPS continues to encounter pain completely out of proportion to its cause where the brain sends too many nerve impulses to the area affected.

Other symptoms include bone and skin changes, sweating, tissue swelling and extreme sensitivity to touch.

Mum Charlotte said: “One day she woke up with chronic pain in her shoulder and couldn't move it.

“For the first couple of years she was diagnosed with and treated for arthritis, but as her symptoms persisted the professionals narrowed it down to CRPS and referred her to a specialist.

“She’s affected in her right foot and knees, so she generally walks with crutches, but she has a wheelchair if she’s going long distance.

“Her foot’s so sensitive she can’t put her own shoes on and she’s just getting used to putting her own socks on.

“It’s such a simple thing to you and I, but to her it’s so painful.

“Every minute for her is so different. She has dealt with it very well, but obviously it makes her very cross and very upset. She used to be a fantastic ballerina and gymnast, always on the monkey bars, doing handstands, but she can’t run, skip or jump any more.”

While most youngsters spent the October half-term blowing off steam, Ella was in Bath Hospital undergoing intensive physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychotherapists in its specialist department.

Charlotte said: “They support the whole family because it’s extremely wearing on everybody. In November, Ella boldly gave a presentation on her condition to her school’s assembly, and at her side was CRPS campaigner and fundraiser Amanda Nelson."

Just like Amanda, Ella and her family are far from giving up hope.

In September, Amanda, who has had CRPS since 2010, cycled from Land's End to John O'Groats on a tailored tricycle to raise money and awareness.

For details on Amanda’s campaign, visit Cycling For Complex Regional Pain Syndrome on Facebook.