What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

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  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic condition, formally called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), that causes pain, swelling, and changes in skin color and temperature.
  • Many cases of CRPS develop after a traumatic injury, but other causes could include surgery, infection or heart attack.
  • The pain management specialists at American Spine explain the causes, symptoms and treatments for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Individuals who have suffered from a traumatic injury, infection, surgery, stroke or heart attack may be at an increased risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). This chronic condition usually develops two different ways, which is why physicians may refer to your condition as a Type 1 or Type 2 case of CRPS. Type 1 refers to CRPS that has developed after an illness or injury

Type 2 (also called causalgia) is generally caused by a distinctive injury to the nerves. In very rare instances, emotional stress may be a precipitating factor.

CRPS is very frequently characterized by the pain, inflammation, redness, and hypersensitivity it causes for various limbs. One of the most common indicators is the affected arm or leg becoming cold and undergo various skin color and texture changes. Other symptoms of this condition may include:

  • Burning or throbbing pain
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint swelling, stiffness or damage
  • Muscle weakness or spasms
  • Immobility of the affected body part

Your American Spine physician may recommend a combination of treatments to either improve or slow the progression of complex regional pain syndrome. Treatment for this condition generally include prescription pain medication, a steroid injection to the affected area,  Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), or spinal cord stimulation.

At American Spine, we are dedicated to treating chronic pain and spine conditions. Offering the latest in minimally invasive spine surgery and other effective treatment options, American Spine is the leading pain physician group of California. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call us at (951)-734-PAIN (7246).

The advice and information contained in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or in any other educational medical material.