Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition which causes severe pain which won’t go away and it often affects one limb (one arm or one leg). Complex regional pain syndrome usually follows an early injury to the limb. CRPS caused by damage or malfunction of the peripheral and central nervous systems.
Symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome:
Symptoms vary from person to person or it may change over time. Complex regional pain syndrome has following signs and symptoms;
- Continuous burning pain, usually in your arm, leg, hand or foot
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Swelling of the painful area
- Changes in skin temperature; temperature alternate between cold and sweaty
- Changes in skin color, ranging from mottled and white to blue or red
- Changes in skin texture, skin become tender, thin or shiny at the affected area
- Changes in hair and nail growth
- Joint stiffness, swelling and damage
- Muscle spasms, tremors, weakness and loss (atrophy)
- Decreased ability or difficulty in moving the affected body part
Causes of complex regional pain syndrome:
The actual cause of complex regional pain syndrome is not completely understood. Majority of complex regional pain syndrome cases occur after a forceful trauma to an arm or a leg. It can occur in two types with similar symptoms but causes of both complex regional pain syndrome types are different.
Type 1: About 90 percent of people with complex regional pain syndrome have type 1. It follows an injury such as a fracture or sprain but with no nerve damage and is sometimes referred to as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or Sudeck’s syndrome.
Type 2: it follows a distinct nerve injury of the limb and is sometimes referred to as causalgia.
Treatments of CRPS:
There are several medicines and therapies for complex regional pain syndrome. Medications used for CRPS are;
Pain relievers; doctors prescribe pain relievers in order to ease pain and inflammation.
Antidepressants and anticonvulsants; are used to treat neuropathic pain that originates from a damaged nerve.
Corticosteroids; steroids medications used to reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the affected limb.
Sympathetic nerve blocking medication; anesthetic injection block pain fibers in the affected nerves may relieve pain.
Therapies for complex regional pain syndrome include heat therapy, physical therapy, topical analgesics, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, spinal cord stimulation, intrathecal drug pumps and mirror therapy.
Zaki Anwar MD is an Anesthesiologist and Interventional Pain Management Specialist. He has great expertise for the diagnosis and treatment of back pain, headaches, migraines, neck pain, sciatica pain and various pain conditions. His center has offering various treatment options including stem cell therapy, amniotic fluid injection and much more.
For further queries call on 815.412.6166