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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: General Overview

  • Published: 2012-01-09 (Revised/Updated 2017-06-25) : Author: Molly Maxim
  • Synopsis: Complex regional pain syndrome CRPS is a form of chronic pain that can affect any part of the body but usually an arm or leg.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

(CRPS) A chronic pain condition that can affect any area of the body, but often affects an arm or a leg. Doctors aren't sure what causes CRPS. In some cases, the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the pain. Another theory is that CRPS is caused by a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area.

Main Document

"There is no cure for CRPS. However, if identified early, CRPS is quite treatable; symptoms may improve dramatically over time."

Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a form of chronic pain that can affect any part of the body; in most instances, however, CRPS affects an arm or leg. The pain experienced by CPRS sufferers can be incredibly intense, leaving many with the condition unable to work.

Since CRPS is not well understood, many CRPS cases go unrecognized. For anyone who is personally suffering from unexplained pain or has a loved one experiencing pain issues following a workplace injury, a basic understanding of CRPS can be extremely beneficial.

What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Approximately 90 percent of CRPS cases occur following an injury that did not directly damage the nerves in the limb that ends up in pain. This type of CRPS was formerly known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. The other type of CRPS, once called causalgia, stems from a direct nerve injury to the affected area.

Crush injuries, fractures, amputations, surgeries, heart attacks and infections can all lead to CRPS. But, CRPS sometimes appears without an obvious injury, and it is even thought to be precipitated by emotional stress. When there is an initial injury, the pain experienced by the CRPS sufferer is often far more severe than that accompanying the original damage.

Doctors are not certain why injuries sometimes trigger CRPS. A leading theory is that CRPS results from miscommunication between the central and peripheral nervous systems and abnormal inflammatory responses.

A Wide Range of Symptoms

Sensitivity to touch or cold, burning or throbbing pain coupled with swelling (typically in an extremity) or changes in hair and nail growth may all be signs of CRPS. Variations in skin condition - from sweaty to icy, from nearly white to mottled red or blue, from a standard texture to thin or shiny - are also CRPS hallmarks. Finally, joint stiffness and swelling, muscles spasms or weakness and impaired mobility in the affected body part could indicate CRPS. Underlying all other symptoms, generally the longer CRPS goes untreated, the more intense and widespread pain becomes.

How CRPS Sufferers May Seek Relief

There is no cure for CRPS. However, if identified early, CRPS is quite treatable; symptoms may improve dramatically over time.

Medical therapies can blunt the physical manifestations of CRPS. Yet, especially for those patients put out of work by CRPS, mounting medical bills and other financial obligations can seem like an insurmountable obstacle.

There may be a variety of ways to seek monetary compensation depending on how an injury that caused CRPS occurred. For some, a personal injury lawsuit or a Social Security Disability claim may be appropriate. For those injured at work, a workers' compensation claim may be the best option.

Debilitating medical conditions like CRPS can cause huge upheavals in day to day life. If you or a loved one is suffering from CRPS, be sure that medical issues are not compounded by financial difficulties; contact an experienced attorney today to find out what claims you may have to compensation.

Awareness: CRPS Awareness

Multi-colored CRPS awareness ribbonCRPS, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, formerly known as RSD or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain that exists today by the McGill Pain Index.

CRPS, is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System, more specifically, the Sympathetic Nervous System. The Multi-colored Flame Ribbon you see here stands for the burning pain nearly all CRPS patients feel. The month of November is National CRPS Awareness Month. Each November, make it a point to to really push for CRPS Awareness.

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4 : Effective and Safe Options to Treat Pain : Family Features Editorial Syndicate.
5 : Pain Scale Chart - 1 to 10 Levels : Disabled World.
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