What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that was formerly known as Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). It is characterized by burning pain, swelling, or changes in skin color. It is most often seen in extremities, such as a leg or an arm, but can affect any area of the body. It is a very uncommon disease that is typically seen after an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack. The cause is not ultimately understood though. Anyone can get CRPS but it’s most commonly seen in people ages 40 to 60 years old.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Symptoms

The symptoms of CRPS will differ widely among patients. Burning, chronic and intense pain that doesn’t make sense with the severity of the injury is the biggest clue to having CRPS. Diagnosing is very difficult but also extremely necessary. The pain specialist at Clearway will perform a very thorough diagnostic consultation to find the cause of your pain. The symptoms of CRPS can include:

  • Sensitivity and pain when touched by anything
  • Persistent burning pain in the affected limb
  • Joint stiffness or swelling that causes pain
  • Faster than normal hair and nail growth
  • Excessively sweaty skin that is blotchy and purple, pale, and red in color

Causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

There are two types of CRPS: type I and type II. Type I is also known at Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). It is most often seen in the arms or legs after an illness or injury that didn’t directly cause damage to the affected limb or nerve. Type II, formerly called causalgia, has the same symptoms as type I but is clearly caused by direct injury to the nerve. There are many theories as you how a person can get this disease. Some include damage directly to the nerve, injury or infection to arms or legs, and in rare cases, heart attack or stroke. It is not completely understood why these injuries will sometimes trigger CRPS.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment

Treatment by a pain specialist is proven to help with CRPS. If Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is not diagnosed and treated early, it can lead to disabling side effects. You may suffer from severe stiffness, deterioration or weakening in the affected limb. Other side effects include the spread of the disease to other parts of the body, depression, and having issues with thinking clearly. Once you reach this stage, CRPS is not reversible. If you suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy, the physicians and specialists at Clearway offer many treatment options such as different types of medications in addition to physical therapy.

Request an Appointment

If you are done suffering from chronic pain, contact the pain experts at Clearway and request an appointment online. We will perform a thorough evaluation to determine the best treatment to help you find relief from your pain if you are diagnosed with CRPS. We accept most health insurance as well as workers compensation and auto accidents.

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Request an Appointment

Are you ready to alleviate your pain and restore your physical function so you can live your best life – the one you want and deserve? The entire Clearway team is ready to help.

To request an appointment, please click the button below. You will be routed to our Patient Portal, where you can register with us by providing us with some basic information. We will get back as quickly as possible to set up and confirm your appointment day and time. Just below the form, we provide answers to some of the most frequently asked questions, as well.

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