September is Pain Awareness Month, and Clearway Pain Solutions is dedicated to raising awareness of pain and pain management. We want to help relieve your pain, restore your physical function and empower you to enjoy the life you want and deserve. This week, we’ll be discussing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as CRPS.
What is CRPS?
CRPS is a type of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or leg. It can develop after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, and the pain is disproportionate to the severity of the injury. It can affect people of any age but is more common in those between 40 and 60 years of age.
The cause of CRPS is not completely understood, though it is thought to be caused by an injury to or an abnormality of the peripheral and central nervous systems. There are two types of CRPS:
Type 1: Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSDS), type 1 affects 90 percent of those suffering from CRPS. It usually appears after injury to a limb when the trauma did not directly damage the nerves in the affected limb.
Type 2: CRPS type 2 occurs after direct damage to the nerve in the affected limb.
Whether you are diagnosed with CRPS type 1 or type 2, getting treated early is key to improvement and even remission.
Symptoms of CRPS
Symptoms can vary from person to person and may even change over time. You may experience pain, swelling or redness. The affected limb can become cold and pale. Watch out for these symptoms:
- Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in the arm, leg, hand or foot
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Swelling of the painful area
- Changes in skin temperature, alternating between sweaty and cold
- Changes in skin color, ranging from white and mottled to red or blue
- Changes in skin texture; skin may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
- Changes in hair growth or nail growth
- Joint stiffness, swelling and/or damage
- Muscle spasms, tremors, weakness and atrophy
- Decreased ability to move the affected body part
If CRPS is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, it can get worse and manifest more disabling symptoms, including:
- Tissue wasting – Skin, bones and muscles may begin to weaken or even deteriorate when you avoid or have trouble moving a limb because of pain or stiffness
- Muscle tightening – Which might lead to a situation where a hand and fingers or a foot and toes contract into a fixed position
When to See Your Clearway Pain Solutions Physician
If you are experiencing severe pain in a limb and touching or moving the limb is intolerable, make an appointment to be evaluated by one of our pain physicians at Clearway. Treating CRPS early is critical to recovery.
Your Clearway Pain Solutions team can help create a plan to relieve your pain and restore physical function. If you are experiencing pain of any kind, schedule a consultation now. Call us at 855-527-PAIN or click here to request an appointment.