What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. Complex regional pain syndrome typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack, but the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. The cause of complex regional pain syndrome isn’t clearly understood. Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is most effective when started early. In such cases, improvement and even remission are possible.



What are the symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include:

  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in your arm, leg, hand or foot
  • Sensitivity to touch or cold
  • Swelling of the painful area
  • Changes in skin temperature — at times your skin may be sweaty; at other times it may be cold
  • Changes in skin color, which can range from white and mottled to red or blue
  • Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint stiffness, swelling and damage
  • Muscle spasms, weakness and loss (atrophy)
  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Symptoms may change over time and vary from person to person. Most commonly, pain, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperature and hypersensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) occur first. Over time, the affected limb can become cold and pale and undergo skin and nail changes as well as muscle spasms and tightening. Once these changes occur, the condition is often irreversible. Complex regional pain syndrome occasionally may spread from its source to elsewhere in your body, such as the opposite limb. The pain may be worsened by emotional stress. In some people, signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome go away on their own. In others, signs and symptoms may persist for months to years. Treatment is likely to be most effective when started early in the course of the illness.

How do you treat Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Improvement and even remission of complex regional pain syndrome is possible if treatment begins within a few months of your first symptoms. Often, a combination of various therapies is necessary. Dr. Vahedifar will tailor your treatment based on your specific case. Although there are several different options to treat CRPS, Dr. Vahedifar wants patients to get the best results. The treatments he recommends and offers are:

  • Topical analgesics
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Sympathetic Nerve Blocks

If you or a loved one suffers from CRPS, Contact Us today for a consultation and the experts at Nuvo Spine will get you headed in the right direction and on the road to recovery!

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