Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS: What we need to know

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic persistent painful condition. The pain is very severe and debilitating and usually affects arms, legs, hands, or feet. The condition commonly develops because of a soft tissue injury, sprain, stroke, or heart attack. Doctors believe that CRPS is a kind of nerve pain due to the dysfunction of the brain, spinal cord, or nerves. The dysfunction causes over-reaction to small pain stimuli. Hence, the condition is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome.

Causes of CRPS

The exact cause of CRPS is still unknown. It develops due to a soft-tissue injury, sprain or strain, surgery, stroke, infections, or a heart attack. CRPS may result from a combination of many factors, such as:

Many factors determine whether someone would develop CRPS or not. For example, genetics, type of injury, region involved, and inappropriate inflammatory or immune response.

Symptoms of CRPS

In case you have complex regional pain syndrome, you would experience the following symptoms:

Diagnosis of CRPS

It isn’t easy to make the diagnosis of CRPS, but the following provide clues to the doctor:

Prognosis of CRPS

Complex regional pain syndrome has no cure. The treatment options only help control the symptoms and perform daily activities. Many treatment options are available for this purpose, and it may take time to make an effective treatment combination.

Treatment of CRPS

Your doctor will recommend a combination of the following treatment options:

Interventional Pain Management

If your pain does not respond to these treatment options, your doctor may recommend interventional pain management. It utilizes various pain-blocking techniques to help perform daily activities. These options include: