Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Telltale Signs and Symptoms
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain syndrome that involves a region of the body, often one arm or leg, usually following trauma or injury. CRPS is rare, but can be very disabling, and is not considered normal. CRPS symptoms are much worse than the pain caused from the initial trauma or injury.
Most people with CRPS have constant, severe, burning pain in one part of the body. In severe cases, even the slightest touch can cause significant pain. Symptoms include swelling, changes in skin blood flow and temperature in the body part. Abnormal excessive sweating as changing in growth patterns for hair and nails may also occur.
CRPS is so painful that many people are not able to move the affected body part, which often leads to muscle stiffness, weakness, or atrophy. The less the person moves the limb, the worse the symptoms can become.
We do not know the full cause of CRPS, though it may be caused by changes in the nerves after injury. There is no certain cure for CRPS.
Once you have been diagnosed with CRPS, your doctor will work with you on a treatment plan to reduce pain, regain movement, and restore use of the affected limb.
Intensive physical therapy earlier in the course of the problem helps. Also, interventional procedures, such as stellate ganglion blocks, lumbar sympathetic blocks, or spinal cord stimulation, are performed by an interventional pain physician.
Because living with chronic pain can be hard both physically and mentally, psychosocial support is very important. Counseling, support groups, relaxation training, and other activities can help you cope better with pain even as you undergo treatment.
You and your interventional pain physician can work to reduce your pain, restore your movement, and improve your life.
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