Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is the result of injury that damages the nerve. CRPS can affect the arms and hands and legs and feet and is described as prolonged, excessive pain accompanied by changes in the skin. The hallmark of the diagnosis is allodynia – pain caused by light touch.
There are two forms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – CRPS I and CRPS II. Both forms display the same symptoms and require the same treatment methods. The difference is CPRS I has no confirmed nerve damage, whereas CRPS II has confirmed damage to the nerve. CRPS can vary greatly in level of severity.
People suffering from CRPS can display any of the following symptoms in varying severity and duration:
- Pins and needles sensation
- Squeezing pressure in the limb
- Changes in skin appearance, texture, and temperature
- Changes in nail and hair growth
- Stiffness in the joints of the affected extremity
- Muscle weakness
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Severe pain to light touch
Diagnosis of CRPS can include:
- Medical history
- Physical examination by your physician
- Bone scan to detect bone changes
- X-ray to determine if boss loss has occurred
- MRI may show tissue changes
- Diagnostic injection
Physicians and researchers are not entirely sure why some people experience CRPS and some do not. For those who experience CRPS after injury, it’s as though the body responds inappropriately to injury and over-reacts to the damage to the nerve – possibly the result of complex chemical makeup of the individual, genetics, or abnormalities in the spinal cord, brain, or sympathetic nervous system.
The outcomes of treatment vary depending on the person. Treatment may include:
If you or a loved one is suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, the physicians at Cedar Hill Pain and Rehab can help determine the cause and find a treatment plan that works for you and improves your quality of life.