Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Q & A
What is CRPS?
CRPS is a rare chronic pain condition that usually affects one limb. In most cases, CRPS develops after an injury, causing prolonged pain that's disproportionate to the severity of the injury, although the condition can develop without any obvious physical trauma.
In addition to pain, CRPS causes symptoms including:
- Changes in skin texture and color
- Abnormal hair and nail growth
- Abnormal sweating in the affected area
- Joint stiffness
- Impaired muscle coordination
- Tremors or other abnormal movements
CRPS pain is usually long-lasting and constant. Many patients describe the pain as a burning feeling and also experience a tingling, pins-and-needles sensation.
What Causes CRPS?
Medical researchers believe that CRPS is caused by nerve damage. For example, an injury could cause nerve damage that leads to CRPS. You can, however, also develop CRPS without a nerve injury.
Unfortunately, medical researchers and physicians haven't identified why some patients develop CRPS and others don't.
How is CRPS Diagnosed?
As with other chronic pain conditions, no specific test can identify CRPS. Your doctor at Comprehensive Pain Center uses a physical exam and a variety of tests to evaluate your condition and rule out other conditions that could be causing your symptoms.
For example, your doctor can use blood tests, bone scans, X-rays, MRIs, and sympathetic nervous system tests during your diagnosis.
How is CRPS Treated?
The earlier you start treatment, the better your chances are of pain relief and getting back to your regular activities. The physicians at Comprehensive Pain Center create customized treatment plans to ease or eliminate your pain. Depending on your specific symptoms and the site of your pain, your physician could suggest:
- Steroid injections
- Botox® injections
- Sympathetic nerve blocks
- Physical therapy
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Intrathecal drug pumps
- Nerve ablation
In addition to treating your physical symptoms, the doctors at Comprehensive Pain Center provide psychological assessments and can refer you for counseling. Chronic pain is a common cause of depression and anxiety, and they want to help you heal mentally and emotionally as well as physically.
If chronic pain is disrupting your life, call Comprehensive Pain Center today.