What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
CRPS affects limbs that have been subject injury or trauma, the pain caused can last for up to or more than 12 weeks. Medical scientists believe that this condition is mainly caused by the malfunctioning or damaging of the peripheral and/or the central nervous system. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is differentiated by excessive/prolonged pain and an astonishing or subtle change in the color of the skin, fluctuations in body temperature, and swelling of the limb.
The primary symptom of CRPS is constant pain, which can vary from mild or discomforting to excruciating. Some people experience a burning sensation in their limb whereas others feel a sort of needles and pins sensation. The pain can start from the affected area and can spread to the rest of the limb. Mentioned below are some other symptoms of CRPS:
- An alteration in skin texture, the affected area on your limb may appear very thin and/or shiny
- Intense perspiration on the affected region on the limb as well as other areas of the limb
- Nail and hair growth patterns area affected
- Stiffness in the entire limb or the affected area
- Complications in muscle movement, restriction in movement of the limb
- Dystonia or unusual spasms and/or movement of the affected limb, it can also cause consistent jerking and tremors in that lamb
There are several effective treatments for CRPS, which include:
Rehabilitation Therapy: This type of therapy consists of a range of exercises to help keep the movement of the affected limb as smooth as possible by improving blood circulation, gradually eliminating the circulatory symptoms.
Psychotherapy: Another reason or cause for CRPS as well as other chronic pain conditions are varying psychological complications experienced by the individuals who has the problem as well as the mental stress of his/her family. Individuals with this pain disorder often experience depression, anxiety and PTSD. Psychotherapy involves treatments to eliminate these underlying conditions.
Medications: There are a plethora of medications available for effectively relief from CRPS, especially if used earlier on when the disorder develops. However, it is important to understand that a majority of medications prescribed for CRPS has not been approved by the FDA.
Lumbar Sympathetic Block or Stellate Ganglion Blocks – these are outpatient procedures that my block the pain producing nerves and “stop the cycle” of the pain. The lumbar block is for pain in the lower extremities, and the stellate block is for pain in the upper extremities.
Spinal Cord Stimulator Implant – If other treatments fail, this may be an excellent option for getting the pain under control and achieving a successful outcome.
Overall, the earlier CRPS is treated, the better the outcome. Over 75% good to excellent results are obtained if the condition is treated within 2 years of starting!