Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS

CRPS is a condition that affects both the arms and legs. Pain symptoms that occur in this limbs usually feels like a burning, aching pain and to be swollen. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can cause the skin to change in color or texture or become thin with rapid hair growth or loss and sweating in the affect area of pain. Each patient is different and feels a different variety of these symptoms to a different degree.

CRPS may sometimes have moments of intense severity of pain. This condition usually develops after harm has been caused to the area in which pain and symptoms are being felt. Dealing with chronic pain can cause emotional stress which in turn can cause the pain to become worse. In some cases, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has been known to affect the opposite limb as well.

Finding a physician that specializes in this type of pain management can be beneficial to managing your symptoms. If you are experiencing any of the following, a pain specialist will be able to assist:

  • Hypersensitivity caused by touch or cold temperatures
  • Less ability to use motor functions
  • Swelling in Joints
  • Changes in hair such as rapid growth
  • Skin changes in color, texture or develops a shiny gloss, sweating in areas of pain
  • Pain that is described as throbbing or burning

The causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome are usually from trauma that has occurred to the limb. Amputation, heart attacks, infections, fractures or sprains are just some of the ways that CRPS is developed. Dysfunction in the nervous system can trigger inflammation causing CRPS to occur when emotional stress is present. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is thought to also be caused by immune responses. When the healing process becomes disrupted, then symptoms begin to occur such as swelling, sweating and burning in the affected area.

There are two different types of CRPS. Type 1 is the most common Complex Regional Pain Syndrome to have. Type 1 is present after an illness or injury. Patients tend to become sensitive to all chemicals that help to send messages to the nervous system. This is often referred to as “fight or flight”. Type 2 occurs after direct nerve damage.

Unfortunately there is no way to diagnose Complex Regional Pain Syndrome directly. Testing is usually done by nervous system test, Bone scans, and MRIs. Finding an expert in the field is the best step to evaluate you and learn about your history.

Risk Factors

Finding a specialist when it comes to any condition is important, CRPS is no different. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome if not treated can become immobilizing. This happens due to loss of valuable tissues and muscle mass. Seeking help as soon as symptoms occur is critical. Once limbs begin to be affected it is virtually irreversible.

Pain Management for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

CRPS is best treated in the early stages when symptoms occur. Hot and cool applications help and analgesics that can be done at home as part of an ongoing treatment plan. Physical Therapy is vital to maintaining strength and mobility in the limbs. For pain relief, Stellate Ganglion Block, Lumbar Sympathetic Block, Nerve-blocking medication and bone loss medication are just a few of the pain management treatments for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

At Pohlman Pain Associates we are determined to learn your history and develop the proper treatment plan for each patient in order to maintain and sustain pain levels.

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