Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that causes chronic pain, and typically occurs following trauma or an injury to an arm or leg. The primary symptom is pain which can be constant and ranges from very uncomfortable to severe. Many people who suffer with CRPS describe it as a feeling of pins and needles or severe burning and it often radiates to the entire affected limb.
In some people, the area becomes increasingly sensitive to the degree that any touch, no matter how light, results in pain. Due to the differences in treatment effectiveness among patients, pain management doctors with an expertise in treating the condition have more resources for providing relief.
While pain can only be measured according to the description of the person experiencing it, there is no disagreement about the severity of pain experienced with CRPS. Children as young as 10 years old and teens can suffer from the condition and one girl described her pain as being “more painful than an amputation without an anesthetic”. Regular activities like taking a shower can turn into traumatic events that are almost impossible to endure. In the most severe cases, loss of use of the affected limb can occur.
The low incidence of CRPS has complicated the diagnosis of the condition, with many who experience the symptoms being told it is “all in their head”. To further complicate matters, diagnosis is made based on the individual’s symptoms and their medical history. At the pain center, you will see the best pain management doctors in the region, with experience and compassion for treating CRPS patients.
Recognizing Symptoms of CRPS
When the condition occurs as the result of an injury, the resulting pain is much greater than the degree of injury itself. Addition symptoms include:
• Changes in skin color in the area of injury
• Changes in skin texture
• Swelling or stiffness of the joints
• Muscle weakness and/or muscle spasms
• Loss of movement in the affected limb
Early treatment is the key to successful treatment. If you suspect you may have CRPS, you should make an appointment at the pain clinic without waiting. The pain management doctors can evaluate your specific condition and create a treatment plan to address every area of your body that is affected. Types of treatments used for the condition include:
• Injections to block nerves
• Medications for pain relief
• Medications for bone loss
• Antidepressants to treat pain from a damaged nerve
• Therapies to reduce symptoms of inflammation and pain
• Spinal cord stimulation which uses electrical current to change brain perception of pain
Any person who is living with any degree of pain deserves understanding and compassion. Those with severe CRPS often face a greater challenge to managing their pain and maintaining the same quality of life that they had previous to acquiring the condition. Pain management doctors offer comprehensive and personalized treatment plans to address the symptoms and the situation of the individual.