Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic condition that typically affects the arms or legs and can cause severe pain and inflammation as well as changes in skin color and temperature.
Although there is no known cause of CRPS, the condition typically develops after a traumatic injury, infection, surgery, stroke, or heart attack. CRPS occurs in two types, with Type 1 developing after an illness of injury, and Type 2 (commonly referred to as causalgia) developing after a distinctive injury to the nerves. In some cases, emotional stress has also been considered a precipitating factor.
Signs and symptoms of CRPS may change over time and vary from person to person. The most common symptoms associated with CRPS are pain, inflammation, redness, and hypersensitivity to cold and touch. After a certain period of time, the affected area may become cold and undergo various skin changes (i.e. color, temperature, texture, etc.). Other symptoms of this condition may include:
- Burning or throbbing pain the arms, legs, hands, or feet
- Swelling of the affected area
- Changes in hair and nail growth
- Joint swelling, stiffness, or damage
- Muscle weakness or spasms
- Immobility of the affected body part
Patients should seek treatment immediately after receiving their diagnosis. A combination of therapies may help improve symptoms or slow the progression of complex regional pain syndrome. Treatment options for CRPS may include:
- Medication Management
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS)
- Spinal Cord Stimulation