What is complex regional pain syndrome?
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that typically affects an arm or a leg. The cause of CRPS isn’t completely clear, but it seems to be a problem with the nervous system.
In most cases, CRPS develops following some kind of injury or trauma to the affected limb, such as:
- Sprained ligament
The reason some people develop CRPS when most people don’t isn’t known, but there could be a genetic link.
The pain of complex regional pain syndrome is out of proportion to the severity of the injury that seemed to initially cause it.
What are the symptoms of CRPS?
When you have CRPS, the initial symptoms are burning pain and a "pins and needles" feeling. This could start in your hand or foot, then spread up your arm or leg. The pain can sometimes spread further, such as into your other arm.
You’re likely to notice a change in the color and temperature of your skin and develop a condition called allodynia that makes even the slightest touch feel painful. Some patients experience other problems as well, including hair and nail changes, abnormal sweating, or difficulties moving the affected limb.
The pain of CRPS is often severe and disabling. The condition isn’t curable, but there’s an increasing number of effective treatment options to help you manage your CRPS. Dr. Demangone has specialist expertise in treating patients who have CRPS and can discuss the options with you.
What treatments are available for CRPS?
Initial CRPS treatments typically involve a combination of physical therapies and medication management. Medications used for CRPS include over-the-counter pain relievers (like ibuprofen and aspirin) and prescription opioids. Antidepressants and anticonvulsants can also be effective therapies.
Patients who don’t respond to these initial therapies could undergo other forms of treatment, including injection therapy, infusion therapy, or spinal cord stimulation. Injections may include corticosteroids to reduce pain-causing inflammation. Ketamine can block pain signals that cause CRPS and infusions may be offered if you don’t respond to other treatments.
If you have any symptoms of CRPS, call the expert team at Florida Pain Management Institute today to schedule an appointment or request your visit online.