Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is either acute or chronic pain in the arm or leg. The common cause is ongoing firing of a nerve in the arm or leg which develops inflammation and pain.
In this article we will discuss the causes, symptoms and treatments of CRPS.
Types of CRPS & Diagnosis:
CRPS may seem tricky at first due to the fact that there are multiple names for the nerve pain condition. Let’s dissect that now. CRPS was also called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD for short) as well as causalgia. However, their cause is nearly the same: The C-fiber nerves firing too often causing inflammation and nerve damage.
Once diagnosed, a patient either has CRPS-I (previously referred to as RSD) or CRPS-II (previously called causalgia).
CRPS-I: When there is uncertainty about the exact nerve causing the pain.
CRPS-II: When the nerves can be identified because they are more damaged, causing muscle shrinkage in some areas.
Symptoms are widely varied and can include enlargement or shrinkage of a limb or muscle. Hair and nails on the affected limb may grow very quickly or not at all. There may be changes in skin color, temperature, texture and swelling on the affected limb.
Causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome:
CRPS typically comes on due to an injury that effects the C-fiber nerves. While this can happen to anyone at any age, the resulting inflammation causes the most damage in people around 40 years old. Younger people heal up faster, and older people have less inflammation. If the inflammation cannot be reduced because the nerve won’t stop sending messages, then nerve damage can occur.
What to Expect with Treatment
The exact damage to nerves and injuries sustained that caused the CRPS make treatment quite variable. Some possibilities include physical therapy, spinal cord stimulator, holistic therapies, sympathetic nerve block, medications and many more.
Just as with variety in treatment, there is a variety in recovery expectations. If the nerve regrows, then the condition is more mild and a patient may recover in a few months to a few years. However, certain things block the speed of healing, such as diabetes, smoking, previous chemotherapy treatment, and poor nutrition. In some cases, patients may end up with disabilities. This is typically due to some of the healing blockers mentioned above.
Call us so we can set up an appointment to discuss your options for chronic pain treatment. Dr Henriquez strives to provide an approach for personal and compassionate care.
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