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What causes complex regional pain syndrome?

On Behalf of | Dec 2, 2022 | Workers' Compensation

Complex regional pain syndrome is a condition of chronic pain. Physicians are still discovering much about the ailment and its causes.

However, CRPS tends to occur in various circumstances and may result from the action or negligence of another person.

What are the symptoms of CRPS?

CRPS tends to develop after an injury, such as a work accident. The pain is most common in an arm or leg, and the sensation is disproportionate to the original injury. Sufferers may experience symptoms of CRPS after a heart attack, stroke or surgery.

Scientists and doctors do not yet fully understand the causes of CRPS, but quick treatment can alleviate symptoms. Signs of the condition include the following:

  • Throbbing pain or continuous burning in a limb or one of the extremities
  • Stiff joints
  • Muscle spasms and weakness
  • Loss of mobility in the affected body part
  • Changes in skin color, temperature or texture

Symptoms vary by the individual and can change in a patient over time.

How do physicians diagnose the condition?

Doctors consider your medical history and perform tests to diagnose CRPS. No one procedure can make a definitive determination, but a few examinations can help. An MRI, x-rays, sweat production tests and a bone scan may show bodily changes that rule out other conditions and indicate CRPS.

What treatments are available?

Early treatment offers hope of reducing the symptoms of CRPS. Over-the-counter pain relievers can lessen inflammation and reduce pain. Corticosteroids also fight inflammation and aid mobility. Doctors may also try using blood pressure or sympathetic nerve-blocking medications, antidepressants, anticonvulsants or intravenous ketamine.

Various physical therapies might also assist with mobility and pain.

CRPS can lead to lifelong discomfort and emotional struggles. Anyone suspecting the condition benefits by seeking early treatment and trying to determine the cause of the symptoms.