Also called CRPS, complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic condition that causes widespread pain with no specific, identifiable cause, making diagnosis and treatment problematic. Millions of people suffer from CRPS, which only recently has gained attention from the mainstream medical community.
CRPS causes different symptoms of varying severity. The most common symptoms include:
Some people with CRPS will also experience symptoms like headaches, muscle stiffness, and tenderness.
The underlying causes of CRPS are not known, but researchers know previous injury or surgery can contribute to a less common type of CRPS called type II CRPS or “causalgia.” Men and women with type II CRPS typically develop symptoms nerves are damaged or undergo changes that cause them to become hypersensitive and reactive to even the slightest stimulation. Researchers believe this type of CRPS indicates a potential malfunction in the signaling system within the nervous system, possibly caused by an aberrant inflammatory response following injury. Type 1 CRPS (also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome) is far more common, affecting about 90 percent of CRPS patients. In type I, painful symptoms occur for no known reason and without any prior injury or surgery.
Because the cause of CRPS is unknown, patients may respond differently to different types of therapy, and finding the ideal combination of treatments can take some time. Many patients respond favorably to injections of medications near the sites of pain to reduce inflammation and irritation and to block nerve signals so sensations of pain are diminished. Recent research has shown spine stimulator implants can also be very effective in providing relief for CRPS in many patients. Use of antidepressant medications and therapy are also useful in helping patients learn coping strategies as well as assisting them in managing stress.
*Individual Results May Vary