Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes and Remedies

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) may have a complicated name, but its effect is simple: severe pain and other symptoms that can have a serious impact on a patient’s quality of life.

Symptoms of CRPS

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Health, CRPS typically involves chronic pain in an arm or a leg, but it can occur in any part of the body.

When CRPS arises after an injury to a specific part of the body, that area may begin to feel pain that is out of proportion to the original injury. The pain may spread through the affected limb or body part, or the corresponding limb on the other side of the body, and it may get worse with time.

Symptoms can develop in stages or all at once. They include joint pain, muscle spasms, changes in hair and nail growth, contracted tendons and muscles, and severe pain.

Causes of CRPS

CPRS often starts with an injury. A workplace injury, especially one to an arm or a leg, could begin a sequence of physiological events that lead to CRPS.

Although CRPS can occur at a younger age, it is most common between 40 and 60.

Remedies for CRPS

Unfortunately, there is no cure for CRPS, but doctors have developed strategies for managing symptoms and slowing the syndrome’s progress. Treatments include physical and occupational therapy, including exercise; pain medications, bone-loss medications, blood-pressure medications and steroids; invasive or surgical techniques; and therapy to help manage chronic pain.

With early diagnosis, the outcome of complex regional pain syndrome improves. This is why it is so important to consult a physician if you are experiencing the symptoms of CRPS, particularly if you have recently suffered a workplace injury.