Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Nerve pain in neck down arm

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that is believed to be the result of an abnormal functioning of your nerves that causes pain signals that just won’t shut off. Because of this, the syndrome, also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD), and the pain and other symptoms it causes often gets worse over time.

Although sadly there is no cure, there are treatments that can help reduce your symptoms so that you can take back your life.

We’ve put together answers to the most common questions on complex regional pain syndrome, including what it is, common symptoms, and the minimally invasive treatment options that can help you find relief.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is characterized by pain, often burning, in your arms, legs, hands, or feet although it can affect any part of your body. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Changes in skin color, texture and temperature

The syndrome is more common in women than men and seems to peak around the age of 40.

What Causes CRPS?

Although no one truly knows the cause behind the syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome often results after an injury, including fractures and sprain, or following a surgery. When this happens, the pain experienced post injury or surgery is much more intense that you could normally expect during recovery.

A number of factors are believed to play a part in the development of CRPS, including inflammation, your level of pain perception, and dysfunction in the messaging that travels between nerves at the site of your injury. Genetics and autoimmune issues may also be a factor is whether or not you develop the syndrome.

What Does CRPS Feel Like?

The main symptom of CRPS is pain although other symptoms do go hand-in-hand with the often severe problems it causes. With CRPS, you may experience:

  • Worsening pain over time
  • Pain beyond what you would expect with your injury
  • Pain with even light touch
  • Spreading pain, such as moving from your finger to your entire arm or the opposite hand
  • “Burning” pain
  • Swelling that can come and go or remain constant
  • Loss of range of motion or function
  • Tremor
  • Skin that is blotchy, pale, or discolored
  • One extremity that feels warmer or cooler than the opposite side
  • Shiny or thin skin
  • Excessive sweating
  • Lack of hair growth or rapid growth

These symptoms usually start four to six weeks after you’ve been injured or undergone surgery.

Treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

At Cahaba Pain and Spine Care, our Board Certified Pain Physicians specialize in the care and treatment of patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome. Treatment options for CRPS include:

Although these minimally invasive techniques are not a cure of CRPS, they can help you find the relief you’ve been searching for so that you can enjoy your life again.

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you or someone you know is suffering from complex regional pain syndrome, call Cahaba Pain and Spine Care and schedule an appointment today.