Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition. It used to be known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. When a patient suffers from this condition, his or her nervous system sends high-intensity signals to the site. This creates painful symptoms that can become worse over time and eventually be so severe that even the mildest stimulation causes intense pain. It is believed that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is caused by a dysfunction in the nervous system and could be due to issues with either the central of peripheral nervous system. Patients with CRPS are most often between the ages of 20 and 35 and more often female. However, the condition does occur in male patients as well as children. Chronic pain management can be beneficial to patients suffering from CRPS.

What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a type of severe or chronic pain in the arm or leg. Usually, it occurs after a surgery, injury or stroke. The pain is more severe than the original injury. It’s characterized by joint inflammation and stiffness, changes in skin texture and color, a persistent throbbing pain or a burning sensation. It may also be accompanied by muscle weakness and atrophy.

What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

While the causes of complex regional pain syndrome are still being investigated, many researchers and scientists believe it’s due to an injury, trauma or abnormal functioning of the central nervous system. This condition is divided into two categories, each one having various causes:

  • Type 1: This type is also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD). It happens after an injury or illness that didn’t affect the nerves of the limb now having chronic pain. It’s the most common type of CRPS.
  • Type 2: This issue is caused by an injured nerve on the affected limb. It’s also called causalgia, and it has the same kinds of symptoms as Type 1.

The causes identified during complex regional pain syndrome diagnosis in NJ include:

  • A crushing injury, including an amputation or fracture
  • A heart attack
  • Infection
  • A sprained ankle

What Are the Solutions for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Pain Management in NJ?

After careful examination, the following therapies may be used for complex regional pain syndrome pain relief in NJ:

  • Medications: Different types of drugs are used to treat CRPS, including non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, corticosteroids that treat edema and swelling and drugs that treat seizures and depression.
  • Physical therapy: An exercise program that keeps the painful limb moving to increase the flow of blood and reduce the effects of poor circulation tends to help.
  • Psychotherapy: Since the painful and numbing conditions associated with complex regional pain syndrome negatively affect the minds of patients, it’s necessary to also treat conditions like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Treating such conditions can hasten the recovery for people with CRPS.
  • Sympathetic block: This procedure is one in which anesthetic is injected into or around the sympathetic nerves, improving mobility and helping to reduce pain and swelling of the nerves.
  • Spinal cord stimulation: A minor surgery may be used to place electrodes under the skin near the spinal cord to stimulate the painful area with a tingling sensation.
  • Radiofrequency ablation of the sympathetic ganglia: This minimally invasive procedure deadens nerve fibers transporting pain signals to the brain, essentially eliminating pain and providing long-lasting relief.
  • Intrathecal drug pumps: These special devices can pump the pain relief medications into the fluid that surrounds the spinal cord. This process allows lower doses of these medications to be used, and it reduces side effects associated with the drug.

Contact Spine Institute of North America for more information about diagnosis and treatment.

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