Some common facts about Complex Regional Pain

Thanks to our modern science which helped us know a lot about CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome). CRPS is basically a pain condition that effects limbs like feet, hand, legs and arms especially after a trauma or injury. In some cases it is mild, some its moderate and in other cases it is severe too.

CRPS can occur due to malfunction or damage of central or peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system comprise of spinal cord and brain and peripheral nervous system consists of nerve signaling via spinal cord and brain to the entire body.

Some common facts about CRPS are

The pain is not directly associated to range of damage or injury

The pain that occurs in case of CRPS can be unbearable without affecting much to tissue health. Remember this pain part of protection of the body on its own and doesn’t indicate any tissue damage.

The limb that is affected can feel different from the way it actually looks

Here temperature and size are included. It also feels like detaches, not mine, doesn’t belong to me . The loss of sensation of owning the limb occurs as brain produces this sense, but brain can also regulate it.

The symptoms absolutely can change depending on how you feel and your mood

Stress can increase the pain. This is because of identified threat to the individual triggering  protection.

Looking at someone who can move their body part leads to depression or hurt you

The brain imitates the similar movement leading to actual pain.

Change in color of limb because of change in blood flow

The ANS (automatic nervous system) controls our blood flow. This system answers to identified threat – fright, flight, freeze.  In simple words this system responds to what and how we think. When it is a embarrassing situation for us we turn to red.  This is due to how we though of that situation. The ANS becomes sensitive, and is asoosciated with CRPS – sweaty palms, changed sense regarding size and color change.

The women are affected almost 3 times more than men. A series of CRPS  treatment is conducted normally to improve symptoms of CRPS. A MRI, x-ray, bone scan or a test of nervous system can help a person know if he/s she has CRPS.

A majority of CRPS patients within the age group of 30-55 years and CRPS can spread occasionally from one part to another anywhere in our body like opposite limb. Symptoms and signs exists from months and extend to years and treatment is only effective when started in initial stages of the disease.

The condition takes several to many years to improve. Approx 75% of patients get back to normal condition whereas some near normal. About 15 per cent have permanent diability(moderate) and 10% cases suffer from permanent diability(severe). Fifty percent of people who remain untreated end up facing extreme residual impairement.

It is better to get your CRPS condition treated in early stages of illness to avoid severe impairment.

Drugs and treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Remission and improvement of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is absolutely possible if you start the treatment within first couple of months of first symptoms that you notice. Combining different therapies is essential. Your doctor can customize the treatment for you depending on your medical condition. The treatments for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome comprise of the following


Doctors may use different types of medications to treat Complex Regional Pain Syndrome symptoms they are

Anticonvulsants/Antidepressants- sometimes anticonvulsants like gabapentin or antidepressants like Amitriptyline are used for treating pain that occurs due to nerve damage.

Pain Relievers- OTC pain relievers like ibuprofen, Motrin B, Naproxen and aspirin can help ease inflammation and pain. Your doctor might prescribe strong pain relievers in case OTC is not effective. Opioid medication is another option, which when taken in right doses can provide relief in case of unbearable pain.

Medication for bone loss- your doctor can suggest medications that help in preventing or slow bone loss.

Intravenous Ketamine- studies say that taking intravenous ketamine in low doses can help eliminate pain as it is a strong anesthetic.

Corticosteroids- medications related to steroids like prednisone helps improve the movement of affected limb and also reduces inflammation.


Topical analgesics- topical treatments help decrease the hypersensitivity like capsaicin cream etc.

Physical therapy- very gentle and properly guided exercising of your affected limb can help reduce pain, improve mobility and strength. In case the disease is detected in its early stage, there are many exercises that can prove to be quite helpful.

Applying cold and heat- Application of cold packs and reduce sweating and swelling. Applying heat is useful if the area that is affected is cool.

Biofeedback- for some patients learning techniques used in biofeedback can help. Biofeedback helps you learn more about your body and you can help your body relax and eliminate pain.

Stimulation of Spinal Cord- tiny electrodes are inserted by the doctor along the spinal cord. Electric current (small) sent to your spinal cord gives relief from pain.

Physiotherapy- it helps with flexibility, strength, balance, regaining the muscle mass, cardiovascular conditioning and the therapy is very effective in treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Relaxation techniques- the techniques help reduce anxiety, depression, anger, calms the body. It helps treating pain without any drugs.

Yoga- some yoga postures are also helpful in relieving pain but yoga should be done under the supervision of a trained yoga instructor.

Well it is always better to treat the condition in its early stages as if the pain becomes chronic, each treatment takes longer period of time to show results. The treatments work well when the symptoms are treated in the beginning itself. In severe cases some people also need surgery, but otherwise the above mentioned medications and therapies are quite effective in relieving pain.

Make sure you follow a healthy lifestyle and maintain a good exercise routine and be stress free to fight the symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. You can meditate to be stress free.

Learning about causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a disease and is a nerve disorder which is rare. Its symptoms start with intense pain that can arise in legs, hands, feet and hands. It happens when you come across a serious injury to the nerve or tissue of the area which is affected. The pain increases and often captures leg or arm. Some changes noticed in areas that get affected post the disorder is sudden changes in temperature and color of the skin. Other symptoms are burning pain which is very intense, skin sensitivity, sweating and swelling.

The theory written for the cause of this condition says it is because of triggering of our immune system, which causes inflammation in the area that is affected. Various symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome are

The affected area gets sensitive to touch

Change in texture of the skin

Painful and burning sensation in area which gets affected

Movement loss in affected area

Muscle weakness and pain

Change in color of the skin

Affected area gets sensitive o sometimes touch and sometimes to temperature.

Even if the disorder is not very common, the doctors are very much aware about this condition. The doctors diagnose based on the result of pain symptoms and physical examination. The above stated symptoms help doctor diagnose the problem correctly. The doctors also take other test like thermography, sweat test, tests for sympathetic nervous system. The disease can be diagnosed but there is not test that determines the disease Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Two types CRPS are

Type one CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) – this type of disorder is caused because of injuries of ankles which get sprained or fractured. The nerve damage in this case is minimal.

Type two Complex Regional Pain Syndrome- this type of disorder is caused due to serious injuries where the nerve damage is quite serious like a broken bone or infection. Though it is rare there is a solution to this condition and doctors suggest sympathetic block, which involves anesthesia injection that helps in obstructing signals. Counseling and physiotherapy also helps many times. If the disorder is detected in its early stages the pain can be prevented from recurring through relevant treatments.

The disease affects women that fall under the age of forty to sixty. During advance stages a mere touch on the part that is affected or exposure to change in temperature increases the pain which is unbearable. Some people get frequent attacks while some are lucky and the pain disappears completely after a couple of months. There are also some symptoms which are extreme and visible such as growth of hair and nail. The growth is at either abnormal speed or is very slow.

Some people also experience clammy hands due to excessive sweating. If you notice symptoms being mentioned above it is better to consult your doctor immediately in order to get timely treatment which can help you reduce pain and stop pain from recurring.

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