Excess and prolonged pain and inflammation that follows an injury to an arm or leg is described by the broad term Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).  This syndrome has acute (recent, short-term) and chronic (lasting greater than six months) forms. CRPS used to be known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and causalgia.


CRPS is a form of Chronic Pain

This is a type of Generalized Pain Disorder it’s estimated that Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) affects nearly 200,000 patients annually in the United States. CRPS typically develops after an injury, a surgery, a stroke or a heart attack. 

That is to say, Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition most often affecting one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands, or feet). In addition, it usually occurs after an injury or trauma to that limb. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to the peripheral and central nervous systems. The pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_video link=”https://youtu.be/X-V5WQUbUG0″ align=”center”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Do I Have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Firstly, CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and swelling in the affected area. However, these symptoms vary in severity and duration. Most cases are mild and individuals recover gradually with time.

Certainly, in more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability. The pain may feel like a burning, “pins and needles” sensation, or as if someone is squeezing the affected limb. In addition, the pain may spread to include the entire arm or leg, even though the precipitating injury might have been only to a finger or toe. Pain can sometimes even travel to the opposite extremity. 

For example, there is often increased sensitivity in the affected area, such that even light touch or contact is painful. Other common features of CRPS include changes in skin texture, nail and hair growth patterns, abnormal sweating pattern, stiffness in affected joints, decreased ability to move the affected body part, fixed abnormal posture, and tremors in or jerking of the affected limb. Carolinas Pain Center offers a number of treatment options that may not be available at most clinics. Contact us regarding treatment options such as Perineural Injection Therapy (PIT).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”20624″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” onclick=”custom_link” link=”https://www.carolinaspaincenter.com/category/chronic-pain/”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]



2019 Aug; 123(2): e424–e433. Published online 2019 May 2. doi: 10.1016/j.bja.2019.03.030
2020 Feb; 6(2): e03329. Published online 2020 Feb 19. doi: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2020.e03329