Facts About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – CRPS

Facts About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – CRPS

Complex Regional Pain SyndromeComplex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), otherwise known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (RSD) is a painful condition that most often affects one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands, or feet), usually after an injury or trauma to that limb. In some cases the condition is mild, in some it is moderate, and in others it is severe.

CRPS can be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body.

Here are some common facts about CRPS:

• There are two similar forms of complex regional pain syndrome, called CRPS-I and CRPS-II. CRPS-I (previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome) are individuals without unconfirmed nerve injuries. CRPS-II (previously known as causalgia) are patients that have confirmed or diagnosed nerve injuries. Anyone can be diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome and it can affect both men and women at any age. CRPS is rarely found in the elderly and children.

• Complex regional pain syndrome occasionally may spread from its source to elsewhere in the body, such as the opposite limb. Signs and symptoms may persist for months to years. Treatment is likely to be most effective when started early in the course of the illness.

• The majority of patients are between 30 and 55 years of age (average 45 years). Women are affected three times more commonly than men. Cigarette smoking is statistically linked to RSD.

• A bone scan, x-ray, MRI, or a nervous system test may reveal if a person has complex regional pain syndrome.

• A series of treatments is usually done to improve the symptoms. Treatment is usually done through the use of medication therapy, and sympathetic or other nerve blocks that will help relieve the pain of CRPS or cause the condition to go into remission.

• The condition may take several months to years to settle down. Approximately 75% will return to normal or near-normal. About 15% have moderate permanent disability and about 10% have severe permanent disability.50% of patients with untreated symptoms lasting for more than 1 year will have profound residual impairment.