Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment

Overview

CRPS, abbreviated as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a chronic syndrome. This disorder causes certain clinical conditions, chronic pain being the primary one. This form of chronic pain typically affects the arms and legs and is of two types – Type I CRPS and Type II CRPS. Type I CRPS occurs due to trauma, while Type II CRPS is caused by nerve injury in the limbs, stroke, surgery, and sometimes even heart attack.

Several terms, such as – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Algodystrophy, and Causalgia, have been used for this chronic pain condition. However, since 1995, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has been used as the standard term. See your doctor if you feel any symptoms, as CRPS can be treated with medications if detected early. Feel free to call us to fix an appointment with our specialists.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment

Complex Regional Pain Disorder: Signs & Symptoms

Symptoms, however, can vary from individual to individual. It’s crucial to identify the condition at the right time. The situation becomes irreversible when one begins to see signs such as the affected limb getting pale and changes in the nail & skin.

One may spot CRPS symptoms:

  • Continuous burning pain in the limbs – arm, leg, hand, and foot
  • Noticeable change in the temperature of the affected area
  • Sensitivity to cold and touch
  • Swelling and inflammation in the affected area
  • Changes in skin and nail
  • Stiffness or swelling of joints
  • Sensory disturbances such as strange or dislocated feelings in the limbs
  • Inability to effectively move the affected body part
  • Alterations in skin temperature from sweaty to cold
  • Alterations in skin color – changing from white to red and blue
  • Weakness, muscle spasms, and cramps
  • Sleep deprivation due to the enormous pain
complex pain syndrome

What Are The Causes?

It is hard to state one specific cause of Complex Regional Pain Disorder. However, typically, CRPS occurs due to a trauma or an injury to the arm/leg and even due to abnormalities in the nervous system.

  • Type I CRPS can occur due to illness and an indirect injury to the limb
  • Type II CRPS occurs as a result of direct damage to the nerves

Surgeries, heart attacks, ankle sprains, and even infections may cause Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. However, not all such cases would compulsorily lead to CRPS, which is why there’s no specific explanation as to how certain injuries cause CRPS.

When to See a Doctor?

It is important to note that the cure for any disorder or condition depends on how early it has been detected. Likewise, it’s vital to check complex regional pain syndrome stages and get it treated by a complex regional pain syndrome specialist early to get the best results.

  • It’s best to see a specialist as and when
  • You experience constant severe pain in the limbs
  • The constant change in temperature of the affected area
  • Swelling, redness, and hypersensitivity in the affected area
  • Difficulty in moving the affected limb

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Diagnosis

Diagnosis and CRPS medication is made depending on its history and present state. However, detecting the CRPS of RSD depends on the patient’s physical exam and medical history. It can’t be diagnosed using a single test, but multiple procedures might help shed light on the condition. Your doctor might order the following tests to determine the disorder:

Dynamic Phase Bone Scan

A dynamic phase bone scan may help monitor changes in the bone. The test is done by injecting a radioactive substance into the patient’s veins that can be seen through a particular camera.

Sweat Production Test

This test measures the amount of sweat produced on both limbs. In case of uneven results on each stem, CRPS is suspected.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging

MRI is an imaging test that can help detect any changes in tissues of the limbs that CRPS could cause.

X-Ray

CRPS causes loss of minerals from the bones of the affected limbs. X-rays, a diagnostic test, can help detect bone mineral losses.

Prevention

There’s an age-old phrase, “prevention is better than cure” while it may not always be humanly possible to stop the inevitable, one can always take specific preventive measures to help avoid CRPS.

The following may help in reducing the chances of CRPS:

  • Vitamin C after a Wrist Fracture – High dose of vitamin C post wrist fracture is proven to lower the chances of getting CRPS.
  • Mobilization – Remaining bedridden even after a stroke can cause more harm than good. Hence early mobilization, i.e., resuming movements and walking after recovering from the stroke, reduces the risk of CRPS.

Treatment At Padda Institute

CRPS or RSD can be treated if diagnosed early in the first six months to a maximum of 2 years. Padda Institute center for interventional pain management offers long-term relief procedures for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment.

There is a limited application for surgical sympathectomy procedures (removing part of the chain of sympathetic ganglia on the side of the spine) in treating RSD. There are dedicated treatments for crps in foot. The treatment options include sympathetic blocks with regional anesthetic techniques, radiofrequency thermoneurolysis, or neuromodulation with spinal cord or peripheral nerve stimulation.

The radiofrequency neurolysis method provides added safety to a continuous regional sympathetic or neurolytic block in providing long-term relief. The purpose of sympathetic blocks is to facilitate the CRPS pain management with analgesia and functional restoration along with simultaneous sympatholysis to provide unambiguous evidence of sympathetically maintained pain. After sympatholysis effectively reduces burning dysesthesia and allodynia or hyperalgesia, it is essential to repeat the procedure to see if the duration of the effects becomes longer for any particular patient. These individual blocks may be all that is necessary for a patient to regain their abilities. If sympatholysis effectively relieves symptoms and facilitates exercise therapy, but its duration is limited, a radiofrequency neurolysis block may be an option.

The application of radiofrequency has been described for lesioning the cervical sympathetic chain, the thoracic sympathetic chain, and the lumbar sympathetic chain, as well as for treating neuropathic pain in CRPS I and II.

Experts at Padda Institute

Padda Institute takes pride in being one of the most experienced complex regional pain syndrome specialists in St. Louis & the Bridgeton area. We work together to find new treatments for crps and ensure the patient’s successful recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

There is a high probability that CRPS will spread in some cases, although it is not very common. In most cases, CRPS spreads to nearby areas. For example, if you have CRPS in your arm, it may spread to your hand or shoulder. Pain in your leg or foot may spread to your buttocks or foot.

Yes, there is a wide range of medications that help reduce the pain caused by CRPS . However, it is crucial to have a good diagnosis from a specialist before taking one prescription over the other.

Yes, nerve blocks have been shown to be successful in treating CRPS; however, they may not consistently work. An individual’s response to treatment depends on the person and the variables surrounding their specific case of CRPS.

Unfortunately, CRPS won’t just go. Early detection and treatment are essential because of this. It is crucial to visit a doctor if there is a chance that a person might just have CRPS since in certain circumstances, the condition might remain untreated for years.

Using cold and hot contrast therapy or ice application is generally NOT advised for people with CRPS.

Yes, a lot of CRPS patients struggle with excessive sweating. This involves excessive or no perspiration. If CRPS is diagnosed it is very normal to experience both extremes occasionally.

This question does not have a universal answer. CRPS may go into remission or a person may live with the condition for the rest of their lives depending on a number of factors.

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