CRPS, abbreviated as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a disorder causing 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. It is important to see your doctor if you feel any symptoms, as CRPS can be treated if detected early. Feel free to call us to fix an appointment with our specialists.
Symptoms, however, can vary from individual to individual. It’s crucial to identify the condition at the right time. When one begins to see symptoms such as the affected limb getting pale and changes in the nail & skin, the condition becomes irreversible.
One may spot CRPS by the following signs and symptoms:
Diagnosis for CRPS is done 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:
A dynamic phase bone scan may help monitor changes in the bone. The test is done by injecting a radioactive substance in the patient’s veins that can be seen through a special camera.
This test is done by measuring the amount of sweat produced on both limbs. In case of uneven results on each limb, CRPS is suspected.
MRI is an imaging test that can help detect any changes in tissues of the limbs that CRPS could cause.
CRPS causes loss of minerals from the bones of the affected limbs. X-rays, a diagnostic test, can help detect bone mineral losses.
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 certain preventive measures to help in avoiding CRPS.
The following may help in reducing the chances of CRPS:
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.
There is a limited application for surgical sympathectomy procedures (removing part of the chain of sympathetic ganglia on the side of the spine) in the treatment of RSD. The treatment options include sympathetic blocks with regional anaesthetic 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 management of CRPS with analgesia and functional restoration along with simultaneous sympatholysis to provide unambiguous evidence of sympathetically maintained pain. After sympatholysis is found to be effective in reducing both the burning dysesthesia and the allodynia or hyperalgesia, it is important 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.
Padda Institute has one of the most experienced specialists for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) in St. Louis & the Bridgeton area. We work together as a team to ensure the patient’s successful recovery.