Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
What you need to know about
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Excessive and prolonged pain and inflammation following an injury to an arm or leg are referred to as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Acute (recent, short-term) and chronic (lasting more than six months) versions of CRPS exist. Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and causalgia were previously used to describe CRPS. People with CRPS experience a variety of spontaneous or excessive pain that is significantly more than normal in response to something as simple as a touch. Changes in skin colour, warmth, and/or swelling on the arm or leg below the injury site are further signs. Although most people’s CRPS improves over time and eventually goes away, the uncommon severe or chronic episodes are extremely disabling.
The peripheral C-fiber nerve fibres that transmit pain messages to the brain are responsible for the majority of CRPS diseases. Their excessive firing also causes inflammation, which helps the body mend and rest after an injury. The nerve injury may be visible in some persons, but in others, a specialist may be required to locate and treat the lesion.
- When the exact nerve affected was unknown, persons were previously categorised as having CRPS-I (formerly known as RSD).
- People with CRPS-II are diagnosed after a specialist determines which nerve was affected (previously known as causalgia). Many persons with CRPS-II have more serious injuries that affect nerves that travel to muscles (motor nerves), causing weakness and muscle shrinking in specific places, making it easier to diagnose. The movement of muscles under conscious control, such as those used for walking, gripping objects, or talking, is controlled by motor nerves.
Because both types of CRPS have the same symptoms, nerve injury could be the reason. However, nerve injuries in CPRS I are usually more modest and go undiagnosed.
CRPS is more common in women, but it can affect anyone at any age, peaking around the age of 40. It’s uncommon in the elderly, who have less inflammation after an accident, and in small children, who heal so quickly.
CRPS has a wide range of outcomes:
- Most ailments are minor, and the affected nerve regenerates over months to years. If this does not occur, symptoms may persist, resulting in long-term incapacity.
- The result is determined by the degree of the initial injury as well as the person’s overall and nerve health. Younger people, children, and teenagers, as well as older adults with adequate circulation and nutrition, usually always recover. Smoking, as well as diabetes and prior chemotherapy, are substantial hindrances to nerve regeneration. Removing impediments to healing improves recovery chances and quickness.
- Despite treatment, a small percentage of people suffer from long-term severe pain and disability. This could signal underlying distinct issues that are interfering with recovery and necessitate further testing and treatment.
CRPS is difficult to treat due to the wide range of symptoms, the fact that symptoms can fluctuate over time, and the difficulty in determining a cause in some cases. There is no remedy for CRPS that works quickly.