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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS, is a chronic pain condition, that can affect any part of the body. CRPS is also know as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or Causalgia.

CRPS is associated with severe sensitivity to types of stimulation that are not usually painful such as a light touch, or slight pressure. Excessive sweating, swelling, discoloration and coolness or warmth of the limb may occur due to dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Symptoms

The intense pain associated with CRPS is out of proportion to any associated injury and intensifies over time, spreading throughout the limb and potentially to the limb on the opposite side of the body. Although CRPS is, in many ways, an unpredictable disease, it typically progresses in three stages.

Stage One - Skin temperature switches from hot to cold. Hair and nails begin to grow faster. Muscle spasms and joint pain are present, with intense sensitivity. The slightest touch or movement of the air causes the pain to flair. The skin pales, reddens, or becomes blotchy and is covered by a sheen of sweat. Swelling is also likely.

Stage Two – Changes to the skin worsen. The nails crack and break easily. Hair growth slows. Joints stiffen, and the muscles begin to weaken. All sensations of pain become more severe.

Stage Three - Range of motion becomes limited as the tendons contract, and the muscles tighten and begin to waste. Pain continues to be present throughout the limb.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

A clear diagnosis of CRPS is based on clinical grounds; early medical attention and treatment is vital. If caught in stage one, symptoms can go into remission. The longer CRPS is present, however, the more likely its damage will be permanent.

Standard treatments will include physical and occupational therapy. Injections, medications and other therapies can be used to control pain and improve function.

Meet Our Neurologists

At Neurological Associates of West Los Angeles our neurologists specialize in the treatment and diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome.  Dr. JordanDr. O’Connor and Dr. Chang all treat patients with complex regional pain syndrome.  If you have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and need a specialist contact one of them to schedule an appointment 310-829-5968.