8 Signs of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

8 Signs of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) – is a pain condition that can be present for a long period of time. Those with this condition have a dysfunction in their central or peripheral nervous systems, causing the system to send frequent or constant pain signals to the brain, which results in the nervous system becoming overactive.

Here are 8 signs that you may have CRPS:

  1. “Burning” pain
  2. Sensitive skin
  3. Changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler compared to other parts of the body)
  4. Changes in skin color (often blotchy, purple, pale or red)
  5. Changes in skin texture (shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty)
  6. Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  7. Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  8. Decreased ability to move the affected body part

Sometimes, you may feel these symptoms in areas of the body other than where you suffered an injury or trauma. This is because the pain can sometimes spread.

While the cause of CRPS is not entirely known, it can come about after an injury such as a sprain or cut, or after a major trauma. Unfortunately, there is no single test that can confirm you have CRPS. Your doctor may examine you, discuss your history, and take other tests such as x-rays, MRI, bone scans, etc. to confirm your diagnosis.

If you are experiencing the symptoms above, seek treatment as soon as possible. The earlier you begin treatment, the better chance you have at recovering from CRPS. Some treatment options may include:

  • Occupational or physical therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Nerve blocks
  • Medication
  • Surgery

If you are feeling symptoms of CRPS in your hand, wrist, arm, elbow or shoulder, visit a hand surgeon. Your surgeon will discuss the best possible treatment options for you. Learn more about CRPS, and find a hand surgeon near you.

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