Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition in which a person experiences chronic pain, swelling, changes in skin color, texture, or temperature, and other symptoms. Though there is no cure for complex regional pain syndrome, the right treatment can ease the symptoms and help you get relief while improving your quality of life.
Scientists believe that abnormal nerve functioning results in an overreaction to pain signals that the nervous system cannot shut off. In most cases, CRPS starts after a sprain, fracture, or surgery. For patients who suffer from CRPS, the pain can be very intense and is much more than what is expected during the recovery from a surgery, injury, or fracture.
Usually, CRPS occurs in the extremities such as arms, hands, legs, feet, fingers, or toes. However, a patient can experience CRPS in any part of the body. Unfortunately, many doctors don’t know about CRPS and therefore, CRPS is often misdiagnosed. Consequently, many patients with CRPS don’t get the right or any treatment at all.
Diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
There is no specific test to diagnose CRPS. It is mainly detected by carefully following through medical history, physical examination, and review of the symptoms. It is also taken into account whether the patient had a recent injury, fracture, or surgery.
Doctors usually look for the following symptoms for CRPS diagnosis:
- Whether the intensity of pain in the affected area is higher than expected
- Any change in the skin’s appearance, texture, or temperature in the affected area
- Any other causes or diseases that might cause your pain, changes in the skin, and other symptoms
What is the treatment for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?
Physical therapy: It can help improve blood flow in the affected area and increase flexibility, strength, muscle tone, and functionality.
Occupational therapy: It will make you familiar with new ways to achieve therapeutic benefits of everyday activities or occupations to treat the symptoms.
Psychotherapy: Many patients with CRPS may also benefit from psychotherapy, also called talk therapy. Suffering from CRPS can increase anxiety, stress, or depression which can increase pain further. So, minimizing these mental health problems is important for such patients.
Medications: Although there are no approved medications to treat the symptoms of CRPS, many drugs from different drug classes can be tried. So, your doctor might prescribe topical analgesic creams, patches, and pain-reducing medications.
If you are suffering from severe pain or ongoing CRPS and not responding to the above methods, then your doctor may refer you to a pain management specialist where you can get relief from the following interventional pain management treatments:
Sympathetic nerve block: This treatment can provide significant pain relief to patients with CRPS. This type of block involves injecting an anesthetic next to the spine to directly block or interrupt the pain signal.
Spinal cord stimulation: This treatment is considered only if all other treatment methods fail to produce any results. During this treatment, a pulse generator device is implanted under the skin in the abdomen or buttock and electrodes near the spinal cord. This device sends low-level electrical pulses to the spinal cord to stimulate the nerves where the pain is felt. These electrical pulses interfere with the pain signal sent to the brain.
At Innovative Pain Solutions, we can identify and provide the right pain management solution to help you get relief from Complex regional pain syndrome. To seek CRPS treatment, book an appointment with a renowned and certified pain specialist today.