Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a type of persistent pain that usually affects an arm or a leg. CRPS typically appears after an accident, surgery, stroke, or heart attack. The discomfort is far greater than the damage sustained in the initial injury.
Although CRPS is uncommon, the cause isn’t well understood. Treatment works best when started early. In such situations, recovery and even cure are conceivable.
Symptoms of CRPS
Some of the signs and symptoms of CRPS include:
- Continuous burning or throbbing pain, usually in the arm, leg, hand or foot
- Sensitivity to touch or cold
- Swelling of the painful area
- Changes in skin color, ranging from white and blotchy to red or blue
- Changes in skin texture, which may become tender, thin or shiny in the affected area
- Joint stiffness, swelling and damage
- Muscle spasms, tremors and weakness
- Decreased mobility in the affected body part
Symptoms may fluctuate from one person to the next and may vary depending on who you are. Pain, edema, redness, a rise in body temperature, and sensitivity (particularly to cold and touch) are typically the first signs.
The normal temperature of the limb may be lowered over time. It might have skin and nail changes, as well as muscular spasms and toning. When these happen, the condition is generally irreversible.
Causes of CRPS
The underlying cause of CRPS is unknown. It’s been linked to both an injury or a change in the peripheral and central nervous systems, according to some researchers. CRPS generally develops as a result of a trauma or accident.
CRPS occurs in two types, with similar signs and symptoms, but different causes:
- Type 1. This type is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which is caused by an illness or injury that did not affect the nerves in the afflicted limb directly. About 90% of individuals with CRPS have type 1.
- Type 2. This variant was previously known as causalgia. It has symptoms comparable to those of type 1 CRPS, although it develops following a different nerve damage.
A forceful trauma to an arm or a leg is the most common cause of CRPS. A crushing injury or fracture are examples of this. Other significant and minor injuries, such as surgery, heart attacks, infections, and even sprained ankles, can also induce CRPS.
It’s unclear why these traumas might trigger CRPS. Not everyone who suffers one of these injuries will get CRPS. It’s possible that it has to do with a lack of communication between your central and peripheral nervous systems, as well as inflammatory responses that aren’t common.
The GMI Research Centers are researching Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and are seeking new participants to join. Our studies seek to determine the safety and efficacy of an investigatory drug for the treatment of those with the disease. To see if you qualify for our study, be sure to give us a call today.