Complex regional pain syndromeComplex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition, causing pain, stiffness, swelling and discolouration of a limb, commonly after an injury to that area. There are two types:
- Type 1 occurs after an illness or injury - even that may not have directly damaged a nerve in the affected limb.
- Type 2 follows a distinct nerve injury in that particular limb.
What are the causes of complex regional pain syndrome?
Depending on the type, complex regional pain syndrome is triggered by an injury or illness, or forceful trauma to the affected limb. The cause of CPRS is believed to be a malfunctioning of the peripheral and central nervous systems and an inappropriate inflammatory response.
CRPS most typically starts in one of the arms or legs and beyond chronic pain, swelling and discolouration, symptoms may include:
- Difficulty moving the arm or leg due to joint stiffness
- Temperature changes in the skin of the affected area
- Changes in the texture of the skin in the affected area
- Changes in nail or hair growth
In other cases where a compressed or entrapped nerve may be the cause for pain, surgery may be done to relieve this. Other treatment options include spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal drug pumps. These pumps supply continuous doses of pain medications to the spinal cord to alleviate the pain experienced. Be sure to make an appointment with a specialist at the Garden Route Hand Unit if you are suffering from CRPS to see how best your condition can be managed.