Chronic regional pain syndrome is a type of chronic pain that tends to affect an arm or leg after an injury, surgery, stroke or a heart attack. CRPS is caused by an injury to or an abnormality of the peripheral and central nervous systems and a patient will either have type 1 or type 2. The symptoms of both types of CRPS can include burning or throbbing pain, sensitivity to touch or cold, swelling, changes in skin temperature and color, joint stiffness, muscle spasms, and decreased ability to move the body parts that are affected.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1 and Type 2

CRPS affects the central and peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system consists of the nerves that branch out from the brain and spinal cord. A patient will be diagnosed with CRPS Type 1 when they do not have an injury to either of these systems (this was once known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome). If there is an injury to either of the systems it will be diagnosed as CRPS Type 2 (once known as causalgia). As our research is developing, we are finding that nerve damage is found in patients with CRPS Type 1, and the treatments for both are the same. Soon there may be only a diagnosis of CRPS without a type.

Symptoms in both types of chronic regional pain syndrome can vary in the length and severity. Symptoms can also change over time throughout progression of the condition. CRPS can go away on its own, however in more severe cases it can be lifelong. Anyone can develop CRPS since it is caused by an injury. However, women around 40 are most likely to develop it. It is rare in the elderly and those under 10. 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment Options

There are a variety of treatment options available for chronic regional pain syndrome such as joint injections, medication management, spinal cord stimulation, and ketamine infusions.  Give Professional Pain & Interventional Psychiatry a call today at (214) 441-7369 to find out more. 

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