Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: What You Need to Know
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that lasts upwards of six months and that can lead to physical transformations at the injury site. CRPS can vary in duration and degree, but it is an extremely complicated health syndrome that can have profound consequences. If you have been injured in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, seek the professional legal counsel of an experienced Central Texas personal injury attorney today.
What Causes CRPS?
Most cases of CRPS are caused by a triggering event such as an injury or physical trauma. Why one person develops it and another who has sustained similar injuries does not, however, is unclear. There are a variety of common precipitating events:
Sprains or strains
Soft tissue injuries, including cuts, bruises, and burns
Minor medical events such as inoculations
CRPS is an aberrant physical response to an occurrence that typically would not be particularly problematic. A CRPS response can be likened to the way a person with a food allergy reacts to food that most people can enjoy without concern.
Who Is Most Susceptible to CRPS?
Women are most susceptible to the complications of CRPS, but the syndrome can affect almost anyone at almost any age. CRPS cases peak in victims who are 40 years old, and the elderly are rarely affected. Children under the age of 5 are seldom afflicted with CRPS, and those under the age of 10 are rarely affected.
What Are CRPS’s Symptoms?
Severe, prolonged pain that can be constant is the hallmark of CRPS. Many sufferers liken the feeling to one of "pins and needles" or a burning sensation. Other sufferers describe the effects of complex regional pain syndrome as the feeling of the affected area being squeezed.
Further, the pain associated with CRPS can spread. For example, even if the injury that led to CRPS in the first place only affects a small area like a finger or hand, the attendant pain can spread throughout the sufferer’s entire arm. Victims of CRPS can become extremely sensitive to everyday physical contact in the affected region. The physical characteristics common to this syndrome are varied:
Changes in skin texture at the injury site
Abnormal sweat patterns at the injury site and surrounding area
Changes in nail-growth and/or hair-growth patterns in the affected area
Stiffening of joints in the affected area
Decrease in muscle coordination
Abnormal movement in the affected limb