Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), a debilitating condition that typically affects the arms, legs, or feet, is usually characterized by unrelenting pain. The patient might have sprained the ankle, had neck, back, or foot surgery or maybe they had knee arthroplasty or a heart attack. Though the exact cause of Complex regional pain syndrome is not well understood, any of these events or an injury to a nerve or tissue has the potential to cause this chronic pain condition.
An overview of the types of Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
CRPS I, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), shows no evidence of nerve damage – it is clearly not nerve-specific and is believed to have been caused due to soft tissue injuries, frozen shoulder, and even a heart attack or stroke. CRPS I has the tendency to travel throughout the body rather than being localized and is said to be a central pain-causing phenomenon.
CRPS II, also known as causalgia, shows signs of peripheral nerve damage where the pain is usually localized to the site of injury. CRPS II usually occurs when there is damage to a specific nerve, and it can happen in various conditions like amputations, soft tissue injury or trauma, nerve crushing, or surgery. Usually, surgeries have a higher risk of causing CRPS II.
Common symptoms of CRPS
Any type of trauma or soft tissue injury is most often seen to cause CRPS, in which the patient suffers from debilitating pain. Although symptoms vary widely in kind, severity, and frequency, these are some common symptoms that you can find in both types of CRPS.
- Patient suffering burning or throbbing pain in the arms, legs, hands, or feet.
- Decreased mobility of patients due to muscle spasms, tremors, weakness, and atrophy.
- Joint stiffness and swelling, hampering normal movements.
- Redness and burning sensation.
- The patient becomes hypersensitive to even the light touch.
- Skin changes like unexplained sweating, sudden body temperature change, body-color change
- Changes in hair and nail color, texture.
Spinal Cord Stimulation for Treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Spinal Cord Stimulation therapy has been proven highly effective for treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and is showing positive results in various cases. In Spinal Cord Stimulation therapy, electrical pulses are delivered in the epidural space at a very low level to block the pain signals even before reaching the brain and replacing them with more pleasant sensations or in some cases with no sensation at all.
If you have tried every other conservative therapy such as physical therapy, medications, and nerve blocks, but nothing seems to work or provide relief, Spinal Cord Stimulation therapy is an excellent option.
CRPS is still an area of ongoing research, and its diagnosis is also complex. But worry not! At WeCare Medical, our group of specialized doctors can help you understand your condition and live an active and healthy lifestyle. Hope you find this post useful.