Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that causes symptoms such as severe burning pain usually in one side of the body, particularly the hand, arm, leg, and foot. A person with CRPS most likely has extremely sensitive nerves that overreact when touched. The pain that patients with CRPS feel is not proportionate to the cause. For instance, a light touch may produce intense pain. Mild to moderate temperature changes may also produce the same reaction.
Doctors believe this condition is caused by either a malfunctioning of the nervous system or nerve damage as a result of an injury or surgery. Patients with CRPS share a common history of traumatic injury and surgery, and report a worsening of symptoms during periods of high stress and if they smoke cigarettes.
Symptoms of CRPS
The symptoms of CRPS include swelling, intense pain that is either throbbing or burning, a shiny appearance of the skin, and loss of hair in the affected area. Patients also experience a change in the quality of their skin and nails, and may sweat excessively. Temperature regulation is also affected, with patients reporting feeling unusually hotter or colder than normal in response to environmental temperatures. Other symptoms include muscle spasms and tremors, joint stiffness and weakness, and progressive joint damage and atrophy that can affect mobility.
Patients can receive treatment for CRPS. With proper management of symptoms, patients can live a normal life despite the condition. Patients who receive early treatment tend to have the best results, with many entering a state of remission.
Treatment focuses on the management of pain and includes medication like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, corticosteroids, antidepressants, and anticonvulsants. Physical therapy is also a critical part of treatment because movement can relieve symptoms of CRPS, and for this reason, strengthening exercises should be performed regularly.
Other therapies being used to treat CRPS include temperature therapy, topical analgesics, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator (TENS), and biofeedback therapy. Spinal cord stimulation, intrathecal drug pumps, and nerve blocks may be recommended for pain that does not respond well to other pain management therapies.
No two treatment plans for CRPS are alike, but generally, it involves a combination of any of the aforementioned medications and therapies. Just as CRPS patients can enter a period of remission, symptoms can reappear. For this reason, CRPS treatment requires a comprehensive, on-going approach to bring the patient the best possible care and treatment.
Treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in San Antonio, Texas
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine, our comprehensive rehabilitation services and pain management therapies can help relieve symptoms of CRPS. Our goal is to relieve your symptoms and get you back to as normal a life as possible. We provide our patients with all the information they need about their condition to have a clear understanding of it and make the right decision in terms of treatment.
If you have questions about our services, call the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at (210) 692-7400, or request an appointment online today.