Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
A Progressively Painful Condition Affecting Arms or Legs
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic, painful, progressive condition that affects the skin, muscles, joints, and bones.It most often occurs in adults aged 20 to 40 and generally affects women more than men.Potential causes of CRPS range from minor injuries, such as a sprain, to severe injuries, such as damage to a nerve. Even relatively long periods of immobility, such as would occur with a broken leg, can result in CRPS.
The symptoms of CRPS frequently include severe burning pain and extreme sensitivity to touch in the area of the injury. Swelling, excessive sweating, and changes in the bone and skin tissue may also occur. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek early intervention.
As described above, these symptoms can result in extreme discomfort. Stress often increases the severity of pain. As with any injury or condition, paying attention to the messages your body sends you and seeking treatment from knowledgeable medical professionals is critical.
What are the Symptoms of CRPS?
CRPS is a multi-symptom condition, beginning with a persistent or near-constant burning pain that is more intense than it should be for the injury. The symptoms include:
- Muscle spasms
- Loss of motion
- Abnormal sweating
- Tenderness and stiffness in joints
- Extreme sensitivity to even mild stimuli, such as clothing or a light touch
- Warm, red-looking skin at the injured area initially, changing to cool, bluish-looking skin later
Symptoms may spread upward from the initial injury site (e.g. hand to shoulder) and may be heightened by emotional stress. The unrelenting pain causes many people extreme emotional and physical duress and, left untreated, can lead to permanent changes in muscle and bone. Early detection and treatment are very much needed.