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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS is an uncommon condition that describes excess and prolonged chronic pain that usually affects the extremities. CRPS could be triggered after an injury, a surgery, a stroke or a heart attack. Also, a dysfunctional interaction between your central and peripheral nervous system and inappropriate inflammatory responses could trigger CRPS

Complex regional pain Syndrome occurs in two types. Both have similar sings and symptom, but different causes:

  • Type 1: Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)– 90% of cases. occurs after am illness or injury that didn’t directly damage the nerves in the affected limb.
  • Type 2: Causalgia– occurs after the presence of a defined nerve injury. This is clear evidence of nerve damage.


Symptoms may change over time and can vary from person to person. Over time, the condition is often irreversible if left untreated. It is crucial to start treatment early in the course of the illness so it can be most effective. Some signs and symptoms of CRPS may go away on their own but may also persist for months or years

  • Some of the signs and symptoms of CRPS include:
  • Muscle spasms and weakness.
  • Burning or throbbing pain, usually in the legs or arms
  • Joint stiffness and swelling
  • Color changes of the extremity.
  • Changes in nail and hair growth
  • Changes in skin temperature- abnormal sweating
  • Decreased ability to move the affected extremity


When should I see a doctor?

If you experience persistent, severe pain that affects any of your extremities and makes touching or moving the limb seem intolerable, see your doctor for accurate diagnoses. It is important to start treatment as early as possible.


The contents contained within this page are not a substitute for health professionals’ advice, diagnosis, or treatment. We advise that you seek advice from a qualified healthcare practitioner. We fully disclose that any surgical or invasive procedures come with risks.

For more details on how to relieve or treat chronic pain, you can reach out to one of our pain specialists at any of our pain care clinic locations. We establish a caring relationship and provide patients with pain relief when needed the most.