Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition characterized by a persistent, often intense, burning pain that usually occurs in an arm, leg, or foot.
Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, CRPS can result in pain so severe that something as simple as putting on a sock can be unbearable.
What causes CRPS?
The cause of CRPS is not fully understood, but it is believed to be the result of trauma to a limb or extremity that also causes a malfunction of the central or peripheral nervous system. This malfunction causes an unusually high level of nerve impulses to be sent to a specific site in the body.
Injuries that can cause CRPS may be physical, such as a fracture, sprain, or crushing injury, or they may be other types of bodily distress like surgery, infections, or heart attacks. Not everyone who experiences such injuries develop CRPS, however.
What are symptoms of CRPS?
There are many symptoms that can occur with CRPS, and they often vary from person to person. The most common symptoms include:
- Chronic burning or throbbing pain, usually in an arm, leg, or foot
- Sensitivity or swelling of the affected area
- Changes in temperature, color, or texture of the skin
- Joint stiffness or swelling
- Muscle spasms or atrophy
- Unusual changes in hair and nail growth
- Reduced mobility
- CRPS can potentially spread to other parts of the body, and if left untreated, may become irreversible.
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