What are the symptoms?
Chronic Pain is the main symptom of Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Flare-ups, where pain and other symptoms worse, can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Flare-ups may occur on their own but they can also be triggered by stress. Mental health conditions may therefore present their own symptoms and challenges when dealing with CRPS.
There are other pain symptoms outside of Chronic Pain that may present themselves. These include:
- Stinging, burning, stabbing sensation
- Sensitive skin in the affected area
- Hyperalgesia (feeling pain from pressure or temperature)
- Allodynia (experiencing pain from a very light touch of the affected skin)
- Ghost sensations in the affected limb
Other indirect symptoms which are often experienced by people with CRPS can include:
- Skin infections
- Osteoporosis in the affected limb
- Muscle atrophy
- Muscle contractures
- Difficulty moving the affected limb
- Tremors and muscle spasms
- Hair and nail changes
- Alternating changes to the skin in the affected limb. Becoming hot, red, and dry and other times cold, blue and sweaty.
Cause and treatment
CRPS usually occurs within one month of trauma or injury, such as bone fractures, sprains and strains, burns, and cuts. The pain will usually present itself in the affected area or limb, however, in some cases it can spread to affect other areas of the body as well.
It is thought to be a response to trauma that causes a number of the body’s systems to malfunction. Some experts believe that a person’s genes can also make them more likely to develop CRPS.
There is no known cure for Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome. Treatments for the condition primarily focus on symptom management and achieving reductions in pain. A combination of physical therapies, medicines, and psychological support are often prescribed for the management of CRPS.