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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is an uncommon form of chronic pain that typically affects an arm or a leg after an injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack. The pain is usually much greater than the pain caused by the initial injury.

Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Patients with CRPS may experience the following symptoms:

  • Persistent burning or throbbing pain in the arm, leg, hand, or foot

  • Sensitivity to touch or cold

  • Swelling

  • Fluctuations in skin temperature, from sweaty to cold

  • Changes in skin color, from white and blotchy to red or blue

  • Changes in skin texture

  • Changes in hair and nail growth

  • Swelling, stiffness, and damage in the joints

Patient with hot pads on their knees to treat complex regional pain syndrome
Illustration of swollen knee with complex regional pain syndromeIllustration of swollen knee with complex regional pain syndrome
  • Muscle spasms, tremors, weakness, and atrophy

  • Decreased range of motion in the affected body part

It’s important to begin treatment as soon as possible to avoid developing irreversible symptoms.

Causes of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

CRPS is typically caused by trauma or injury. The condition occurs in two types, with similar signs and symptoms, but different causes:

  • Type 1. Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), this type occurs after an illness or injury that didn’t cause direct damage to the nerves in the affected limb. About 90% of CRPS cases are type 1.

  • Type 2. Once referred to as causalgia, this type has symptoms similar to those of type 1 but occurs after a direct nerve injury.

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CRPS may occur after:

  • Forceful trauma to an arm or a leg, such as a crushing injury or a fracture

  • Surgery

  • Heart attacks

  • Infections 

  • Sprained ankles

The exact reason why these injuries may trigger CRPS is not yet known, but it may be due to a dysfunctional interaction between the central and peripheral nervous systems and inappropriate inflammatory responses.

Treatment For CRPS

Patients diagnosed with CRPS can experience lasting pain relief and begin their recovery after treatment with injections and pain management techniques.

Premier Urgent Care offers a few types of joint and soft tissue injections

Man experiencing complex regional pain syndrome in his leg

to treat CRPS, including nerve blocks, piriformis injections, sacroiliac joint injections, epidural injections, and trigger point injections. Patients should speak to their physician to find out if joint and soft tissue injections could help alleviate their symptoms.

Pain management techniques can be used to minimize chronic pain caused by CRPS. A few techniques that could bring pain relief include cold and heat therapy, gentle exercise, physical therapy, massage, acupuncture, music therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, deep breathing exercises, yoga, progressive muscle relaxation, biofeedback, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. Each patient will receive a personalized pain management plan to help treat their symptoms.

Advanced Treatment

Patients diagnosed with severe CRPS and other underlying conditions may require advanced treatment that may include chiropractic adjustment, physical therapy, and even surgery. Premier Urgent Care supports patients needing a range of treatments. Staff is available to answer any questions about obtaining advanced treatment.

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OPEN HOURS

Monday - Friday
9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


APPOINTMENTS

Call us to schedule an appointment at


EMERGENCY SERVICES

We provide
emergency services

7 DAYS A WEEK!