Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

May 15, 2014 | Conditions

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (aka: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy) is an uncommon form of chronic pain that usually affects limbs, though the treatment, in this case, involves the spine. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) typically develops after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack. One of the key indicators of CRPS is that the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury or illness.

While doctors have yet to identify the root cause(s) of CRPS, there are many things we do know about this condition:

  • The pain is likely caused by a dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous system
  • CRPS is often indicated as one of several related symptoms
  • While it’s not unheard of for children or teens to suffer from CRPS, adults are more susceptible


Diagnosing CRPS

The symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome often vary in both duration and severity. Symptoms include, but are not limited to: decreased mobility, burning pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints, changes in nail or hair growth and changes in skin temperature or texture. Some patients experience these symptoms as chronic, mild pain, while others might feel extreme pain in short bursts that increase in frequency with time.

Early stage CRPS can be difficult to accurately diagnose, because symptoms can be relatively mild. Detailed observation over time allows doctors to make a positive diagnosis.

Treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

While there is no quick “cure” for CRPS, patients can achieve significantly reduced pain through proven medical techniques. Early stage treatments for CRPS include physical therapy, drug treatment, psychotherapy, pain medications, corticosteroids, antidepressants, anti-seizure medications and diagnostic blocks, which are simple injections performed to diagnose the cause of pain.

Some patients may have heard or read about a procedure called surgical sympathectomy. While once common, this procedure has been nearly abandoned by modern medical practitioners because it is known to destroy nerves in the sympathetic nervous system. In addition, many physicians believe it actually makes CRPS worse.

The best option for treating CRPS today is Spinal Cord Stimulation (SCS). A minimally-invasive procedure, SCS is effective, non-destructive and easily reversible.

DOWNLOAD eBOOK: Take Spinal Cord Stimulation for a Test Drive.

SCS blocks the pain associated with CRPS and replaces it with a pleasant feeling. So, you not only feel less pain, you actually feel better. And, best of all, you, as the patient, are always in total control of the level of your pain relief.

To learn more about how SCS can treat your pain and transform your life, contact us today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Skaliy.

About the Author

Dr. Michael Skaliy

Throughout his career Dr. Michael Skaliy has felt that medicine is a rapidly changing field and he’s continued to stay up to date to bring the latest cutting edge therapies into his practice. Most recently, he introduced stem cell therapy and minimally invasive same day spine surgery, which is done through a small device the size of a pencil.

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