Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition where the pain is typically out of proportion to the initial injury.  It usually will affect either an arm or a leg. Although the cause of CRPS is not completely understood, an injury or alteration in the peripheral and central nervous system is thought to be the primary cause. There are two types. Type 1, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is the most common and occurs without direct damage to nerve. Type 2, also known as causalgia, results from direct nerve injury. 


  • Intense burning or throbbing
  • Hypersensitivity to touch
  • Swelling in the area of pain Skin temperature changes ranging from cold to sweating
  • Skin color changes ranging from red or blue to blotchy to white
  • Skin may become shiny
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle weakness or atrophy


  • Medications to reduce pain and swelling
  • Physical therapy
  • Acupuncture
  • Laser therapy
  • Sympathetic nerve block injections

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