Complex Regional Pain (CRPS)
5 Facts about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating disease that affects the limbs. There are still a lot of unknowns about CRPS. It’s a very complex condition that has challenged researchers and clinicians for decades. Fortunately, the medical community has learned scores more about CRPS in recent years and the understanding continues to grow. These are 5 facts that may help expand your understanding of CRPS:
- Over the years there have been many names for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. The most common alternative name for CRPS is reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). Other labels that been used to describe this painful disorder in the past include causalgia, algodystrophy, Sudeck bone atrophy, Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, post-traumatic dystrophy, shoulder-hand syndrome, and sympathetically maintained pain (SMP). CRPS is widely accepted and used by the medical professionals who are most engaged in the treatment of CRPS, but healthcare professionals in other spheres might not be as familiar.
- There are two classifications of CRPS, CRPS I and CRPS II. CRPS is classified as CRPS I when it occurs after trauma that didn’t directly damage nerves in the affected area. A crush injury, fracture, amputation, surgery, infection, and sprain are all examples of trauma that can cause CRPS I. About 90% of people with CRPS have CRPS I. CRPS II, which used to be known as causalgia, is the other type that occurs when there is evidence of distinct injury to a nerve.
- Data shows that women are 3 times more frequently affected by CRPS than men. Postmenopausal women in particular are at increased risk for developing CRPS. A history of migraine, osteoporosis, and asthma are some other risk factors.
- The McGill Pain Index is a scaling tool used by healthcare professionals to gauge the quality of pain. CRPS is rated the most painful condition on the McGill Pain index, higher than non-terminal cancer and childbirth.
- While there is no definitive treatment for CRPS, patients suffering from CRPS can still enjoy good quality of life through an appropriate multimodal pain management program. This may include therapies, medications, injections, psychological support, and spinal cord stimulation.
If you or a loved one suffers from Complex Regional Pain Disorder and are interested in learning more or participating in our clinical research study at Denver Back Pain Specialists, contact Sara Light, research administrator, at 303-536-1954.
Source: Goh, E. L., Chidambaram, S., & Ma, D. (2017). Complex regional pain syndrome: a recent update. Burns & Trauma, 5(2). doi:10.1186/s41038-016-0066-4