What Is CRPS and How to Handle It

Long-lasting pain is a symptom of the chronic health condition complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The pain usually subsides as the body heals and is only temporary. However, with this illness, discomfort does not get better over time. Instead, as the days and weeks go by, persistent pain could get worse.

Usually, an arm or a leg is affected. However, it can also occur in other bodily parts. Burning sensations are frequently used to describe discomfort. Your quality of life might be dramatically affected by CRPS-induced chronic pain. Your sleep, your career, your relationships, and even your mental health may all be negatively impacted by the symptoms.

The Symptoms

CRPS can occasionally progress, with symptoms evolving. For instance, the affected body portion may grow pale and chilly. In addition, you can experience muscle stiffness, spasms, and changes to your skin and nails. Or, the discomfort and other symptoms could transfer from the affected limb to another area of the body, like the opposing limb. Unfortunately, the illness is frequently permanent after these alterations have taken place.

The Cause

It is unclear to experts what trigger this illness. However, they think that nerve injury is a factor. After a severe injury, infection, surgery, stroke, or heart attack, the condition frequently worsens. There are two forms of CRPS: Type 1 develops following sickness or accident, whereas Type 2 develops following specific nerve damage or injury to the affected limb.

Medical professionals see this illness as an aberrant body response. In a damaged body area, the nerve endings that regulate pain may become too sensitive to the chemical messengers transported by the sympathetic nervous system. As a result, they could intensify the discomfort and other symptoms.

The Treatment

Early intervention could prevent the progression of complicated regional pain syndrome. On occasion, the situation becomes better. If medical care is sought out promptly enough, symptoms could entirely disappear. Unfortunately, people with more severe, persistent symptoms frequently don’t respond to therapy. These folks might gain from participating in a pain treatment program designed especially for chronic pain sufferers.

According to the Dr. Katinka, the Spero Clinic CRPS expert, ‘The average CRPS patient will go misdiagnosed or undetected for years before they are lucky enough to find out what is wrong with them.’ For individuals, receiving a CRPS diagnosis can be extremely frustrating. In addition to dealing with constant, excruciating pain, they frequently experience feelings of loneliness, rage, and worry.

Here are just a few suggestions for how to manage CRPS.

Psychotherapy for CRPS

Psychotherapy is frequently regarded as a treatment for the psychological side effects of CRPS. Situational anxiety, sadness, and post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, are a few examples. Unfortunately, these ensuing disorders can make the pain more severe, which makes it challenging to manage or even seek therapy for the condition.

Rehabilitation and physical therapy

Physical therapy or rehabilitation is frequently used as the first line of treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome because it promotes blood flow, supports the circulatory system, and enhances the likelihood that symptoms may subside.


Because each person’s body responds to drugs differently, the medications recommended in particular combinations will vary depending on the individual with CRPS.

One potential treatment for CRPS discomfort is using electrodes positioned just outside the spinal cord to block the pain. These electrodes may be left in place for a few days to assess the treatment’s overall success for each patient.

Various Therapies

Numerous unconventional therapies, such as acupuncture, relaxation exercises, behavior modification, and even medical marijuana, have been tried to treat the symptoms of CRPS. However, they work best when combined with other initiatives, whether conventional or unconventional.

Living with CRPS

Because not everyone with CRPS will respond to the same treatments, you should speak with your doctor to determine the best course of action for the type or types of pain you are experiencing.

The results of CRPS can differ significantly. Therefore, it must be identified and treated as soon as feasible. Then, your chances of making a full recovery are the highest. As part of your treatment plan, if taking painkillers, physical therapy, or exercise is recommended, do as your healthcare practitioner instructs.

It’s frequently possible to increase blood flow and reduce symptoms using physical therapy and exercises that keep the affected limb or body part moving. It can also help to increase the affected limb’s flexibility, strength, and functionality. If necessary, therapy can assist you in learning new techniques for carrying out regular chores.

The affected and their family may experience emotional or psychological problems due to CRPS. People with this issue may also suffer from anxiety, sadness, or PTSD. All of these factors might amplify discomfort and make rehabilitation efforts more challenging.

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