Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that happens when people sustain and injury that involves nerve damage. Because of the nerve damage, it causes the peripheral and central nervous systems to send incorrect or jumbled messages to the brain. The result of these mixed signals is swelling in the legs and/or arms. Generally the pain starts in one limb and spreads to the other limb. Although it is a rare chronic pain condition, it’s a very painful one, be classified in a higher pain index than childbirth and amputation.
The pain is described as burning or throbbing pain in the limbs. It is most common in patients who have had an injury, a stroke, or a heart attack because nerve damage. Although it is attached to these certain conditions, doctors aren’t sure of an exact cause of CRPS. Not every patient suffering from the above conditions will get CRPS, and vice versa. The pain symptoms include: muscle spasms, sensitivity to touch, variations in body temperature, tight and shiny skin and bone issues. Since it is such a rare condition, the sooner it is diagnosed, the better. If medical care is put off, you may suffer from muscle atrophy or extreme muscle tightening. This can lead to immobility or weakening of your bones.
There are many medications that are available to help soothe the pain and symptoms while getting your nerves to heal and get back to full strength. Along with prescriptions, physical therapy is one of the best treatments for CRPS. Because of the initial sensitivity, it may be difficult for a massage therapist to work on a CRPS patient until their swelling and pain has gone down substantially. Like mentioned before, the exact cause and reasoning for CRPS is unsure, but two studies show that moving as soon as possible after a stroke and upping your Vitamin C intake after an injury can lessen the chances of CRPS.
Here at OSR we treat patients every day that are suffering from rare chronic pain conditions like Complex regional pain syndrome. If these symptoms sound familiar, contact your primary care physician as soon as possible. Give us a call today to set up your complimentary consultation with one of our physical therapists here in Kailua at 488-5555!