Could You Have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Health & Medical Blog

Nervous system disorders are notoriously hard to diagnose and treat. Often the process involves eliminating possible conditions one at a time, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. If you have been through autonomous nervous system testing for common nervous system diseases like multiple sclerosis and still don't have an answer, here's one possibility: you may have complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. 

CRPS is a nervous system condition that is usually initiated by a nerve injury. Your body the begins attacking the affected nerve, causing more significant symptoms. The most common symptoms patients notice are:

Burning Pain

This is generally one of the first symptoms of CPRS to appear. The burning may be localized around the injury, or it may spread through the limb. For instance, if you injure your foot, your whole leg may start burning.

Changes in Skin Texture

As the condition progresses, the affected are may start to look different, too. Your skin may start to look shiny and thin -- almost transparent at times. You may notice that it sometimes feels clammy or sweaty. Some people find that their skin looks reddish or purplish.


The affected area also tends to swell. Because of this swelling, some people say their limb starts to feel like it weighs 100 pounds. The heaviness can make it hard for you to get around, bend, and use the limb.

Unfortunately, diagnosing CRPS is not easy. Your doctor will probably refer you to a center that specializes in nervous system testing. If you are diagnosed with the condition, it's important to realize that there is no cure. However, there are treatments that can make the symptoms less noticeable.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy may help you learn to maneuver in spite of the stiffness and soreness you are experiencing. It can also help drain fluid from the area, which will make you more flexible.

Anti-seizure Medications

For some patients, anti-seizure medications help relax the nerves and ease the symptoms of CRPS. You may need to take a low dose of these drugs everyday, or your doctor may recommend taking a dose whenever the condition seems to be acting up.


Steroids, like cortisone, may also help your body fight the inflammation that CRPS causes. These medications can have side effects, however, so your doctor may want to cycle you on and off them periodically to keep your symptoms at bay without too many unwanted side effects.

If you have unexplained nervous system symptoms like those described above, make sure you ask your doctor about CRPS.


25 June 2018

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