Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome | CRPS | Costa Mesa CA

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare and chronic (lasting more than 6 months) pain disorder that normally affects an extremity (hand, arm, leg or foot) but can occur anywhere on the body. Sometimes, it may even spread from its original source to somewhere else in the body.

CRPS, previously known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is divided into two subtypes:

  1. CRPS-I: a form of CRPS with no evidence of a specific peripheral nerve injury.
  2. CRPS-II: a form of CRPS with specific evidence of a nerve injury.

CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to or malfunction of the peripheral and central nervous systems. It may develop as a result of a trauma (forceful injury), surgery, stroke or a heart attack. It can develop from something as innocuous as a needle prick. CRPS is characterized by extreme, intense and constant pain that is disproportionate to the original problem. These symptoms may be accompanied by extreme sensitivity, swelling and changes to skin and nail color.

Symptoms vary in sensitivity and duration from individual to individual. In mild cases, symptoms may decrease or even disappear. Individuals with moderate to severe CRPS may be symptomatic for months or even years. The most severe cases may have symptoms indefinitely, which can be debilitating to the point of long-term disability.

CRPS can occur in anyone at any age (with a typical peak of 40 years of age). It occurs most commonly in women, rarely occurs in the elderly, very rarely occurs in children under 10 and almost never occurs in children under the age of 5.

Treatment for CRPS

Initial research indicates that patients with CRPS and other chronic pain conditions may benefit from Graded Motor Imagery (GMI) to "retrain the brain". Please contact us for more information or to request an appointment.