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CRPS

Advanced Pain Management

Pain Management Specialists located in Evans, GA & Thomson, GA

In most cases, the sensation of pain subsides after an injury fully heals. However, if it doesn’t go away after 1-2 months, pain can be classified as a chronic condition, such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). The pain specialists at Advanced Pain Management know how difficult it is to diagnose and treat CRPS. That’s why they offer the most advanced interventional CRPS treatments at their office in Evans, Georgia. For more information, call Advanced Pain Management or book an appointment online.

CRPS Q & A

What is CRPS?

CRPS is a chronic pain condition that typically affects one specific limb — an arm, hand, leg, foot — after an injury. The pain often lasts for six months or more, though its severity and duration vary from person to person. 

There are two types of CRPS:

CRPS-1

Previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, CRPS-1 can occur after a relatively minor injury, such as an ankle sprain. In CRPS-1 cases, the condition isn’t linked to confirmed nerve damage.

CRPS-2

CRPS-2, or causalgia, is clearly linked to nerve damage following a serious injury, surgery, or infection.

What are the symptoms of CRPS?

Most patients with CRPS report experiencing unusually severe pain after an injury, even a relatively minor injury. Even the lightest touch can feel excruciating in some cases. The pain may even spread beyond the affected limb. 

For instance, damage to a single finger may start to affect the entire arm, or it can impact the opposite arm. Gently touching or bumping the affected limb may even spark a painful burning sensation.

Some other common CRPS symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Fluid retention (edema)
  • Stiff, inflamed joints
  • Shiny, thin skin texture
  • Changes in nail and hair growth
  • Skin temperature changes
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Finger and toenail changes
  • Tremors

In severe CRPS cases, mobility and muscle function can become affected, making it difficult to move your affected limb when it’s in pain.

What causes CRPS?

While CRPS typically develops after a surgery or injury, it has no known cause. Most experts believe CRPS-2 is a neuropathic condition linked directly to nerve damage, more specifically damage to the peripheral and central nervous systems.

However, the most common CRPS causes that can trigger the condition include:

  • Fractures
  • Muscle strain
  • Sprains
  • Soft tissue injuries (burns, bruises, cuts)
  • Surgery
  • Minor procedures
  • Being in a cast for prolonged periods

The trigger can be something as small as a bump into a chair, which makes CRPS challenging to diagnose and treat.

How is CRPS treated?

While there is no specific CRPS test, the Advanced Pain Management team can help diagnose the condition by injecting an anesthetic into the sympathetic nerves to see if it relieves your pain. If so, they may recommend one or more of the following CRPS treatments:

Sympathetic nerve block

A sympathetic nerve block is an injection of an anesthetic into the sympathetic nerves in your spine. Depending on the location of your pain, the team may inject the block into the sympathetic nerves toward your neck or lower spine. These blocks often provide weeks, if not months, of lasting pain relief.

Physical therapy

Physical therapy exercises can help improve strength and muscle movement in your affected limb to increase mobility. Other physical therapy treatments include transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), aquatic therapy, desensitization, and more.

Advanced Pain Management works with you to design the most effective CRPS treatment plan possible. To schedule an appointment, call or book online.