Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that usually affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) after an injury or trauma. It is characterized by intense burning or throbbing pain, sensitivity to touch or temperature changes, swelling, stiffness, and changes in skin color or texture. CRPS is a complex condition usually associated with an injury that can be difficult to diagnose and treat. In some cases, it is minor (similar to paper cut/bruise). The condition results in misfiring of nervous system making it overactive. Most individuals may observe symptoms as swelling, burning pain, changes in skin color and texture.

What causes CRPS?

The exact cause of CRPS is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to a preceding injury or illness. The onset is known to be mild. Some families may have more than one member with CRPS. Studies have revealed that genetics are not responsible for the condition.

Signs and Symptoms

The key symptom of CRPS is continuous, intense pain out of proportion to the severity of the injury (if an injury has occurred). CRPS most often affects one of the extremities and is also often associated with the following symptoms:

The key symptom of CRPS is chronic pain that is usually localized to one limb. This pain can be intense and burning, and it may be disproportionate to the injury or trauma that initially triggered the condition. The condition is also often associated with the following symptoms:

  • "Burning" pain
  • Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  • Motor disability (trouble moving the affected body part)
  • Increased skin sensitivity

Major Changes in:

  • Skin temperature
  • Skin color (usually appears blotchy, purple, pale, or red)
  • Skin texture (thin, shiny, and in some cases, excessively sweaty)
  • Nail and hair growth patterns

The pain associated with CRPS may spread towards the entire arm or leg (regardless of the origin of the injury). In some cases, the pain may travel to the opposite extremity and increase with emotional stress.


Diagnosing CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, can be challenging, as there is no specific test that can confirm the condition. Instead, doctors typically rely on a combination of physical exams, medical history, and imaging tests to diagnose CRPS.

The diagnostic criteria for CRPS include a history of an initiating event and physical examination. The doctor may order imaging tests, such as x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or bone scans, to check for changes in bone or tissue in the affected limb. Consultation with a specialist may also be recommended.

Why Choose Neuro Spine & Pain Center for Chronic Pain Syndrome Treatment?

Dealing with chronic pain can be a daunting and transformative experience. The Neuro Spine & Pain Center of Pain Management is a place where skilled physicians specialize in addressing intricate and resistant pain conditions, such as chronic pain syndrome.

By employing state-of-the-art equipment, cutting-edge therapies, and the latest research, our team can accurately diagnose the root cause of pain and create individualized pain management strategies for every patient.

We at Neuro Spine & Pain Center collaborate closely with a diverse group of experts to assist our patients in reclaiming their independence, enhancing their functionality, and enhancing their overall quality of life.

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