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A Closer Look at Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

A Closer Look at Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

John S. Michels, MD, is an award-winning pain management specialist with a busy practice in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. He has significant experience accurately diagnosing and successfully treating painful nerve disorders like complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Read more about CRPS and the nonsurgical therapies Dr. Michels provides to eliminate your pain and improve your quality of life.

What is complex regional pain syndrome?

CRPS is a chronic pain disorder that usually occurs after a sprain, fracture, crushing injury, surgery, or other trauma. You can also develop CRPS after a heart attack or stroke. 

The symptoms frequently occur in an arm or leg but can affect any part of the body. Anyone of any age can develop CRPS, but it’s more common in women than men.

It’s not clear why some people develop CRPS and others don’t. Researchers believe CRPS is related to dysfunction or excessive firing of the peripheral nerve fibers that carry pain messages to the brain. 

This action also triggers inflammation that prompts the swelling and skin changes associated with CRPS.

The pain from CRPS is generally more severe than what you experienced from the initial injury. The symptoms last for months to years, sometimes causing long-term disability if left untreated.

What are the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome?

Symptoms caused by CRPS can vary greatly and may change over time. The most common symptom is constant pain, typically described as a throbbing or burning discomfort in the limb that corresponds with the injury. 

For instance, CRPS symptoms related to a right wrist fracture or sprain usually involve the right arm or hand.

Other symptoms of CRPS include:

Many of these symptoms are related to increased inflammation leading to poor blood flow and subsequent reduced oxygen and nutrients to the affected area.

How do you treat complex regional pain syndrome?

Dr. Michels develops a personalized treatment strategy for CRPS that decreases inflammation, keeps your muscles flexible and strong, and significantly reduces or eliminates pain.

Most people with CRPS benefit significantly from a guided physical therapy program to restore mobility and improve blood flow to the area. 

To manage pain and reduce inflammation, Dr. Michels may recommend:

As is true with most chronic conditions, early diagnosis and treatment often lead to the most successful outcome for CRPS.

Schedule an evaluation with Dr. Michels today. Call our office or request an appointment using our secure online service.

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