Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

John S. Michels, MD -  - Interventional Pain Management

John S. Michels, MD

Interventional Pain Management located in Dallas, TX

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a progressive disease with hallmark symptoms of chronic pain, hypersensitivity, and in its late stage, muscle atrophy. John S. Michels, MD, of Interventional Spine & Pain in Dallas specializes in CRPS, using his expertise in interventional medicine to relieve the pain so you can stay moving, slow down the disease, and maintain your quality of life. To receive exceptional care for complex regional pain syndrome, book an appointment online or by phone today.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

What is complex regional pain syndrome?

CRPS is a chronic neuropathic pain disorder. In about 90% of all cases, CRPS develops after you experience a trauma, such as:

  • Fracture
  • Sprains and strains
  • Surgery
  • Needle stick
  • Soft tissue injury
  • Prolonged immobilization

Some patients develop CRPS without a physical injury. In these cases, it may be an internal injury that triggers the disease, such as a pinched nerve.

There are two types of CRPS:

  • Type 1 (CRPS-I), originally called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), causes ongoing pain without evidence of nerve damage
  • Type 2 (CRPS-II), originally called causalgia, occurs when you have nerve damage

In both types, your pain persists for at least six months after the traumatic event, or well after the initial injury has healed.

What symptoms develop due to complex regional pain syndrome?

The primary symptom is prolonged and severe pain that may be constant. CRPS can occur anywhere in your body, but the pain usually affects an arm, leg, hand, or foot.

You may develop allodynia, or increased sensitivity in the affected area. When you have allodynia, you experience pain from sensations that aren’t normally painful, such as the touch of a soft towel.

You may also experience a variety of other symptoms, including:

  • Swelling in the affected limb
  • Changes in your skin color and temperature
  • Uncoordinated muscle movement
  • Changes in hair growth
  • Stiffness in your joints
  • Muscle symptoms

Patients with CRPS develop a range of progressive muscle symptoms. At first, you may have poor coordination or find it difficult to move the affected limb. Some patients experience tremors or involuntary muscle contractions (dystonia).

How is complex regional pain syndrome treated?

CRPS is a progressive disease that can lead to muscle atrophy when the pain makes it too difficult to move. Physical therapy is an essential part of your treatment so that you can maintain optimal muscle strength and mobility.

Interventional therapies that target the nerves responsible for your pain give you the relief you need to participate in your exercise program.

These are a few examples of the interventional therapies provide by Dr. Michels:

  • Stellate ganglion block
  • Lumbar sympathetic block
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation

These therapies work by blocking the nerves sending the message to your brain that you’re in pain. When your brain doesn’t get the message, your pain is diminished.

Nerve blocks work using anesthesia, while stimulation uses a mild electrical current to interrupt or mask nerve signals. Stimulation lasts longer because Dr. Michels implants the device.

Dr. Michels specializes in treating complex regional pain syndrome. If you’re diagnosed with CRPS and you need relief from the pain, call Interventional Spine & Pain or book an appointment online today.