Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition. It causes intense pain, usually in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. It may happen after an injury, either to a nerve or to tissue in the affected area. Rest and time may only make it worse.
Symptoms in the affected area are
- Dramatic changes in skin temperature, color, or texture
- Intense burning pain
- Extreme skin sensitivity
- Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
- Decreased ability to move the affected body part
The cause of CRPS is unknown. There is no specific diagnostic test. Your doctor will diagnose CRPS based on your signs and symptoms.
There is no cure. It can get worse over time, and may spread to other parts of the body. Occasionally it goes away, either temporarily or for good. Treatment focuses on relieving the pain, and can include medicines, physical therapy, and nerve blocks.
NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research)
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (American Academy of Family Physicians) Also in Spanish
- Helping Children/ Youth with RSD/ CRPS Succeed in School (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association of America) - PDF
- Hospital Protocol RSD/CRPS Patient: Handle with Care! (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association of America) - PDF
- In Pain and Agonizing Over the Bills: Financial Assistance Resource Directory (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association of America) - PDF
- Telltale Signs and Symptoms of CRPS/RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association of America)
- What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome? (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Causalgia (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Complex Regional Pain Syndromes (National Institutes of Health)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Unimpaired endogenous pain inhibition in the early phase of complex...
- Article: Complex regional pain syndrome in children: a systematic review of...
- Article: Ultrasound-guided pulsed radiofrequency treatment of the cervical sympathetic chain for...
- Complex Regional Pain Syndrome -- see more articles