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6 Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

6 Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Under normal circumstances pain is a temporary sensation that occurs when an area of your body is injured, and it resolves when the tissues heal. 

In complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), prolonged pain and inflammation occur disproportionate to the injury and become long-lasting. The pain may increase following a mild touch or movement. 

Prompt diagnosis and treatment gives you the best chance at recovery. The team of pain management specialists at Lynx Healthcare specialize in managing complex pain conditions, such as CRPS. Treatment is most successful when CRPS is in its earliest stages, so don’t ignore unusual or chronic pain symptoms. 

If you’re unsure whether your pain is normal, it’s best to schedule a visit for an evaluation. The sooner you know what you’re dealing with, the sooner you can get treatment to relieve your pain. Here, our pain management experts discuss some of the most common signs of CRPS to look out for. 

Spontaneous pain

CRPS causes unprovoked pain that may be persistent or fluctuate in intensity in response to activity. It may feel like a burning or pins-and-needles sensation. 

In some instances, pain and other symptoms occur in the identical spot in the opposite limb. Spinal cord neuronal involvement is thought to cause this “mirror pain,” which is often milder and usually subsides as damaged nerves heal. 

Prolonged pain after use

There is frequently an increase in sensitivity in the affected limb, referred to as allodynia, in which gentle touch, normal physical contact, and regular use cause severe pain. You may experience extreme pain in response to a mild stimulus, such as a pin prick.

Skin color changes

It’s common for the affected limb to become blotchy, blue, purple, gray, or red in color. There is almost always a noticeable difference in appearance of the affected limb. Skin symptoms often fluctuate because of the area's irregular blood flow. 

Skin texture changes

The changes in nutrient-rich blood delivered to the affected limb may cause the skin texture to change. It can become shiny, thin, or thick, and scaly. 

Joint stiffness

Joint stiffness is common in CRPS. Decreased movement and reduced flexibility of the affected tendons and ligaments can cause the joints to feel stiff. Additionally, ligaments or tendons that are too tight can occasionally rub or squeeze nerves, contributing to CRPS pain. 

Abnormal movements

Abnormal neuronal activity in CRPS can cause abnormal movements. Roughly 25% of people with CRPS develop a movement disorder. The muscles may contract involuntarily, or you may experience jerking movements or tremors. Movement problems may occur early in CRPS development or start after having CRPS for some time. 

The next steps

Early diagnosis and treatment are key to managing CRPS. There isn’t one specific treatment for everyone. Instead, we work closely with you to find the right combination of treatments to ease your pain. 

Treatment for CRPS may involve:

Engaging in relaxing activities can also improve symptoms of CRPS. 

CRPS is a complex condition, and you need experienced experts to manage your symptoms and help you feel and function better. To learn more about our approach to treating CRPS, call our office at 505-356-4295 to schedule an appointment with one of our providers. We're devoted to relieving your pain and helping you recover. 

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