Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a rare but potentially life-changing condition that causes chronic extreme pain in an affected limb. At the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia, we offer tailored treatment options designed to offer relief from CRPS pain for men and women in Brunswick and Kingsland, GA.
What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?
CRPS is a rare pain condition that usually follows an injury and causes chronic pain in one limb, such as a foot, leg, or arm. Along with intense burning, complex regional pain syndrome can cause discoloration, swelling, and stiffness of the affected limb.
CRPS comes in two types: Type 1 CRPS follows an injury or illness that did not cause nerve damage and Type 2 follows a nerve injury. Both forms of the disorder go through three stages:
- Stage 1: This acute stage can last up to three months and cause increased sensitivity and burning pain. The affected limb will then have redness, increased warmth, increased hair and nail growth, and excessive sweating.
- Stage 2: This dystrophic stage can last up to a year. Swelling of the affected limb becomes more pronounced and the temperature of the skin becomes cool. Toenails or fingernails become very brittle. The stiffness and pain get worse and become more widespread.
- Stage 3: The atrophic stage happens after the first year when the skin appears shiny, stretched, and pale. By this point, little hope remains of restoring motion and function of the affected limb. While pain may be reduced at this point, CRPS can spread to other areas of the body.
The pain of CRPS is often described as a burning sensation, pins and needles, or as if someone is squeezing the limb. While the initial injury may only involve a finger, for example, the condition can spread to the entire arm or even travel to the opposite limb, although this is rare.
What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
CRPS is typically tied to some type of illness or infection, but the exact cause is still not known. It often develops after a surgery, injury, stroke, or heart attack and it’s believed to be caused by malfunction or damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems.
How is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treated?
The Spine Center of Southeast Georgia offers two effective treatment solutions for long-term pain relief from complex regional pain syndrome.
- Sympathetic Nerve Block
- Sometimes the sympathetic nerves of the autonomic nervous system continue transmitting pain signals even once an injury has healed, resulting in CRPS. A first line of defense against CRPS pain is a nerve block that helps stop nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
- Peripheral Nerve Stimulation
- PNS is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves implanting a device against peripheral nerves where it can deliver rapid electrical impulses to help trick or train the brain to ignore pain signals.
If you have been diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome or you have symptoms of the disorder, contact the Spine Center of Southeast Georgia today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help patients in Brunswick and Kingsland with chronic CRPS pain.