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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain disorder.  It’s also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).  This article summarizes several key points from The Journal of Hand Surgery (European Volume), in a review of the condition.

This condition is not felt immediately upon sustaining an injury.  CRPS will set in as soon as two weeks post injury, but can take up to a month to show up.  The primary symptoms include:

  • Burning pain
  • An increase in heat and/or redness in the affected area
  • Swelling
  • Joint stiffness and contracting

Unfortunately for those suffering the effects of complex regional pain syndrome, there is no diagnostic test to pinpoint the diagnosis.  It’s usually based on a number of factors, observations and other types of exams.  The results may lead to an eventual diagnosis of CRPS.

Interestingly, one study indicated that fractures account for 46% of cases and another 10-12% of sprains can result in the onset of CRPS.  Another study found that treatment for carpal tunnel may account for another 5%.

Many of the above injuries/treatments are commonly experienced by workers in factories and on jobsites.  I have a long history of working with people employed in these types of jobs.  I’ve developed a reputation for handling CRPS cases.  The cases are very complicated due to various factors involved in the diagnosis and effective treatment of this disorder.

Luckily for my clients, I’ve been able to prove to the judges that this condition is real and its impact can be severely debilitating.  Fortunately, benefits from the Kentucky Workers Compensation System and the Federal Social Security System may be available.

Because chronic pain is so difficult for someone to explain to family, friends and co-workers, I thought providing this brief video from a doctor might be useful in assisting in the understanding.

Watch Dr. Krane’s Discussion of Chronic Pain: