Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) | Pain Physicians | Tyler Texas

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
(CRPS) Overview

Also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a fairly uncommon chronic pain condition that typically affects a patient’s limb. Common limbs affected by the condition include the arm, leg, hand and foot. Believed to be caused by damage to the central nervous and peripheral nervous systems, CRPS symptoms vary for each patient. The pain physicians at Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas, offer a variety of pain management treatments for patients suffering from complex regional pain syndrome and other chronic pain conditions.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) commonly develops in many patients after an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack. Pain physicians believe chronic pain is caused by damage or a malfunction in the central nervous and peripheral systems. The central nervous system is composed of the spinal cord and brain. The peripheral system involves nerve signaling from the spinal cord and brain to the rest of the body.

The cause of CRPS is not clearly understood by pain physicians and the medical community at this time. This chronic pain condition is most common in adults aged 20-35 years, even though children and older adults can be affected by the condition. CRPS cases are more prevalent in women than men.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Symptoms

Symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome vary in length and severity among patients. The most common symptom of CRPS is intense, chronic pain that worsens over time. In many cases, the pain may seem out of proportion if caused by an injury. For example, if an injury is sustained to the finger, the entire arm may be affected by chronic pain and other troublesome symptoms. Other complex regional pain syndrome symptoms include:

  • Burning pain
  • Swelling and stiffness in the affected joint
  • Skin changes, such as skin color and temperature
  • Changes in nail and hair growth

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatments

In order to diagnosis complex regional pain syndrome, a pain physician will perform a careful physical examination and review a patient’s medical history. Certain diagnostic tests may also be performed to confirm the diagnosis, such as X-rays, MRI scans, bone scans and sympathetic nervous system tests.

There is not a cure for CRPS at this time. In order to manage the chronic pain, a pain physician will prescribe a pain management treatment plan tailored for each patient and their symptoms. Common complex regional pain syndrome treatments include:

  • Pain medications
  • Nerve blocks
  • Steroid injections
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS)
  • Physical therapy

For additional information on the chronic pain condition complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), please contact the pain management practice of Pain Recovery Center of Tyler, located in Tyler, Texas. Our pain physicians are well versed in treating CRPS and other chronic pain conditions.


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