CRPS; RSDS; Causalgia – RSD; Shoulder-hand syndrome; Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome; Sudeck’s atrophy
Definition of Complex regional pain syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that can affect any area of the body, but often affects an arm or a leg.
Causes, incidence, and risk factors
Doctors aren’t sure what causes CRPS. In some cases, the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the pain. Another theory is that CRPS is caused by a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area.
The key symptom is pain that:
Signs and tests
Diagnosing CRPS can be difficult, but early diagnosis is very important.
There is no cure for CRPS, but the disease can be slowed. The main focus is on relieving the symptoms and helping people with this syndrome live as normal a life as possible.
The outlook is better with an early diagnosis. If the doctor diagnoses the condition within the first stage, sometimes signs of the disease may disappear (remission) and normal movement is possible.
Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/9/2010