CRPS Pain Relief

Source: WebMD

Complex regional pain syndrome, also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, is a type of chronic pain in which excessive  levels of nerve impulses are sent to a particular site.  It is believed that CRPS occurs when there is something wrong with the central or peripheral nervous systems.

CRPS is caused by a number of different sources that share similar symptoms.  In cases of CRPS being caused by injury, the syndrome may be due to a triggering of the immune response which may lead to inflammation and swelling in the affected area.  Due to this, it is believed that CRPS could be an interruption of  the healing process.

The symptoms of CRPS differ in their severity and time duration.  One example of a CRPS symptom is an intense pain that gets worse over time.  Other symptoms include:

- Burning pain

- Swelling and stiffness in affected joints

- Motor disability where there is decreased ability to move the affected area

- Changes in nail and hair growth pattern

- Changes in skin temperature

Though there is no cure for CRPS, treatment focuses on relieving symptoms of pain.  Therapies include pscyhotherapy, physical therapy, and drug treatment.  

Other treatments include: 

- Sympathetic nerve blocks which are done in my different ways.  One type involves putting an anesthetic next to the spine to directly block the sympathetic nerves.

- Surgical sympathectomy destroys the nerves involved in CRPS.  For some there is a favorable outcome while for others it makes the pain worse.   

- Intrathecal drug pumps involve the use of pumps and catheters to send medication to the spinal fluid.

- Spinal cord stimulation uses electrodes placed near the spinal cord providing relief for many people.

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