Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a chronic pain condition most often affecting one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands, or feet), usually after an injury or trauma to that limb. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. CRPS is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and mild or dramatic changes in skin color, temperature, and/or swelling in the affected area.

There are two similar forms, called CRPS-I and CRPS-II, with the same symptoms and treatments. CRPS-II formerly known as Causalgia, is the term used for patients with confirmed nerve injuries. Individuals without confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I.

It is estimated that there are between 1.5 and 3 million victims of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in the United States alone, about 75% of which are Women. The majority of victims develop the disease within the ages of 30 – 40, but it can affect anyone at any age.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH):

“CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration. Studies of the incidence and prevalence of the disease show that most cases are mild and individuals recover gradually with time. In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability.”


What are the common symptoms of CRPS?

The most common symptom is prolonged pain that may be constant and, in some people, extremely uncomfortable or severe. The pain may feel like a burning or “pins and needles” sensation, or as if someone is squeezing the affected limb. The pain may spread to include the entire arm or leg, even though the precipitating injury might have been only to a finger or toe. Pain can sometimes even travel to the opposite extremity. There is often increased sensitivity in the affected area, such that even light touch or contact is painful (called allodynia).

People with CRPS also experience constant or intermittent changes in temperature, skin color, and swelling of the affected limb. This is due to abnormal microcirculation caused by damage to the nerves controlling blood flow and temperature. An affected arm or leg may feel warmer or cooler compared to the opposite limb. The skin on the affected limb may change color, becoming blotchy, blue, purple, pale, or red.

Other common features of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome include:

  • Changes in skin texture on the affected area; it may appear shiny and thin.
  • Abnormal sweating pattern in the affected area or surrounding areas.
  • changes in nail and hair growth patterns.
  • Stiffness in affected joints.
  • Problems coordinating muscle movement, with decreased ability to move the affected body part, and
    abnormal movement in the affected limb, most often fixed abnormal posture (called dystonia) but also tremors in or jerking of the affected limb.

Early recognition of the disease, along with proper treatment, is vital in keeping Complex Regional Pain Syndrome from becoming a chronic condition. Treatment must begin as soon as possible of onset or the probability of aquiring a long-term disability may increase with each passing day.


Prompt examination and evaluation of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is imperative. The victim of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome needs fast assessment and treatment to minimize the effects of such an injury.

During the past 30 years, The Law Offices of Brent McAfee Thompson has successfully represented thousands of injury victims in work injuries, construction accidents and other significant personal injury situations.

Our experience has allowed us to represent individuals who have suffered Amputations, Traumatic Brain Injuries, Spinal Cord Injuries, and Wrongful Death cases. Our firm is aggressive in pursuing the best interests of our clients. We have the knowledge and experience to successfully achieve a superior recovery or verdict on your injury situation.

Our office is always ready and willing to proceed to Trial on behalf of our clientele. We work strictly on a contingent fee basis; You need not worry about advancing out-of-pocket expenses.


If you or someone you know has suffered from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Contact Us Immediately.

In home appointments are available 7 days a week.

Contact The Law Offices of Brent M. Thompson NOW for a FREE consultation

(800) 400-8321