Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) /
Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)
CRPS, also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or causalgia, is a chronic pain condition that most often affects the arms, legs, hands, or feet. CRPS usually develops in a limb after an injury (such as a broken bone) or surgery that may have involved nerve damage. The overriding symptom is extreme pain, frequently described as burning. Other symptoms can include sensitivity to touch, swelling, weakness, and decreased function of the hand/foot. As CRPS becomes more severe and chronic, skin changes, changes in hair growth, nail changes, muscle atrophy, and bone changes can occur, limiting motion of the affected extremity. CRPS can be quite debilitating for patients, both medically and psychologically. Although CRPS overall is rare, one suspected of suffering from the disease requires immediate evaluation by a pain medicine physician. An elaborate history and physical examination with extensive focus on neurological examination will be required by your doctor. Additional studies may be required and ordered by your doctor, including X-rays, bone scans, CT scans, and MRI imaging.