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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a complicated, multifactorial pain condition, which affects the extremity of an individual after it is traumatically injured. Meaning, it has many underlying causes or factors. This disorder has been extremely hard to treat effectively, as evidenced by all previous modalities used to decrease the pain burden in the individual. Further complicating effective treatment is that the disease process is not entirely understood, and treatment protocol remains a multi-faceted approach.

The classic definition of CRPS is a neuropathic pain syndrome that presents with neuropathic, or nerve pain as well as a vascular component which includes skin swelling, temperature and color changes, decreased range of motion, and sensory changes. This pain is often more severe and out of proportion compared with others that have suffered the same injury.


The most common form is called CRPS type 1 (formerly RSD). This is diagnosed without having any known nerve injury. CRPS type 2 is associated with a nerve injury that can be identified through a physical exam. Trauma to the extremity can cause either type of CRPS, and is most frequently the result of a crush injury, fracture, sprain, burn, or surgical procedure. In CRPS type 1, the person is not likely to identify the primary cause of their pain. In both types of CRPS, the signs and symptoms are so similar, treatment is the same for both.

If you or someone you know has been suffering with CRPS, we can help.


Gibbons CH, Engstrom JW. Disorders of the Autonomic Nervous System. In: Jameson J, Fauci AS, Kasper DL, Hauser SL, Longo DL, Loscalzo J. eds. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 20e New York, NY.

Complex regional pain syndrome in adults: concise guidance. Turner-Stokes L, Goebel A, Guideline Development Group.. Clin Med (Lond). 2011 Dec; 11(6):596-600.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Current Concepts and Treatment Options. Urits I, Shen AH, Jones MR, Viswanath O, Kaye AD. Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2018 Feb 5;22(2):10