Early Treatment May Offer Better Outcome for CRPS

Complex regional pain syndrome is a unique and challenging health issue. Because it usually arises after an individual has already spent time healing from a previous injury, being dealt another physical challenge on top of that can be very distressing—and especially one that is worse than the previous condition which may have been a sprain, broken bone, or even a stroke or heart problem.

Type 1 CRPS Is Most Prevalent

While ninety percent of individuals with CRPS are diagnosed with Type 1, which occurs after a trauma without apparent nerve damage, the rare few may also be diagnosed with Type 2 CRPS, which is connected to a previous and definite nerve injury. Because car accidents are a leading cause of major and minor injuries overall, they can also be the precursor to CRPS; for example, an ankle sprain that was thought to have been resolved may re-direct itself into chronic pain affecting that limb, accompanied by discoloration in skin, swelling, and moderate to extreme sensitivity to touch. Symptoms vary, and the pain may be temporary, or it may be lasting, with the condition becoming increasingly debilitating.

CRPS Can Be Difficult to Diagnose, Delaying Treatment

CRPS is still considered rare, affecting around 200,000 individuals in the US. Because there are no specific tests for CRPS, it can sometimes be difficult to diagnose. As a doctor considers the symptoms, other conditions must be ruled out first and a referral may be necessary to a neurologist or pain specialist. Along with examining any obvious symptoms such as swelling, redness, and changes to the skin, X-rays or an MRI may also be called for.

Treating CRPS as soon as possible can be crucial for a more positive outcome though, according to The Mayo Clinic. Physical therapy may be extremely effective, strengthening the affected limbs and helping expand or preserve mobility. Numerous other therapies may be helpful too, including heat therapy, mirror therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and even biofeedback. Medications vary, to include:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Opioids
  • Corticosteroids
  • Pain relieving creams or patches such as Lidocaine
  • Nerve-blockers
  • Anticonvulsants

Because adapting to the challenges of CRPS may be difficult, some patients become depressed, and at times even suicidal. Antidepressants may be prescribed, as well as ongoing therapy and support groups.

How to fend off CRPS?

The Mayo Clinic states that preventative measures such as taking Vitamin C and making sure to get up and moving as soon as possible after a stroke may also keep CRPS away, although it is suspected that genetics could play a part in predisposition as well as women between 40 and 60 being more commonly affected.

Were you in an accident due to the negligence of others that triggered CRPS? If so, please call Heintz & Becker today to consult with a skilled CRPS lawyer. Our attorneys have helped victims from Bradenton, Sarasota, and all over Florida get compensation for their damages and medical expenses. Call us for a free consultation now at 941-748-2916 or contact us online. We are here to help, and if you cannot come to us, we will come to you.

All blogs are written on behalf of Heintz & Becker for informational purposes. These articles should not, however, be considered legal advice, or in any way responsible for creating an attorney/client relationship.