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Will My Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Ever Go Away?

After you heal from an injury, like foot trauma or a sprained ankle, you may still experience chronic pain that doesn’t seem to go away. This may be your first indication that you have a condition known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

As experienced pain specialists, the physicians at LA Pain Doctor understand how CRPS-related pain can interfere with your quality of life. Firas Hijazi, MD, and Satvik Munshi, MD, specialize in diagnosing and treating CRPS through a customized treatment plan involving one or more interventional procedures. 

They focus not only on relieving your constant pain but also improving your overall quality of life as you cope with your condition. CRPS is a permanent condition, but with the help of your interventional pain specialist, you can learn how to live a full, pain-free life.

Why you have complex regional pain syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome is a complex nerve condition that typically affects areas like your arm, leg, hand, or foot. CRPS pain originates in these regions after trauma from a fall or car accident or a sports injury.

Even after you heal from your injury, CPRS can cause prolonged pain that interferes with your ability to stay physically active. This pain is likely because of abnormal pain signals that travel from the area to your brain due to tissue injury and inflammation.

Your brain and spinal cord respond to overstimulated neurons and you begin experiencing persistent pain, even from otherwise harmless stimuli. This means your nerves become overly sensitive to sensations that shouldn’t cause pain.

Common symptoms complex regional pain syndrome

There are two types of CRPS. Your condition is diagnosed based on the type of injury you experience before CRPS pain starts.

Type I CRPS develops after you suffer an injury, such as a fracture, sprain, cut, or burn. Type 1 CRPS can also be triggered by surgery or because of an overly tight cast you need to heal a fracture.

Type II CRPS occurs when your pain is the result of a confirmed nerve injury.

Both types of CRPS can cause a wide range of symptoms, including the hallmark symptom of chronic pain. The pain often feels worse than the original trauma and many people experience an intense, burning type of pain in their arm, hand, foot, or leg.

Other signs you may have CRPS include: 

Changes in the skin

In the affected area, your skin may become red, swollen, and hot to the touch. You may also become hypersensitive to touch and temperature and notice changes in the color and texture of your skin and nearby nails and hair.  

Muscle and joint dysfunction

CRPS causes muscle weakness and joint pain that affects your balance and leads to poor coordination. It’s also possible to develop tremors or uncontrollable muscle contractions, a condition known as dystonia

Interventional treatments for complex regional pain syndrome

Because CRPS can affect nerves, skin, joints, and muscles, the LA Pain Doctors physicals take an integrative, multimodal approach to treating it. Initially, you may find relief from arm pain or leg pain with anti-inflammatories, pain medications, and physical therapy to improve blood circulation and the flexibility and function of your muscles and joints.

However, many people need additional treatment to relieve the intense pain of CRPS. For this reason, the LA Pain Doctor physicians offer specific therapies that target the nerves to disrupt abnormal pain signals from traveling to your brain. Your treatment plan may include:

Sympathetic nerve block

A sympathetic nerve block involves an injection of an anesthetic next to the spine to numb the nerve responsible for your pain.

Spinal cord stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator delivers low currents of electricity into the nerves around your spine. This electricity disrupts pain signals and prevents them from traveling to your brain. You control the stimulator with an external remote to treat pain as needed.

Infusions

Through a small catheter, medications are delivered into the epidural space of your spine or in the area around your damaged nerve. The infusions effectively block pain signals to give you long-lasting pain relief.

Don’t let complex regional pain syndrome bring you down. Schedule a diagnostic evaluation for CRPS by calling the LA Pain Doctor office nearest you or by requesting an appointment online today.

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