Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), usually affects extremities such as the hands and feet, with chronic pain and wasting of tissues as its main symptoms. The pain is usually localized in a single arm, leg, hand or foot, but it can affect different areas of the body at different times. The illness is much more common than generally realized, and it may be a component of many other diseases.
Researchers haven’t pinpointed a specific cause of CRPS, but it is believed that CRPS can be triggered by an injury such as a cut, sprain or fracture. Pain, even after the most severe injury, usually disappears within six weeks as part of the healing process. However, the symptoms of CRPS can develop days, weeks, or months after an injury. The prolonged (chronic) pain caused by CRPS may be related to the inability of the sympathetic nervous system to shut down after an injury.
If diagnosed and treated early, CRPS is curable. If undiagnosed and allowed to progress, CRPS leads to permanent deformities and immobility of the limbs, and will spread to large segments of the body. At an advanced stage of the illness, all patients have significant psychiatric problems and narcotic dependency and are completely incapacitated by the disease. CRPS does not significantly decrease a patient’s lifespan, so patients face the existence of continuous severe pain.
If you believe that you may be suffering from CRPS as the result of an injury or accident, we urge you to immediately call us at 1-800-718-4658 for a free, confidential consultation. Let our skilled California CRPS lawyers advise you of your legal rights. Call now.
Symptoms of CRPS
1. Pain: constant, burning pain, and in some forms at times during the course of the disease, a stabbing type of pain (causalgic). The pain is chronic and is accompanied by allodynia (even a simple touch or breeze can aggravate the pain) and hyperpathia (painful response to even a simple stimulation.)
The pain and suffering from an injury does not diminish in the initial stages of CRPS. Instead, it gets worse, often spreading from the injury site to other parts of the limb, the opposite limb or other parts of the body.
2. Skin & Muscle Spasms: Spasms in the blood vessels of the skin and muscles of the extremities. The spasms in the blood vessels result in a cold extremity. The muscle spasms result in tremor, movement disorders such as dystonia, flexion spasm, weakness and clumsiness of the extremities, and tendency to fall.
3. Inflammation: CRPS is accompanied by a certain degree of inflammation in practically all cases. This inflammation may be in the form of: swelling (edema), skin rash (neurodermatitis), inflammatory changes of the skin color (mottled or purplish, bluish or reddish or pale discolorations), the skin may feel “hot” to the touch, tendency for bleeding in the skin, skin becoming easily bruised, inflammation and swelling around the joints as well as in the joints (such as wrists, shoulders, knee, etc.) which can be identified on MRI in later stages, and secondary freezing of the joints.
4. Insomnia/Emotional Disturbance: The fact that the sympathetic sensory nerve fibers carrying the sympathetic pain and impulse up to the brain terminate in the part of the brain called the “limbic system”. This limbic (marginal) system, which is positioned between the old brain (brainstem) and the new brain (cerebral hemispheres), is mainly located over the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain. The disturbance of function of these parts of the brain results in insomnia, agitation, depression, irritability, and disturbance of judgment. Insomnia is an integral part of an untreated CRPS. So are problems of depression, irritability, and agitation.
5. Additional Symptoms:
- Excessive sweating
- Changes in bone density
- Decreased limb mobility
- Joint stiffness
- Decreased hair growth
- Decreased muscle tone
- Changes in nail growth
- Muscular Atrophy
If you have been diagnosed with CRPS or RSD following an accident or injury, contact the California CRPS attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen for a free case evaluation. You can call us at 1-800-718-4658, use the live chat feature, or complete the contact form on this page.
We work solely on a contingency fee basis, therefore, there is no upfront cost to you for our services. Our attorneys only collect a fee for our services, if a recovery is made. You have nothing to lose by calling us for your free consultation. All requests are responded to within 24 hours or less.
How Do You Treat CRPS?
Treatment of CRPS is most effective when it is part of a comprehensive pain management program. This treatment will usually include psychological evaluations, physical therapy, and pain medication. Treatment of CRPS requires an experienced team effort, especially between the anesthesiologist and psychologist or psychiatrist.
Treatment may also include the overall coordination of the patient’s care by a rehabilitation provider or nurse with expertise in the field of CRPS. Treatment can also include sympathetic nerve block, spinal cord stimulation, surgery and internal drug pumps.
How Is CRPS Diagnosed?
CRPS was first diagnosed over 100 years ago during the American Civil War. While it continues to be a major catastrophic disease resulting from injury, some physicians continue to question its existence, especially during the early stages when the disease presents no definitive physical evidence.
There is no one diagnostic test which can determine whether a patient has CRPS. You should seek a doctor’s advice as soon as possible if you begin exhibiting symptoms you believe are indicative of CRPS.
Unfortunately, the physician who fails to diagnose and initiate early treatment of CRPS may foreclose a possible cure. No laboratory test presently exists to diagnose CRPS in its early stages. The early diagnosis depends on the ability of the physician to identify and piece together the many signs of CRPS, which do not always follow the textbook description.
Furthermore, many healthcare centers lack a standardized approach to the diagnosis and treatment of CRPS. Many patients grow frustrated in their search for CRPS treatment. This can create problems for patients who are receiving workers’ compensation benefits or pursuing personal injury claims.
How Do I Make A Personal Injury Claim For CRPS?
If you think you have CRPS from an accident-related injury, contact the CRPS Lawsuit Attorneys of Nadrich & Cohen now by calling 1-800-718-4658, using the live chat feature, or completing the contact form on this page.
We never collect a fee for our services unless a recovery is made. Our CRPS attorneys and legal teams have successfully resolved many CRPS injury claims. Don’t wait, contact us now.