Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome | Comprehensive Pain Management Center


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain and sensory disorder that usually affects the arms and legs.

This condition is most common in women and is seen mostly during ages 40-60.

There are two types of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome that have similar symptoms but different causes or traumas.

Traumas include car accident, crush injury, piercing wounds, surgery, infection, and fractures.

Type I

  • Commonly occurs due to trauma of an area resulting in vasomotor disorder, dilation of blood vessels
  • Most common form of CRPS

Type II

  • Commonly caused by direct nerve injury

Both types of CRPS show similar symptoms of:

  • Allodynia: when pain occurs following a stimulus that is usually seen as not painful
  • Hyperaglesia: when a normally painful stimulus creates a larger pain response than usual
  • Swelling
  • Skin color changes
  • Change in hair growth
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Decreased/limited range of motion

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can be diagnosed using a physical exam and sometimes using radiological imaging.

Physical ExaminationRadiological Findings
Range of MotionCT Scan
Pain ProducedMRI
Sensory FunctionBone Scan


  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications)
  • Membrane stabilizing drugs
  • Opiate-like medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Biofeedback
  • Spinal cord/ Peripheral nerve stimulation

Dramatic improvements are more likely to occur the sooner the diagnoses occurs and treatment is started.


Comprehensive Pain Management Center