I have been told I have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)… but what is that??

posted Mar 27, 2012, 11:09 PM by LASP Team

CRPS is exactly that – Complex!  It is a condition which occurs most commonly in hands and feet following a traumatic injury such as a bad fracture or sprain.  Occasionally it can occur in any body part even after a very mild injury.

Symptoms which may indicate that you have CRPS include intermittent sweating, swelling & skin colour changes, unusually high pain levels post injury or changes in the quality of skin hair at the site of injury.

CRPS is caused by a variety of factors.  Most often changes in the nervous system are the main cause.  The Autonomic Nervous System (which controls your heart & breathing) can be overactive or not working normally, which can make you feel things such as sweating, shiny or coldness on your skin. In addition the Somatic Nervous System can also become overactive, which means you may feel normally non-painful stimulus as painful.  Pain research has demonstrated that inflammation and decreased oxygen at the injury site can also contribute to the pain experience.  A final important contributor to pain levels with CRPS is stress or anxiety – the higher these are with this condition the worse the pain experience.

Despite the variety of symptoms & pain experiences CRPS will not continue to worsen, will not spread & can be treated. Successful treatment involves specific advice on how to use the effected body part, and specific exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist. Stress and anxiety management strategies, including relaxation, meditation, medication & counselling may also be appropriate.

If you have any questions about CRPS or think this may be your problem, please contact us on (02) 4647 3373.