Complex regional pain syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a rare but debilitating condition characterized by chronic pain and sensory and motor disturbances in an extremity or body region. Its epidemiology, etiopathogenesis, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment are detailed below:


Complex regional pain syndrome can affect anyone, but it is more common in women and in people between 40 and 60 years of age. Although its exact prevalence is unknown, it is estimated to affect between 5 and 26 people per 100,000 population.


The exact cause of complex regional pain syndrome is not completely known, but it is believed that it may be the result of an abnormal response of the nervous system to injury or disease. Risk factors include nerve injuries, bone fractures, surgeries, infections, autoimmune diseases and certain medications.


Complex regional pain syndrome is characterized by chronic, severe pain, usually in one extremity, which may be disproportionate to the original injury. Other symptoms include swelling, changes in skin temperature, sensory and motor disturbances, such as changes in sensation, mobility, sweating, and hair and nail growth. These symptoms can affect the patient's quality of life and limit his or her ability to perform daily activities.


The diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome is based on the patient's symptoms and the exclusion of other conditions that may cause chronic pain. There is no specific test for complex regional pain syndrome.


Treatment of complex regional pain syndrome focuses on relieving pain and improving the function of the affected limb. Treatments may include pain medications, physical therapy, occupational therapy, nerve blocks and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS).