Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a medical condition where a person experiences constant and intense pain, usually in an arm or leg. It’s hard to figure out if someone has CRPS because there’s no single test that can tell for sure. Doctors have to look closely at the patient’s symptoms and medical history. The pain is usually worse than the actual injury or illness they have had. The skin may change color or temperature, and is generally very sensitive to touch.

If someone is found to have CRPS, treating it involves different strategies:

Medications: The main focus is to reduce the pain. Painkillers like ibuprofen or paracetamol are often not enough, so doctors may need to prescribe stronger drugs. Some drugs specifically help to calm the nerves down.

Physical Therapy: This is very important and involves exercises and treatments to keep the limb moving, prevent muscles from weakening, and help with the pain.

Occupational Therapy: This helps patients learn new ways to do daily chores so they can be more independent.

Nerve Block Injections: Doctors may inject medicine to stop the nerves in the affected limb from causing pain.

Spinal Cord Stimulation: Sometimes, a device is put into the body to send electrical signals to the spinal cord to try and block the pain. This is a minor surgical procedure.

Psychotherapy: Dealing with constant pain can be very hard mentally, so meeting a psychologist can be helpful for patients with a lot of emotional stress.

It is very important for patients with CRPS to work with a pain specialist to come up with a plan that is right for them. Starting treatment early and using different methods together are key to dealing with CRPS effectively.

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