If you were involved in a serious vehicle collision, there are certain injuries you may expect. Or at least, you may not be surprised to hear the diagnosis. You know that crashes can result in broken bones, cuts and bruises, muscle strain, head trauma, and other serious injuries. Once you know what is wrong, the next thing to do is focus on your recovery. You follow the doctor’s orders, and you expect to eventually return to your normal life. But what happens when six months or one year later, you are still in pain? If you are experiencing persistent pain and other symptoms in a limb, hand, or foot after suffering a traumatic injury, you may have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). You should see a physician rule out other potential causes of the pain and receive an official diagnosis. The sooner your physicians can rule out or confirm CRPS, the sooner you can move forward with an appropriate course of treatment.
What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is a condition that involves chronic pain in the foot, leg, hand, or arm. It typically arises after you experience a traumatic medical event, such as surgery, or injury to a limb or extremity. However, doctors and researchers are not entirely sure why one person may develop CRPS and another may not. They believe the condition develops because of a damaged or malfunctioning nervous system. CRPS is divided into two types. In Type I Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, which used to be called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), you do not have any underlying nerve damage in the affected area. In Type II, you will have been diagnosed with nerve damage in the area experiencing pain.
Signs of Complex Regional Pain SyndromeOne of the most significant symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is chronic pain. This means you feel persistent, significant pain for at least six months. The pain can differ from person to person. You may describe it as pressure, pins and needles, a burning sensation, numbness, or as if someone is squeezing that part of your body. However, there are also other signs of CRPS. You may experience:
- Stiffness and swelling around your joints;
- Decreased mobility in that part of your body;
- Increased skin sensitivity;
- Changes in the color of your skin;
- Changes in the temperature of your skin;
- Changes in the texture of your skin; and
- Changes in the growth of your hair and nails on the affected limb.