Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) causes chronic, worsening pain that can severely disable an arm or leg. If you need help with the effects of CRPS, Shamsideen Musa, MD, of Algone Anchorage Interventional Pain Clinic in Anchorage, Alaska, can help. Dr. Musa is a board-certified anesthesiologist and interventional pain specialist who has considerable experience treating patients who struggle with CRPS. Call Algone Anchorage Interventional Pain Clinic today to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online.
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), or reflex sympathetic dystrophy, is a chronic pain condition affecting an arm or leg.
The pain most often begins some time after you sustain an injury in that arm or leg. You develop ongoing pain that doesn’t get better but becomes progressively worse. The pain is also likely to spread, radiating from the arm or leg into your body.
CRPS is an abnormal response to an injury, a kind of hyperreactivity similar to immune system dysfunctions that give you allergies.
Why some people’s bodies respond in this way when most don’t isn’t known. There could be a genetic influence, but no one's yet found a specific gene that causes CRPS.
CRPS typically develops after an injury, such as a sprained ligament, fractured bone, or burn injury, after a stroke or heart attack, or following a medical or surgical procedure.
CRPS causes burning pain and pins and needles in the affected limb. You might notice your skin changing color, and the arm or leg might feel colder or hotter than your other limbs.
People with CRPS can become so sensitive that light or gentle touch causes a pain response. You might also sweat a lot, see changes in the health of your nails or hair, and find it harder to move the affected limb normally.
CRPS can also cause depression and other psychological disorders.
CRPS is incurable, but the earlier you start treatment, the less impact it has on your life. Dr. Musa first makes sure there’s no other explanation for your symptoms before creating a treatment plan for your CRPS, so you might need to undergo diagnostic tests to rule out other causes.
Your CRPS treatment plan includes both physical therapies to help with the pain and dysfunction and psychotherapy if you also have depression or other mood disorders.
Pain medications can help but should form part of a comprehensive treatment program, not be the primary method of treating CRPS.
Dr. Musa might recommend a nerve block if your pain is unmanageable. A nerve block is an injection containing an anesthetic that gives you temporary pain relief.
If these treatments don’t reduce your pain enough, Dr. Musa can talk to you about having an implantable pain pump, such as the Medtronic SynchroMed™ II pump and catheter.
This is a device that sits under your skin and contains a reservoir filled with strong pain-relieving medication. You adjust how much medication you get using a handheld device that signals the pain pump to deliver the drug into your spinal fluid.
If you have symptoms of CRPS or already have a diagnosis and aren’t happy with your treatment program, call Algone Anchorage Interventional Pain Clinic today or book an appointment online.