Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), sometimes known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a very painful medical condition that may affect various parts of the body, frequently the arm, hand, leg or foot. CRPS usually follows an injury or illness, and is the result of dysfunction in the peripheral or central nervous systems. However, the trauma which causes CRPS does not have to appear significant; in fact, the injury that causes CRPS/RSD does not even have to be a visible one. The amount of pain caused by CPRS/RSD is much greater than what untrained professionals would expect from what appears to be a minimal injury. With CRPS, the intense pain seems out of proportion compared to the injury that caused it.
CRPS/RSD symptoms vary from person to person, and may change over time. It can affect both men and women and strikes at any age. This extremely painful disease is often characterized by:
- severe burning pain, frequently in an arm, hand, leg or foot
- color changes in the skin — skin may range from white and mottled to shades of red or even blue
- changes in skin temperature — sometimes skin may feel cold and other times it may be very sweaty
- tissue swelling
- extreme sensitivity to touch — even a gentle touch can cause extreme pain
- joint stiffness, swelling or damage
- muscle spasms, weakness and loss of use (called atrophy)
- changes in nail and hair growth
There are two types of CRPS:
- Type 1 – Previously called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Type 1 happens after an injury or illness that did not directly damage the nerves of the affected limb. About 90 percent of victims have Type 1.
- Type 2 – Previously referred to as causalgia, this type happens after a distinct nerve injury.
It’s important to treat CRPS as soon as possible. If you experience intense, ongoing pain in a limb and touching or moving your limb causes intolerable pain, see your physician to determine what is causing this problem. Your doctor might use a bone scan, x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other tests to help determine a possible cause. As conditions get worse, and time goes by, it is harder to reverse the damage. There are many possible treatments that your doctor might prescribe to help you. Your family physician will be able to answer questions about treatment options. The sooner you talk to your doctor, the better your chances for a positive treatment plan.
Also, you should consider a thorough investigation of the event that you think caused your CRPS. The cause could be as simple as a door closing on your foot, or a minor car wreck in which no victims suffered any broken bones. But the event needs to be investigated to help determine the cause and possible next steps. An attorney experienced in CRPS/RSD cases can help determine the full extent of your losses and you should consider seeking compensation.
If you believe that you or a loved one suffers from CRPS/RSD, contact Carr & Carr today. With nearly 40 years of helping victims get the compensation and care they deserve, we can help you and your family. Our offices are conveniently located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, and our lawyers can also arrange to meet you in another location convenient for you.