Complex regional pain syndrome is a devastating chronic pain condition usually affecting an arm or leg. The pain usually follows an injury, surgery, stroke or heart attack. However, the pain is out of proportion in severity comparing to the initial injury. There are two types of the complex regional pain syndrome.
Type I. This type of complex regional pain syndrome is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome. The condition occurs after an injury or illness without known damage to the nerve of the affected limb. The absolute majority of the complex regional pain syndrome is Type I.
Type II. This type of complex regional pain syndrome is also known as causalgia and the pain follows a distinct nerve injury.
The majority of the cases of complex regional pain syndrome occur after a crush injury, fracture, surgical procedure or amputation. Emotional stress could be as predisposing factor. The treatment of the complex regional pain syndrome is more effective and successful if started early.
The management and treatment of the complex regional pain syndrome is very challenging. Patient can benefit from taking pain relievers, antidepressants and anticonvulsants, corticosteroids medications, bone loss medications and sympathetic nerve block and medications. Several therapies such as applying heat and cold, topical analgesics, physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), biofeedback and spinal cord stimulation placement can help patients with this condition.
Living with chronic painful condition is very challenging especially when your family and friends don’t believe you could have such devastating pain as described. Family support is very important, also sometimes participation in support groups activities where patients can share experience and feelings with other people can provide significant help.