Fast Facts About CRPS

November is CRPS awareness month so I decided to share some facts about CRPS to help raise awareness. Please feel free to pass them on, they came from the National Pain Foundation web site.

· Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) types I and II are the current terms used by the International Association for the Study of Pain to more accurately describe the conditions previously known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) and causalgia.

· There are two types of CRPS: type I and type II. Type I refers to cases of RSDS that do not involve nerve injuries. Type II refers to those CRPS cases that do involve nerve damage.

· CRPS is a relatively rare disorder but may affect millions of people in the United States alone.

· CRPS affects both men and women. However, the incidence of CRPS is higher in women.

· The average age of people affected by CRPS is in the mid-30s, although children also can be affected.

· Medical science has not yet determined the real cause or causes of CRPS, but a number of precipitating factors are linked to the onset of CRPS. All have in common something that causes pain, usually in an extremity, such as an arm or leg.

· CRPS type II, perhaps the most severe type of this disorder, may develop when people injure a nerve or nerves in an extremity such as an arm, leg or foot.

· No one specific medical test or tool is currently available to diagnose CRPS with 100 percent certainty. Any combination of tests can only give a high, medium or low probability that the group of symptoms and signs is CRPS. Evaluation and testing involves a careful history and physical examination as well as a combination of complex tests that are best administered by specialists in Pain Medicine and management.

· A number of CRPS treatment options exist. These include drug therapy, nerve blocks, physical therapy, occupational therapy, psychotherapy, spiritual counseling, biofeedback, sympathetic blocks and the more controversial and unproven interventional treatments such as chemical sympathectomy (chemically destroying the afflicted portion of the sympathetic nervous system pathway), external or implantable pain-relief devices, supportive psychological treatment and/or spiritual counseling.

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