Our Indianapolis CRPS specialists have proven expertise treating this chronic pain condition. CRPS most often affects one of the limbs (arms, legs, hands or feet), usually after an injury or trauma to that limb. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to the peripheral or central nervous systems. It is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain along with dramatic changes in skin color, temperature, texture and/or swelling of the affected area. The pain may feel like a burning or “pins and needles” sensation. The pain may spread to include the entire arm or leg, even though the precipitating injury might have been only to a finger or toe. Pain can sometimes even travel to the opposite extremity. There is often increased sensitivity in the affected area, such that even light touch or contact is painful (called allodynia).
There are two similar forms of CRPS, called CRPS-I and CRPS-II, with the same symptoms and treatments. CRPS-II (previously called causalgia) is the term used for patients with confirmed nerve injuries. Individuals without confirmed nerve injury are classified as having CRPS-I (previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome). Some research has identified evidence of nerve injury in CRPS-I, so the validity of the two different forms is being investigated.
While anyone can get CRPS, it is much more common in women than men. The average age of onset is 40 years old. CRPS is rare in the elderly. Children do not get it before age 5 and only very rarely before age 10, but it is not uncommon in teenagers. CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration. While there is no cure for CRPS, studies of the disease show that most cases are mild and individuals recover gradually with treatment and time. In more severe cases, individuals may not fully recover and may have long-term disability.
Contact the Indianapolis Center for Pain Management to discuss treatment options for CRPS.