What is CRPS?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is where chronic pain presents itself in the following locations: an arm, hand, foot, or leg). This occurs after the area had been injured or there has been trauma. There is damage or malfunctioning of the peripheral and central nervous centers with a CRPS diagnosis. This means there will potentially be brain and spinal cord involvement as well as the nerves of the body. What results is pain that is prolonged and unbearable, with changes in the skin color, temperature, and possible swelling in the affected extremity. Symptoms are variable in the duration and the severity of CRPS.

•    There are two kinds of CRPS—CRPS-1 and CRPS-2. They both have similar symptoms but CRPS-II is noted to have confirmed nerve injury. The disorder can occur at any age or gender, however, rare in children under the age of 10 and the elderly. The average age is 40 years old.

•    The key symptom that shows the practitioner that CRPS is the problem is prolonged pain that will not go away. It will feel like “pins and needles” or something has their limb in a vice. The pain may spread beyond the initial area or travel to the opposite extremity. Allodynia, or increased sensitivity in the affected area, can cause extreme discomfort when even the lightest touch is unbearable.

•    Early treatment of complex regional pain syndrome is important to avoid more
disabling signs and symptoms, such as tissue wasting and contractures. If you are not moving a limb as much because it hurts to move it, your bones and muscles will not be stimulated enough. This will cause them to weaken and deteriorate. Your muscles will tend to tighten as well and you will have difficulties getting your extremities to straighten and bend as they should.

•    There is no single test that will diagnose CRPS, but there are a few procedures that will give the doctor a clue to whether complex regional pain syndrome. Physical and medical histories are important as well as radiological and other types of tests. A bone scan will detect any bone changes. A thermography is used to measure skin temperature and see how much blood flow is going through your limbs. An x-ray is useful to identify any mineral loss from bones. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may show tissue changes that may be caused by CRPS.

There are effective treatments to help alleviate the pain from chronic regional pain syndrome. A sympathetic nerve block relieves the pain of CRPS by injecting an anesthetic in the area of the spine to block the communication of sympathetic nerves. It also improves blood flow.

Pain Management Doctors in Las Vegas performs sympathetic nerve blocks as an outpatient procedure. Numbing medication is used to alleviate any pain at the injection site. Intravenous sedation may be used.

Pain Clinics Las Vegas typically uses fluoroscopy which aids in the best needle placement. Contrast dye is used so that nerves are visible in the x-ray. Numbing medication will be injected and phenol that will deaden the sympathetic nerves to reduce pain sensations.

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