CRPS & Life Expectancy: How Does CRPS Effect Life Expectancy?

 Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Life Expectancy – What The Research Says


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a relatively common medical condition that causes severe pain after an injury to the arm or leg. Every year, more than 200,000 Americans deal with this condition.

CRPS is classified into two types:

  • Type 1 – The pain occurs without any identified nerve damage.
  • Type 2 – The pain occurs following a known nerve injury.

Due to the high incidence of this condition and how it negatively impacts the patient’s quality of life, a lot of people started wondering whether CRPS affects life expectancy.

In this article, we will take a look at the scientific evidence that discusses complex regional pain syndrome life expectancy.

Complex regional pain syndrome life expectancy

Studying complex regional pain syndrome life expectancy is extremely challenging since it’s very difficult to pinpoint the causation of the former. For example, if a patient has CRPS and develops heart disease in the future, it’s virtually impossible to tell which condition does reduce life expectancy.

With that said, researchers analyzed the effect of pain on the expected life expectancy. One study found that an individual’s life expectancy varies minimally based on their baseline pain status. However, pain-free life expectancy varies significantly. For example, an 85-year-old woman without initial pain can expect 7.04 more years, with 5.28 being pain-free. In contrast, an 85-year-old woman with severe initial pain can expect 6.42 more years, with only 2.66 being pain-free. Therefore, pain influences the quality of life significantly rather than life expectancy.

Another research paper by The Lancet stated that chronic pain significantly decreases life expectancy, even when accounting for increased depression, suicide, and opioid use rates. The treatment approach must consider the complex interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors. This may not apply to CRPS since the pain is usually acute.

Chronic regional pain syndrome and Quality of Life

Living a regular life with a CRPS diagnosis is possible, albeit you need to make a few changes. For starters, you must recognize your physical boundaries and be aware of the strain placed on your body. Additionally, it's crucial to engage in routine daily activities as much as you can. What’s more, you should not abandon your hobbies; instead, use them to maintain a good mental status and emotional health.

From an international view, there are well-known individuals who suffer from CRPS, such as Rachel Morris and Danielle Brown, British Paralympic athletes. Another example is Paula Abdul, an American singer and TV personality.

Despite the challenges and ongoing battles related to CRPS, these individuals managed to lead normal and, in some cases, notably remarkable lives.

Takeaway message

CRPS is a very common condition that occurs after a traumatic injury to the limb. There is no evidence that this condition negatively impacts life expectancy. However, we need more studies before drawing any conclusions.

We hope that this article managed to highlight the research around complex regional pain syndrome life expectancy.

If you have any questions about this topic, please do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section below.


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