Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/ Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Overview: Today, I’ll be discussing the stages and types of CRPS. As CRPS progresses, the symptoms exacerbate, and deterioration or waste (muscle atrophy) is more apparent. In identifying the stages and types it can allow you to identify where you are in the process, and determine the appropriate next steps.
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is defined as a chronic debilitating pain, continuous beyond the healing of the wound, surgery, fracture, or abrasion and out of proportion of the injury. It is believed by industry experts to be linked to the nervous system.
Type I. Identified as sympathetic dystrophy defined when there is no known nerve damage.
Type II. – specified by causalgia, resulting due to specific nerve damage
Stage I. - Acute – also known as the acute stage beginning with the 1-3 months timeline.
Symptoms include; – severe burning pain, swelling, skin discoloration, increased sweating, and decreased mobility and range of motion; high-level of sensitivity also known as allodynia can occur during this phase.
Stage II. – The subacute stage begins from month three and lasts through 6 months. (3-6 months)
Symptoms – Chronic pain, swelling, skin dryness, allodynia, on-going changes with the skin, joints, and muscle weakening. The level of pain threshold increases, changes continue to occur to the hair, skin, and nails. Muscle atrophy and contraction may begin.
Stage III. After 6 months, stage three occurs. At this phase, muscle atrophy (waste) may be visible, and stiffness of the muscle and limb may make it too painful or difficult to move the affected limb. This can also cause contraction of the affected limb. If CRPS is left untreated, these changes can become permanent and lead to disability. Brain and Life Magazine points out in an online article: “Dr. Oaklander’s finding of small fiber axonal damage is important because it helps convince clinicians that CRPS is a real neurological condition. It also helps patients get approval for disability benefits or even certain medications, something that is difficult if no clear cause for the pain can be seen. So being able to show damage with objective test is crucial.” – Debra Gordon, MS
Can CRPS be cured or go into remission?
We were in stage II, type II when we started our self-created regimen. Our family has a personal testimony that it can definitely go into remission as we have been diagnosed, went into remission and maintain that status into the present day. We can say that the recovery of the affected limb is at 95%.
Several clinical studies and research are underway for CRPS. Be sure to check out our latest blog entry with 2023’s latest treatments for CRPS.
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The chronic pain of CRPS is more than a feeling. Brain and Life Magazine - Trusted by Neurologists. (n.d.-a). https://www.brainandlife.org/articles/more-than-a-feeling
Division of Pain Medicine. (n.d.). Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Division of Pain Medicine. https://med.stanford.edu/pain/about/chronic-pain/crps.html
Hughston. (2021, October 18). Complex regional pain syndrome. Hughston Clinic. https://hughston.com/wellness/complex-regional-pain-syndrome/