CRPS; RSDS; Causalgia - RSD; Shoulder-hand syndrome; Reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome; Sudeck's atrophy
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that can affect any area of the body, but often affects an arm or a leg.
Doctors aren't sure what causes CRPS. In some cases, the sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the pain. Another theory is that CRPS is caused by a triggering of the immune response, which leads to the inflammatory symptoms of redness, warmth, and swelling in the affected area.
CRPS has two forms:
CRPS is thought to result from damage to the nervous system, including the nerves that control the blood vessels and sweat glands.
The damaged nerves are no longer able to properly control blood flow, feeling (sensation), and temperature to the affected area. This leads to medical problems in the:
Possible causes of CRPS:
Rarely, sudden illnesses such as a heart attack or stroke can cause CSPS. The condition can sometimes appear without obvious injury to the affected limb.
This condition is more common in people ages 40 - 60, but it has been seen in younger people too.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
Saxton DL, Lindenfeld TN. Complications. In: DeLee JC, Drez D Jr., Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier;2009:chap 7.
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