* Previously called “Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome – RSD”

What is CRPS?

Complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic, severe pain condition. The key symptom is severe pain that is greater than you would expect for the type of injury. The pain usually gets worse rather than better. CRPS most often affects one of the arms, legs, hands or feet. CRPS can happen at any age.

Symptoms of CRPS Include:  

The key symptom is continuous, intense pain out of proportion to the severity of the injury (if an injury has occurred), which gets worse rather than better over time. CRPS most often affects one of the extremities (arms, legs, hands, or feet) and is also often accompanied by:

  • “Burning” pain
  • Increased skin sensitivity
  • Changes in skin temperature: warmer or cooler compared to the opposite extremity
  • Changes in skin color: often blotchy, purple, pale, or red
  • Changes in skin texture: shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty
  • Changes in nail and hair growth patterns
  • Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  • Motor disability, with decreased ability to move the affected body part

Common Rehab Treatment Interventions

  • Physical Therapy
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Treatment objectives are to minimize edema, normalize sensation, promote normal positioning, decrease muscle guarding and increase independence in all areas – mobility, work, leisure, and activities of daily living.
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