Our attorneys represent people who have been seriously injured in a variety of settings, including motor vehicle crashes, construction site accidents, and other instances of severe physical trauma. We also regulalry represent victims of medical negligence. One of the most devastating conditions that can arise in those contexts is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) — also — formerly referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD).
CRPS is a neurological condition resulting in chronic pain that occurs after a crushing injury or fracture of the arm or leg. Other physical traumas, such as surgery, heart attacks, or ankle injuries, can result in CRPS. The pain experienced by someone with CRPS is typically far greater than what would be expected based on the severity of the underlying injury.
Early Diagnosis and Treatment of CRPS Is Key
Unfortunately, the precise cause or pathophysioloical mechanism of CRPS is not well understood. Nevertheless, early diagnosis of CRPS based on a number of diagnositc criteria is key to effective treatment. Indeed, delayed diagnosis and treatment of CRPS may lead to more disabling conditions, such as tissue atrophy and muscle contracture.
The following video from Dr. Robert Norman Harden, Professor Emeritus of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Northwestern University, does a good job explaining how CRPS may be diagnosed by a skilled physician during an office examination:
The most prominent symptom of CRPS is pain and increased pain sensitivity to the affected limb, including burning or throbbing pain. Additional symptoms of CRPS include the following:
- Changes in skin color or texture;
- Changes in skin temperature;
- Skin swelling;
- Decreased function of affected limb;
- Changes in hair or nail growth.
Accordingly, CRPS may be diagnosed on clinical physical examination. There are additional tests and modalities, which may assist in the diagnosis of CRPS, including X-Rays, MRI, bone scans, or sweat production tests.
There are a number of medications and therapies used to treat CRPS, although there is no definitive treatment for CRPS and the pain and other symptoms associated with CRPS may be permanent — which is a major reason why early diagnosis and treatment is key.
For a Free Consultation with one of our Chicago injury attorneys at Passen & Powell to discuss a potential matter, call us at 312-527-4500.