Skip to main content

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Pain Physicians of Indiana -  - Interventional Pain Management

Pain Physicians of Indiana

Interventional Pain Management Specialists located in Merrillville, IN

You might be one of the many people feeling swamped and exasperated by complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). Proficient interventional pain medicine physician Tarek H. Shahbandar, MD, offers treatments to reduce your pain and enhance your well-being at the Pain Physicians of Indiana, P.C., in Merrillville, Indiana. Schedule your personal consultation online or call the office today.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Q & A

What is complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

CRPS or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) refers to a form of chronic pain that typically affects one of your legs or arms.

The symptoms of CRPS include:

  • Persistent throbbing or burning pain typically in your leg, hand, arm, or foot
  • Sensitivity to cold or touch
  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Changes in skin temperature that alternates between cold and sweating
  • Changes in skin color, ranging from white to red or blue
  • Changes in skin texture that might become thin, shiny, or tender in the affected area
  • Changes in nail and hair growth
  • Joint swelling, stiffness, and damage
  • Muscle tremors, spasms, weakness, and loss (atrophy)
  • Reduced ability to move your affected body part

Symptoms can vary and change over time. In some cases, the affected limb can become cold and pale or undergo skin and nail changes, muscle spasms, and tightening. Once these changes take place, CRPS is often irreversible.

CRPS can occasionally spread from the source to other areas of your body, such as the opposite limb.

For some people, the signs and symptoms of CRPS subside on their own, but in other cases, symptoms can persist for months or even years.

What causes CRPS?

The cause of CRPS isn’t clear. It’s thought to be the result of a trauma or injury or an abnormality of the inflammatory responses and the central and peripheral nervous systems. Many cases occur after a forceful trauma to your leg or arm, and other causes include a:

  • Fracture
  • Crushing injury
  • Amputation
  • Surgery
  • Heart attack
  • Injection
  • Sprained ankle

When looking at the initial injury, a telltale sign is that the pain you suffer may seem disproportionate to its severity.

There are two types of CRPS that have similar symptoms, but different causes. Type 1 CRPS happens following an injury that didn’t cause direct damage to the nerves in your affected limb. Around 90% of people with CRPS have Type 1. Type 2, sometimes called causalgia, follows a distinct nerve injury.

How is CRPS treated?

After an in-depth discussion of your symptoms, a review of your medical and family history, and a physical exam and additional testing, Dr. Tarek Shahbandar devises a treatment plan and might suggest:

  • Lifestyle modifications, such as exercise and a nutrient-dense diet
  • Spinal stimulation
  • Epidural steroid injections
  • Selective nerve root blocks
  • Radiofrequency neurotomy
  • Intrathecal pump
  • Limited use of medications when needed, such as anti-inflammatories, bone-loss medications, and pain relievers

Click here on the web or call the Pain Physicians of Indiana, P.C., office to schedule empathic care for your CRPS today.

What we offer

List of services