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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a debilitating nerve condition that can affect the limbs after injury or surgery. Although CRPS can occur anywhere in the body, it tends to affect an arm, leg, hand, or foot in most cases.
Symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include severe pain, swelling, decrease in range of motion, temperature changes, or changes in the skin. Severity and length of symptoms varies from person to person, but pain is usually the leading and most disabling symptom.
While complex regional pain syndrome can be tied to trauma, like a fracture or amputation, the exact cause is unknown. Experts believe that it is a result of a dysfunction in or damage to the central or peripheral nervous systems. Abnormal functioning results in an overreaction to pain signals that the nervous system can’t shut off.
Treatment is most effective when started early. Nerve pain is one of the most debilitating and most difficult to treat of all chronic pain conditions. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms, slowing the progression of the disease, and helping the individual manage the pain and maintain quality of life. This may include interventions such as nerve blocks to stop the nerves from working.