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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Considered to be an uncommon form of chronic pain that commonly affects an arm or a leg, complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS develops after an injury, surgery, heart attack, or stroke occurs. However, the pain is usually unequal to the status of the initial injury.

There is no known cause of complex regional pain syndrome; in fact, it’s not clearly understood. Treatment may be most effective when started early. Improvement and remission are possible in cases where treatment was started early.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome.

  • Throbbing pain in the extremities, usually in the arms, legs, hand or foot and its constant.
  • Hypersensitivity to the slightest touch or cold
  • Swelling of the affected area.
  • Changes in body temperatures which results in the skin being sweaty to becoming very cold.
  • Skin color may also change that ranges from white to mottled red or blue.
  • Skin texture may change and can become tender, thin or shiny especially on the affected area.
  • Nail and hair growth changes
  • There will be swelling and damage to joints and also stiffness can occur.
  • Atrophy or muscle weakness
  • Inability to move or decreased movement in the affected body part.

However, the symptoms may change over time and can vary from one person to the other. It can also be useful to understand that the most common symptoms that will occur first are a pain, swelling, redness, noticeable changes in temperatures and high sensitivity to cold and touch.

Furthermore, as time goes by, the affected limb or area will become cold and pale. The skin and nails will change and muscle weakness, as well as tightening, will also occur. These are usually irreversible. The complex regional pain syndrome can also spread from its source to other parts of the body, usually the opposite limb. If the affected individual is undergoing emotional stress, the pain may also increase.

Again, depending on each individual, signs, and symptoms may go away while in others can last for many more months and years.

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If you think you are suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).