Questions And Answers About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

At the Eley Law Firm in Denver, we have been helping injured employees obtain Colorado workers' compensation benefits for the past 30 years. Founding attorney Clifford Eley has experience representing individuals with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). Count on him and our law firm to help you seek benefits, too.

Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers about this potentially disabling condition:

What exactly is complex regional pain syndrome?

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is essentially a type of chronic pain syndrome. In some cases, it is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). It generally affects a person's arms, hands, legs or feet.

CRPS/RSD rarely occurs in the elderly or in young children. Teenagers and adults (particularly adult women) are the most common sufferers. The condition may go away on its own or it may not, depending on the individual's situation.

What causes it?

In the vast majority of cases, CRPS is triggered by some kind of trauma to a limb. This could be a broken bone, a sprain, a burn, a surgical operation or even a needlestick during a routine injection. However, the medical community still isn't sure why some people with certain injuries develop CRPS and others with similar injuries don't.

What are the symptoms?

The most obvious and debilitating symptom of CRPS is severe, ongoing pain in the affected limb or digit. The pain may feel like pricking, burning or squeezing, and it may even radiate to other parts of the body.

Other common symptoms can include:

  • Sensitivity to any kind of touch
  • Swelling in the affected limb
  • Stiffness in affected joints
  • Changes in skin color or texture
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Changes to hair growth and sweat patterns
  • Lack of movement in the limb, or jerks and tremors

Can it be successfully treated?

CRPS can sometimes be treated, although the results vary among individuals. The success rate seems to be the greatest in children and teens. Various forms of therapy may include:

  • Rehabilitation therapy and exercise
  • Psychotherapy
  • Over-the-counter medications and prescription drugs
  • Sympathetic nerve blocks or surgical sympathectomy
  • Spinal cord stimulation or neurostimulation
  • Intrathecal drug pumps

Other types of treatment are currently in the research and development stage. Alternative therapies — such as acupuncture, relaxation and chiropractic treatment — have also benefited some patients.

Can I get workers' compensation benefits for it?

It is possible to get workers' compensation benefits for CRPS and other types of chronic pain conditions. However, such conditions are often more difficult to prove. This is why it's important to work with a lawyer who can clearly present all available medical evidence on your behalf.

Call the Eley Law Firm 720-644-8759 for a free case evaluation about your CRPS or RSD diagnosis and workers' compensation benefits. You can also contact our lawyers via email. We look forward to speaking with you.