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CRPS, RSD and CO Workers' Compensation

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) or complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can be the debilitating result of a simple or minor injury or the result of something more severe, such as a heart attack, stroke or other trauma. When an on-the-job injury results in the development of CRPS/RSD, Colorado workers' compensation may be available to cover the cost of treatment and any lost wages due to the injury.

CRPS is broken down into two types:

  • Type I is also known as RSD. Many CRPS Type I cases are the result of a soft tissue injury, such as to the muscles or tendons.
  • Type II, or Causalgia, is the result of a major nerve injury

Those who suffer from CRPS typically suffer from a constant burning pain, inflammation and swelling, spasms in the extremities and insomnia. CRPS/RSD has also been linked to some short term memory problems.

The degree of pain typically felt by someone suffering from CRPS Type II (listed as Causalgia) is ranked near the top of the McGill Pain Index for chronic pain, above chronic back pain, arthritis and even amputation.

Treatment is available for CRPS/RSD. Those who aggressively seek treatment for CRPS/RSD within the first year of diagnosis are more likely to fully recover. There is, unfortunately, no one treatment that is proven to work for everyone who suffers from the pain of CRPS.

The State of Colorado Division of Workers' Compensation specifically recognizes the CRPS/RSD as affecting injured workers throughout Colorado. Medical treatment guidelines for CRPS/RSD were established in 1996, and with some revisions, are still in effect today.

Source: The News & Advance, "Ask Karen RSD," February 1, 2012

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