Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) causes increasingly painful and unpleasant symptoms and may lead to permanent tissue damage. You can avoid these complications by getting prompt treatment at Texas Neuro Spine, where neurosurgeons Sebastian Villarreal, MD, and George Galvan, MD, deliver effective treatments to help you manage CRPS. Call one of the three locations in San Antonio, Texas, or the Kerrville, Texas, office today to benefit from their experience with CRPS patients. You can also use the online form to book an appointment.
CRPS Q & A
What is CRPS?
CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) is a chronic disease that can be extremely painful. It can also cause loss of function in the affected area, which is typically an arm or leg.
The cause of CRPS isn’t fully understood. It’s more likely to affect you if you’ve had an infection in a limb or suffered:
- A stroke
- A heart attack
- Nerve compression
- An accident or injury
Research indicates that CRPS has connections to sympathetic nervous system dysfunction. Your sympathetic nervous system controls automatic functions like temperature sensitivity and blood circulation.
There could also be a link to autoimmune problems, where your immune system mistakenly targets your tissues. Regardless of the cause, it’s important to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible, as left untreated, CRPS could cause permanent disability.
What are the symptoms of CRPS?
CRPS symptoms take time to develop, so you might advance through different stages:
Stage one is when you start to get symptoms, such as a burning pain in your arm or leg. The limb might also feel hot and stiff, and your skin might sweat more, change color, and get drier and thinner.
Stage two brings swelling, while your skin gets cooler and increasingly sensitive. Your joints and muscles become stiffer, and the pain gets worse and starts to spread.
By stage three, the pain of CRPS can be severe and even more widespread, affecting the entire limb. Muscle wastage and soft tissue contraction could be making you less able to move about.
It typically takes a year or more to get to stage three. If you haven’t received any treatment before this point, you might suffer permanent tissue damage.
There aren’t any lab tests that can confirm CRPS, but the symptoms are a good indication. Electromyography and nerve conduction studies that assess your nerve function might be helpful too.
What treatments are there for CRPS?
There isn’t a cure yet for CRPS, but experts in pain medicine and neurological conditions like those at Texas Neuro Spine can help reduce your pain and improve mobility. Initial treatments for CRPS are likely to include:
- Painkilling and anti-inflammatory medication
- Antidepressant and blood pressure medication
- Physical therapy
- Steroid injections
If these remedies aren’t helping, Texas Neuro Spine can perform a minimally invasive outpatient procedure to implant a spinal cord stimulator or intrathecal pain pump.
Spinal cord stimulation involves sending electrical pulses to electrodes in your spine that change the pain signals to tingling sensations called paresthesia. An implantable pain pump uses medication to reduce CRPS pain. Both these treatments you control with a remote device.
Surgery might be possible if a nerve injury is contributing to CRPS.
Delaying treatment just prolongs your CRPS suffering, so call Texas Neuro Spine today or book an appointment online.