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What is CRPS?

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Do you suffer from pain that seems localized around one part of your body? Do you sometimes find that the pain spreads to other areas? You might find that you suffer from a medical condition that doctors call complex regional pain syndrome. Also known as CRPS, it usually starts in the arms or legs and can affect only one of those limbs before later spreading to other body parts. Knowing more about the condition can help you stay informed when you speak with your doctor.

Signs of CRPS
The most common sign of CRPS is pain localized in one arm, one leg, both arms or both legs. Most patients also find that they experience some level of inflammation in that appendage. Some patients don’t realize that they have the condition because the pain and inflammation occurs around some type of damage or injury. For example, a patient might break his or her leg and later notice that the pain and inflammation persists after the injury heals. Other symptoms of CRPS may include skin that feels hot or cold to the touch, redness of the skin, stiff joints, tender muscles and a throbbing pain in the affected area.

Treatment for CRPS
Physical therapy is one type of treatment suitable for those diagnosed with CRPS. A physical therapist will show you exercises and stretches that you can do at home to strengthen the affected muscles and loosen the affected joints. You may also spend some time working with the physical therapist in his or her office to show you what you can and cannot do. Doctors can also prescribe some medications, including anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers and painkillers to help you cope with your symptoms.  Diagnostic and therapeutic injections may also be recommended.

Chronic regional pain syndrome is a serious medical condition that can share some symptoms with fibromyalgia and other similar conditions.  If you experience any of the common symptoms of CRPS, make an appointment to talk with a pain management doctor.

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