Lingering pain from an injury can prevent you from recovery and returning to your routine. If you have complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), you know about the chronic, debilitating pain that can occur after an injury. CRPS affects around 200,000 patients every year in the United States. So what happens if you develop CRPS? What should you do? Keep reading to learn more.
What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Complex regional pain syndrome is a condition in which the body’s nervous system sends too many signals to the brain after an injury, causing an excessive amount of pain relative to the injury. CRPS usually occurs after a traumatic injury to the arms and legs.
CRPS diagnoses can be divided into two groups:
- CRPS-I (Formerly known as reflex dystrophy syndrome): Doctors can’t determine which nerve is injured. This form is more common.
- CRPS-II (Formerly known as causalgia): This second type of CRPS is evident where the nerve damage occurred. This form of CRPS is rare, affecting less than 1 out of every 100,000 people.
What Are the Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
The symptoms of CRPS range depending on the severity and location of the injury. Here are some common signs of CRPS:
- Intense pain, throbbing, burning, swelling in the hand or foot
- Shiny, thin skin
- Loss of hair over the affected area
- Brittle, thickened nails
- Dry and withered skin
- Significant temperature variance of the skin
How Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Diagnosed?
Complex regional pain syndrome is generally difficult to diagnose in its early stages. Later stages of CRPS become more apparent as the condition progresses. Even once visible signs become clear, it’s still challenging for medical care professionals to diagnose.
A doctor can assess CRPS in a few ways:
- X-rays and bone scans confirm bone loss as a result of the condition.
- Electromyography assesses the health of the muscles and the nerve cells that control them. Neurologists can assess electrical activity when the muscle is at rest.
- Nerve conduction studies measure how quickly the nerve sends electrical impulses through the body.
Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatable?
Experts are still studying Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and how it affects the body. However, some treatments can reduce the symptoms and time you have this condition.
Due to the limitations CRPS can impose, physical and occupational therapy are recommended to improve mobility.
Nerves around the affected area tell the patient’s body to respond to the injury, resulting in painful inflammation. There are a few medications and therapies doctors can prescribe to their patients to alleviate pain. A few of these include:
- Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs
- Topical medications that block pain signals
- Antidepressants and anticonvulsants that treat nerve pain
- Trigger point injections
- Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) units
- Heating and cooling therapy
- Numbing injections called nerve blocks
Many CRPS patients also encounter bone loss due to their lack of mobility. Medications like bisphosphonates and calcitonin help slow the process of bone loss.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a timetable that individuals suffering from CRPS can expect whenever they are recovering. The recovery process can range from weeks to over a year. With all of these treatments and therapies to alleviate the pain, medical costs can get expensive.
If you’re suffering from CRPS due to an injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you shouldn’t have to carry the weight of the medical costs alone. Keep reading to learn more about how you can get the compensation you deserve.
How to Get Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Compensation
If you’ve been diagnosed with CRPS due to a work-related or personal injury caused by someone else’s negligence, you should be able to receive compensation to help cover medical costs and lost wages.
Worker-related injuries can be traumatic and cause CRPS to occur. Your workers’ compensation should cover lost wages and medical costs. If you are unable to work for an extended period, you may have to file for disability benefits to cover your expenses.
Here are three steps you can take if you begin to notice signs of CRPS:
- Document the first signs of symptoms. If you’ve begun to notice any of the symptoms mentioned earlier or other lingering pains, right down when you started having symptoms and keep an accurate journal. Once visual symptoms appear, take pictures of the affected area.
- Seek medical attention. Contact your medical care provider for further analysis and diagnosis.
- Contact an experienced attorney. An experienced workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer can help you through the process of seeking compensation for your condition.
Contact Tolbert Beadle today to get in touch with legal experts who can help you through every step of your claims process.