CRPS is a chronic neuropathic pain disorder that can result from direct or indirect injury to the nerve. Typically, it involves one limb; however, can spread to involve multiple limbs. The pain is usually described as a severe, lancinating, electric-like, associated with hypersensitivity to touch, changes in skin color, sweating (or lack of) and/or swelling of involved extremity. Typically, starts after direct or indirect trauma to the involved nerve.
The diagnosis of CRPS is based predominantly on the clinical presentation, symptoms and clinical examination. Testing is done predominately to rule out any other diagnoses that can mimic CRPS including a nerve conduction test and electromyography, x-ray, an MRI, and bone scan.
The treatment of CRPS can be very difficult due to the severity and the complexity of the symptoms. Multiple medications can be used including anticonvulsants (Lyrica, Neurontin, Trileptal), antidepressants (Cymbalta, Nortriptyline, Amitriptyline, Effexor), tramadol and the opiates. Interventional procedures can also help in treating pain associated with CRPS including nerve blocks, epidurals, sympathetic blocks, a spinal cord stimulator, and/or intrathecal pump.