Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

RSD(S)-CRPS Advisory
About CRPS: Fact and Fiction
About CRPS > Fact and Fiction

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is poorly understood by patients, their families, and
healthcare professionals. In some cases the condition is mild, in some it is moderate, and in
others it is severe. We have compiled a list of some of the common misconceptions about this
syndrome followed by the facts.

CRPS Fact Sheet

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic
Dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain syndrome characterized by severe and relentless
pain that affects between 200,000 and 1.2 million Americans.

CRPS is a malfunction of part of the nervous system. Nerves misfire, sending constant
pain signals to the brain. It develops in response to an event the body regards as
traumatic, such as an accident or a medical procedure. This syndrome may follow 5%
of all injuries.

Minor injuries, such as a sprain or a fall are frequent causes of CRPS. One characteristic of
CRPS is that the pain is more severe than expected for the type of injury that occurred.

Early and accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment are key to recovery, yet many health
care professionals and consumers are unaware of its signs and symptoms. Typically, people
with CRPS report seeing an average of five physicians before being accurately diagnosed.

Symptoms include persistent moderate-to-severe pain, swelling, abnormal skin color
changes, skin temperature, sweating, limited range of movement, movement disorders.

CRPS is two to three times more frequent in females than males.

The mean age at diagnosis is 42 years. However, we are seeing more injuries among young
girls, and children as young as 3 years old can get CRPS.

This is not a psychological syndrome, but people may develop psychological problems when
physicians, family, friends, and co-workers do not believe their complaints of pain.

Treatments include
medication, physical therapy, psychological support, sympathetic nerve
blocks, and or spinal cord stimulation.
Updated October 24, 2007

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(Credit to Jim Broatch and the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association
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