Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic disorder of a portion of the body, usually the arms or legs, which manifests as pain, swelling, limited range of motion and changes to the skin and limbs. It may initially affect one limb and then spread throughout the body. Type I refers to CRPS without evidence of a specific peripheral nerve injury. Type II refers to when there is specific evidence of nerve injury.
There is no known cause of CRPS, but it typically occurs after an injury to the area in question such as a fracture or after surgery. Treatment involved medications, physical and occupational therapy, psychological treatments and neuromodulation. Despite this, the results are often unsatisfactory, especially as there are no specific medications approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for CRPS. In addition, people with CRPS may develop depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder, all of which heighten the percent of pain and make rehabilitation efforts more difficult.
A CRPS diagnosis may not be the first thing most doctors think of, which often delays treatment. There is also no specific test available for CRPS, which is primarily diagnosed through observation of symptoms. Anyone can get CRPS at any time. From burning, prolonged “pins-and-needles” type pain to changes in skin temperature, skin color or swelling of the affected limb, the patient with CRPS may also experience muscle atrophy, stiffness in affected joints and problems coordinating muscle movement.
In the most severe cases, CRPS can cause patients to be unable to work or lead normal lives because of excruciating pain. If you have been turned down for long-term disability benefits because of a CRPS diagnosis from companies like Unum, Hartford or Cigna, contact the attorneys at Burke Harvey for help.