In some cases, CRPS can be tricky to diagnose as some complex regional pain syndrome symptoms can also be found in other conditions.  

About CRPS

CRPS or complex regional pain syndrome is a rare but chronic neurological disorder that usually involves spontaneous or evoked pain in a region or certain area of the body. It usually occurs following an injury, surgery, or cardiovascular problem such as a heart attack. 


Medical experts still don't know what exactly causes it. However, it is believed that its occurrence has something to do with an injury or abnormality of the peripheral and central nervous system. 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Symptoms

Although some complex regional pain syndrome symptoms can be found in other conditions, there are telltale signs and symptoms of the disorder that should prompt you to seek medical help. These include: 

  • Unusual pain 
    This is often described as deep, burning, aching, or cold. The pain can be moderate to severe. One may experience pain from something that doesn't usually cause pain such as clothing or shower.  

  • Increased sensitivity to cold 

  • Abnormal skin color changes 

  • Abnormal swelling of the affected site

  • Weakness

  • Limited range of motion 

Seeking Help

Unfortunately, there is no single diagnostic tool for CRPS. Doctors usually come up with the diagnosis after a thorough physical assessment and medical exam.  


Doctors usually suspect CRPS if patients complain of pain getting worse and more severe than what is expected from an injury.  


To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may request the following tests: 

  • Sympathetic nervous system tests 

  • Bone scan 

  • X-rays 

  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)  

Complex regional pain syndrome symptoms can be alleviated through a combination of medications and therapy. 

Image: durrah03 via Flickr

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