What is CRPS? CRPS is a chronic, debilitating pain disorder that usually affects a limb after an injury. A CRPS patient will experience constant, unrelenting, pain along with a myriad of other symptoms. Many times the disease will spread to other parts of the body as well.
CRPS is a result of overactive/misfiring sympathetic nerve fibers. Many cases of CRPS are due to some sort of trauma: surgery; broken/sprained bones or ligaments; injections; infections or nerve damage.
CRPS does not discriminate; men/women, young or old. There is no known explanation of why this disorder occurs in some people and not others.
Many CRPS Patients Also Experience:
Melzack and Torgerson first developed The McGill Pain Index at the McGill Institute in 1971 as a way of gauging the quality of pain. This index is used by doctors and hospitals worldwide and is a valuable tool when evaluating chronic pain. It is considered to be a consistent, reliable and effective instrument.
The McGill Pain Index can show others how drastic CRPS pain is compared to more familiar medical problems and disease.
The CRPS diagnosis can be very challenging. A diagnosis is based on a few variables; a person’s medical history, physical symptoms,and medical diagnostics.
Using Budapest Criteria, as a diagnosis of CRPS, a patient must have at least one symptom in three of the following four categories:
At the examination, at least one sign must be present in two or more of the following categories:
The Budapest Criteria, can help doctors evaluate if a patient has Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
One of the most useful tests in diagnosing CRPS is thermography. Thermography is a visual mapping of the skin. A person’s skin temperature is controlled by their sympathetic nervous system. Thermography can show temperature differences down to 1/10th of one degree centigrade. If there is a difference one degree centigrade from one limb to the other, that would mean the sympathetic nervous system was malfunctioning – hence a diagnosis of CRPS.
• Testing may also be used to help rule out other conditions, such as arthritis, Lyme disease, arthritis, etc.