What You Should Know About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

May 23, 2016

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Complex regional pain syndrome is a relatively uncommon type of chronic pain which typically affects the extremities including your arms and legs.

Complex regional pain syndrome is a relatively uncommon type of chronic pain which typically affects the extremities including your arms and legs. The condition is commonly found in patients after having a surgery, stroke, or suffering a heart attack. However, the pain experienced by patients is not in proportion to the severity of the injury and, in fact, tends to be much greater. Therefore, even a small injury can cause severe pain to an individual who suffers from complex regional pain syndrome.


Regional pain syndrome is most common as pain after surgery, a heart attack, or a stroke. Some injuries may trigger complex regional pain syndrome due to a dysfunctional interaction between your peripheral and central nervous systems. However, the exact underlying causes of complex regional pain syndrome are not yet fully understood and are hard to diagnose. As a result, there is no absolute cure for the condition. However, there are a variety of treatment options which can alleviate the symptoms.


The following symptoms are common in individuals who suffer from complex regional pain syndrome:

  • Continuous severe burning sensation or constant throbbing pain (most commonly in an arm or a leg)
  • Changes in the color of your skin ranging from a pale color, to redness or even blue
  • Muscle atrophy and general weakness
  • Joint swelling, muscle spasms, and decreased flexibility
  • Tender or thin skin in area of pain

Although these are the most common symptoms, complex regional pain syndrome can affect different people in different ways and only a doctor can give you an accurate diagnosis. You should see a doctor if you are experiencing constant severe pain that affects an arm or leg and makes touching the skin on that limb painful.


There are a variety of treatments available for complex regional pain syndrome which can relieve the symptoms. These include medications like pain relievers, bone-loss medications, and corticosteroids. There are also a variety of therapies available including topical analgesics, physical therapy, and spinal cord stimulation.

Call Garden State Pain Control today to set up an appointment with an experienced New Jersey chronic pain doctor.