CRPS is a chronic pain condition that most often affects one limb usually after an injury. It is believed to be caused by damage to the peripheral and central nervous systems, which is composed of the brain and spinal cord, which involves nerve signaling from the to the rest of the body. It is characterized by prolonged or excessive pain and changes in skin color, temperature, and swelling in the affected area. Chronic arm or leg pain developing after injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack may involve abnormal inflammation or nerve dysfunction. Complex regional pain is characterized by pain that is greater than would be expected from the injury that causes it.
Symptoms of CRPS include:
- Burning pain.
- Swelling and stiffness in affected joints.
- Motor disability, with decreased ability to move the affected body part.
- Changes in nail and hair growth pattern.
- There may be rapid hair growth or no hair growth.
- Changes in skin temperature, skin on one extremity can feel warmer or cooler.
- Skin color may become blotchy, pale, purple or red.
- The texture of skin also can change, becoming shiny and thin.
- Excessively sweaty.
- Heightened by emotional stress.
CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration, although some cases are mild and eventually go away. In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disabilities.