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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic condition that causes pain, usually in the arms, legs, hands, or feet, following an injury to one of those areas. Swelling and changes in skin color or temperature are also common symptoms of CRPS. Doctors aren’t sure why some people develop CRPS while others don’t. What is known is that people who develop CRPS may experience pain that interferes with their ability to work and to live their lives as they once did.

The types of traumatic injuries that occur in some car accidents – fractures, lacerations, and damage to ligaments and tendons, for example – can lead to CRPS. Even when the initial injury has healed, people suffering from CRPS may continue to feel pain, due to nerve damage. Occasionally, people with CRPS may find that doctors and insurers dismiss their symptoms as imaginary, even though the condition is defined as a medical disability, according to the Social Security Administration.

If you or someone in your family has continued to feel pain from injuries sustained in a car accident, you may be suffering from CRPS. And if someone else is to blame for the accident that injured you, you may be entitled to compensation that can help cover the costs of medical treatment and rehabilitation. Don’t wait to get help. Call The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers today to request your free consultation at 803-592-6231.

Diagnosing CRPS

CRPS is classified as CRPS I, meaning no nerve damage is evident, or CRPS II, when nerve damage exists. CRPS I is also referred to as reflexive sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). When CRPS is diagnosed early, people have a better chance at recovery, or at least successful management of their symptoms. Unfortunately, many people with CRPS suffer from symptoms for years before receiving a correct diagnosis. Inexperienced doctors may attribute their symptoms to psychological factors, because they aren’t familiar with CRPS.

The founder of South Carolina’s RSD support group saw several doctors for her chronic knee pain before it was correctly identified as CRPS/RSD.

When people suffer from symptoms such as muscle spasms, fatigue, rashes, and extreme skin sensitivity for years with no known cause, they may begin to develop secondary psychological conditions – most commonly, depression and anxiety, both of which can amplify pain.

The experienced personal injury attorneys at The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers are well acquainted with healthcare providers throughout South Carolina who are able to diagnose the presence of CRPS. Early diagnosis is important not only because it can lead to a more complete recovery, but also because South Carolina law limits the timeframe for filing a personal injury case. If your CRPS is a result of a personal injury sustained in a motor vehicle crash, you may be running out of time to pursue your case. Don’t wait to get help. Call us today: 803-592-6231.

CRPS Treatment

The treatment for CRPS depends on the severity of the condition and the presence of particular symptoms, which may include:

  • Tremors or spasms in the affected limb
  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain
  • Joint stiffness and swelling
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch, heat, cold, sound, and barometric pressure changes
  • A loss of mobility in the affected body part
  • Tightening skin that bleeds or bruises easily
  • Migraines
  • Bone and muscle loss
  • Depression, insomnia, and irritability.

Generally, treatment begins with rehabilitative therapy and medications such as pain relievers and steroids to reduce inflammation. These conservative approaches may alleviate or completely eliminate symptoms of CRPS. But if symptoms persist, patients may need more aggressive treatment, such as a spinal injection that blocks pain signals sent to the brain. In extreme cases, doctors may recommend a nerve sympathectomy – a risky surgical procedure that disables the nerves causing CRPS symptoms.

CRPS progresses in three stages. Initially, symptoms may include pain, temperature sensitivity, muscle spasms, joint stiffness, and rapid hair growth. After about one to three months, swelling and pain increases, and muscle tone weakens. In the third stage of the illness, irreversible changes occur, such as muscle atrophy and loss of bone density.

CRPS is considered a rare disorder, affecting about 200,000 people in the U.S. per year. But because many people are misdiagnosed, the actual number of people with CRPS may be much higher.

Getting Results

Some injuries may seem, at first, relatively easy to treat. For example, people who suffer a broken arm in a car accident may assume that once the bones heal, they can resume life as usual. But when pain lingers and CRPS is the cause, people face a great deal of uncertainty about what the future will bring. They may incur additional medical costs or be unable to return to work.

If you believe a car accident caused your CRPS, you may be able to pursue a claim of personal injury and receive compensation for your pain and expenses. Find out today if you have a case. Request your free consultation today by filling out our online form or calling The Louthian Firm Accident & Injury Lawyers at 803-592-6231.

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