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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

It is a chronic painful condition of the arm, hand, leg or foot that occurs after an injury (sprains, strains, fracture, deep wound or laceration, etc), nerve lesions, surgery (knee arthroscopy, an operation to treat carpal tunnel syndrome, etc), stroke or heart attack.

What triggers this complex regional pain syndrome?

The cause of this condition is not well understood. It is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of the nervous system.

Can physiotherapy help people with complex regional pain syndrome?

There is no cure for this condition, however, treatment is most effective when diagnosed within the first 3 to 6 months. Physiotherapy plays a vital role in the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome and it is effective in reducing pain, improving function and return to work.

How do I know if I have complex regional pain syndrome?

You will experience the following symptoms:

  • Ongoing burning pain in the arm, hand, leg or foot

  • Pain is more intense and often feels much worse than may be expected

  • Muscle spasms

  • Joint stiffness

  • Muscle weakness

  • Coordination difficulty

  • Changes to skin, hair and nails on the affected limb

  • The affected limb is sweatier or drier than the unaffected limb

  • The affected limb is warmer or colder than the unaffected limb

  • Tremor

  • Swelling

  • Extreme sensitivity to light touch

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