Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a diagnosis for persons who experience unexplained severe pain to injured body parts. The symptoms of this condition vary, but usually carry similar circumstances such as: discoloration of the injury site, hypersensitivity to touch, severe burning pain pathological changes in bone and skin, excessive sweating, and tissue swelling. It has been diagnosed in such odd cases as minor sprains to more obvious traumas. Most of our clients who have developed CRPS share many of the common traits especially the extreme sensitivity to touch. Extremities (arm, feet and legs) appear to occur most commonly in accident cases. In our experience, doctors who diagnose the primary injuries fail to recognize the symptoms of CRPS and misdiagnose the symptoms as one of the initial injury, i.e. the sprain or crushed foot; however, CRPS is a secondary diagnosis that is most often diagnosed in the physical therapy stages of the recovery, often months after the injury. Early symptoms are a clear sign to medical providers that action needs to be taken. Delay can be deadly. Aggressive physical therapy and nerve medications are often utilized to help the disease from spreading and getting worse. CRPS can lead to a horrific disability. For unexplained reasons, the disease can travel to other body parts not originally affected such as an injury to the foot moving to the ankle, then to a knee, and up to a hip. Many cases have resulted in full disability. There is no exact test for CRPS. It must be made by a qualified physician who recognizes the myriad of symptoms. Objective tests can be utilized to determine whether a client may indeed have CRPS such as bone scans and MRI results that can help determine bone loss and changes in the bone matter. Other tests utilized are simple examinations of the skin where skin color changes of deep purple and reds are present. Temperature changes in the injury site will also indicate possible signs of the disease.
As accident attorneys, Benson & Bingham have experience with many clients whom share a CRPS diagnosis and we understand the issues that relate to the condition. Medications such as painkillers and neuromuscular medications are used. Neurontin is often prescribed to deal with the horrific neurological pain. Clients have described the conditions as electrical impulses that misfire in the neurological conduit of the human body. These misfires cause shooting pains, burning sensations, and extreme sensitivity so strong that the pain will keep the person from sleeping at night. Small areas of the skin can be lightning rods for excruciating pain.
CRPS can lead to major chemical dependence on pain medication. Due to the inherent pain issues with the diagnosis, pain medication is used to manage the disease. Narcotic pain mediations including morphine, methadone, oxycodone, are used to help with the pain. Cocktails of medications are used in conjunction for patients to deal with the symptoms. Often, the medication dosages are increased as the patients’ tolerance levels increase. Once maximum dosages occur from oral medications other pain options are sometimes used. These options include pain/opiate pumps, electrical spinal stimulators, and radio frequency / surgery of the nerves. Side effects of pain medications also lead to other prescribed mediations for sleep disorders and depression.
More detailed information on RSDs and CRPS investigation is available at the RSD’s association at www.rsds.org.
Benson and Bingham understand the issues as they relate to physical therapy, treatment, diagnosis, and overall lifestyle. Call today for a free telephone consultation as we are the difference in Las Vegas injury attorneys.