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Understanding the Types of CRPS

Understanding the Types of CRPS

If you aren’t familiar with the letters “CRPS,” you’re probably not alone. They stand for complex regional pain syndrome, and it’s a relatively rare condition. But for the 200,000 Americans affected each year, it can cause debilitating symptoms, often in the extremities.

Fortunately, Dr. Jeffrey Glaser and Dr. John Zheng aren’t strangers to this disorder. As leading interventional pain management specialists in the Encino, California, area, they have effective treatment strategies to help manage this condition at Glaser Pain Relief Center so you can regain your life.

In this blog, Dr. Glaser and Dr. Zheng explain the different types of CRPS and how they can help alleviate your pain.

CRPS basics

One of the things that sets CRPS apart from other pain problems is the fact that it’s a neurological issue. It occurs because something in the central or peripheral nervous system malfunctions.

When your nervous system operates correctly, there’s a flurry of messages going back and forth between your brain and spinal cord and your organs, limbs, fingers, and toes. However, if you have CRPS, this communication system starts misfiring. 

This causes an overreaction to pain signals — and your nervous system can’t turn off.

CRPS symptoms can vary, but it often causes constant or intermittent pain that stings or burns. For most people, it occurs deep inside the affected limb. Additional signs of CRPS in the impacted area can include:

In most cases, 66%-80%, CRPS is diagnosed in those of European descent. It’s also most common in women around 40 years of age.

Understanding the types of CRPS

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of mystery surrounding CRPS. However, experts do know it typically occurs from some sort of trauma or injury. The condition falls within two distinct categories.

Type 1 CRPS

This form of CRPS is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy — or RSD. Approximately 90% of CRPS cases have this classification. It means the symptoms occurred after an injury or illness that did not damage nerves in the affected area.

Type 2 CRPS

This form develops in response to a distinct nerve injury. In the past, doctors called it causalgia.

In many cases, people with CRPS experienced a forceful trauma to a leg or arm, like a fracture or crushing injury. However, others develop CRPS from events like infections, heart attacks, and surgery. But even soft tissue injuries, like sprained ankles, can cause CRPS.

Not everyone who undergoes injuries like these ends up with CRPS. But if you do, our team can help you get your symptoms under control so you can find relief.

Treating CRPS

In an ideal world, the most effective CRPS treatment occurs as early as possible. This can help slow the disease progression and help you maintain as healthy a life as possible.

However, even if you’ve lived with CRPS for years, our team can offer effective pain management strategies. Common treatments for CRPS often include:

If your CRPS symptoms don’t respond to more conservative treatments, our team also offers cutting-edge solutions, like spinal cord stimulation (SCS). It can offer life-changing results for nerve pain by changing the pain signals themselves — a process known as neuromodulation.

SCS uses a small implanted device with electrodes placed near the problem nerves. When activated, a small battery sends a mild electrical current to the nerves. This alters the signals going to the brain, which, in turn, changes the sensations you feel.

Living with Type 1 or Type 2 CRPS can seem impossible, but there are solutions — and you can find them at Glaser Pain Relief Center. Contact us in Encino, California, to schedule an assessment with our expert team today.

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