Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Pocatello pain management clinic

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also simply CRPS, is a condition we often see at our Pocatello pain management clinic. It is a condition of the peripheral and central nervous systems that affects an arm or leg, usually occurring after an injury. 

Anyone can develop CRPS, although it tends to affect women more than men. The prime age for developing CRPS is around 40. It rarely happens to elderly people, and young children are the least likely to develop it.

Signs of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome include excessive pain, as well as skin color changes, temperature changes (either hot or cold), and swelling.

There are two types of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

  • CRPS-1: Classified when the condition occurs after an illness, infection, or injury has indirectly affected the nerves. (Once known as “reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome”.)
  • CRPS-2: Classified when the condition occurs after direct damage to the nerves. (Once known as “causalgia”.)

Treatment at our Pocatello pain management clinic is similar for both types of CRPS.


  • Pocatello pain management clinicConsistent throbbing and burning pain in the arm, leg, hand, or foot
  • Touch sensitivity (especially with cold substances)
  • Changes in the temperature of the skin (sometimes alternating between hot and cold)
  • Swelling
  • Changes in skin color (usually red, blue, or white and mottled)
  • Changes in skin texture (thin, tender, or shiny)
  • Stiffness in the joints
  • Changes in hair and nail growth
  • Muscle spasms and weakness
  • Tremors
  • Less ability to move the affected extremity
  • Atrophy (in severe cases)

We’ve seen many different manifestations of CRPS at our Pocatello pain management clinic, but the overall symptoms are usually the same. The pain of CRPS spreads outward from the affected area; an injured finger could cause the entire arm to swell, ache, alter in color, and develop a burning, pins-and-needles sensation. The pain can even travel across the body into the opposite extremity, although this is rare.


The exact cause of CRPS is not entirely understood. It is believed to be the result of an injury or abnormality in the central and peripheral nervous systems. CRPS-2 is the most common form of this condition, as it usually occurs after injury or trauma.

CRPS-2 is more common, as it usually occurs after trauma to an arm or leg – usually from a fracture, crushing injury, or amputation, however, it can also result from surgery, heart attack, or even a sprained ankle.


At our Pocatello pain management clinic, we have many ways of treating CRPS. We may recommend physical therapy, certain medications, or a nerve block. You may also benefit from a pump that can deliver medication directly into the fluid surrounding your spinal cord. This pump can be controlled manually, working as you need it.

Your healthcare provider can develop a pain management plan specifically for you, taking into account the severity of the condition, the location of the condition, and your level of pain.

You don’t have to suffer from CRPS. The pain can be managed. If you are suffering from CRPS, come into our Pocatello pain management clinic today.