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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

University Pain and Spine Center -  - Interventional Pain Management Physician

University Pain and Spine Center

Interventional Pain Management Physicians & Minimally Invasive Surgeons located throughout the state of New Jersey

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a progressive nerve condition that causes disabling pain and a host of additional symptoms such as swelling and changes in your skin. When you need relief from CRPS, the physicians at the University Pain and Spine Center offer interventional treatments that effectively diminish the pain. Contact the office in Englewood Cliffs, Somerset, Monroe Township, Freehold, or Clark, New Jersey, or book an appointment online to learn more about your CRPS treatment options.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)


This is a type of chronic, long-lasting, pain. In most cases, it develops in an arm or a leg that you have previously injured. With CRPS, you may have unexplained pain that won't go away. It may be severe, and it may spread.

Treatment for CRPS can involve physical therapy for your body and psychotherapy to help you deal with depression and anxiety. You may benefit from medications. A nerve block may help. You may benefit from a device such as a pump which can deliver medication directly into the fluid around your spinal cord as you need it. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that is right for you.



Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Q & A


What is complex regional pain syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS is a chronic pain condition that usually affects one limb. Nerve damage causes the condition, but it’s separated into two types. Patients who don’t have a confirmed nerve injury have CRPS-I. When a nerve injury is confirmed, the diagnosis is CRPS-II.

What symptoms develop due to complex regional pain syndrome?

Chronic pain is the hallmark symptom of both types of complex regional pain syndrome. The pain begins in one hand or foot and may spread into the associated arm or leg.

In addition to pain, CRPS causes symptoms in the affected limb, such as:

  • Swelling 
  • Changes in skin color (blue, purple, red, or pale)
  • Changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler)
  • Changes in skin texture
  • Abnormal sweating
  • Joint stiffness
  • Rapid or diminished hair and nail growth
  • Tremors or jerking movements
  • Diminished muscle movement
  • Dystonia (involuntary muscle contractions)

Complex regional pain syndrome often causes allodynia, a nerve-related symptom in which you feel pain from things that aren’t painful. For example, the touch of soft clothing may feel painful.

How is complex regional pain syndrome treated?

Treatment for CRPS begins with pain-relieving medications and physical therapy to help reduce your pain and to maintain optimal muscle strength and movement. The team at the University Pain and Spine Center offers several interventional treatments to relieve pain that doesn’t improve with conservative care:

Sympathetic nerve block

As the sensory nerves from a specific area of your body enter the spinal cord, they all meet in a cluster of nerves called the dorsal root ganglion (DRG). When your provider injects an anesthetic at the DRG associated with the affected arm or leg, the anesthetic blocks the nerve signals. As a result, the pain message doesn’t reach your brain.

Spinal cord stimulation

A spinal cord stimulator is a device that uses a mild electrical impulse to block or mask the nerves sending pain signals to your brain. Your provider implants the stimulator along your spine, placing it in a location that targets the nerves from your arms or legs.

Intrathecal pain pump

An intrathecal pain pump is a device that delivers pain-relieving medication into the intrathecal space of your spine, a fluid-filled space between the membranes that cover your spinal cord. By releasing the medication into the spine and targeting the nerves sending pain signals, you get pain relief from a low dose of medication.

If you need pain relief from complex regional pain syndrome, call the University Pain and Spine Center, or schedule an appointment online