Myths and Facts About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Myths and Facts About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

If you’re experiencing chronic pain but no medical provider seems to be able to determine what’s causing your pain, you might have something called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).  

CRPS is a condition in which high levels of nerve impulses are sent to one area, creating pain. While research is still ongoing, scientists believe CRPS is caused by a malfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system. 

Sometimes CRPS occurs after an injury, but the pain can spread or “jump” to other parts of the body. Symptoms vary widely from patient to patient, can be augmented by emotional stress, and may worsen over time. Some symptoms include:

At Boston PainCare in Waltham, Natick, and Concord, Massachusetts, our pain specialists work to help people struggling with CRPS find effective relief. We also know that misinformation and contradictory information surround this chronic pain condition. 

We want to help set the record straight, so we’re separating fact from fiction and giving you the information you need to know.   

MYTH: CRPS isn’t a real condition — it’s all in your head

FACT: CRPS is a physical condition that has nothing to do with your mental health.

It may be true that chronic pain can lead to emotional or mental health disorders, like depression, but CRPS isn’t something people imagine in their heads. CRPS has physical symptoms and a physical cause.  

MYTH: You only get CRPS after major injuries

FACT: You can develop CRPS after any physical trauma. 

You don’t have to suffer a major injury to develop CRPS. In fact, the most common causes of CRPS include cuts, burns, fractures, sprains, and minor surgeries or medical procedures, like biopsy or carpal tunnel syndrome repair. 

MYTH: CRPS doesn’t last long

FACT: CRPS may resolve in a few months, but it can for years or become permanent. 

CRPS often progresses in stages. In the first 6 months, the pain and other symptoms typically intensify. After six months, you may develop constant pain, or your pain may come and go. It can even lead to atrophy and loss of function,

MYTH: There’s no treatment for CRPS

FACT: Different therapeutic modalities can alleviate the pain associated with CRPS.

It’s true that currently there’s no known cure for CRPS. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t treatments that can help. In fact, many CRPS patients find life-change relief through different therapeutic modalities, including:

CRPS responds best to treatment the earlier you begin, so if you suspect or know you have this chronic condition, it’s important to see a pain management specialist as soon as possible. 

For more information about CRPS or to get help managing your pain, contact the Boston PainCare office nearest you in Waltham, Natick, or Concord, Massachusetts, and schedule a consultation today.  

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