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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and Its Causes

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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, also known as CRPS, is characterized by a severe and persistent pain in any of the limbs, usually brought about by external trauma. Thus, many CRPS patients suffer from pain in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Medical experts classify Complex Regional Pain Syndrome as a chronic pain condition that is caused by damage to the central and peripheral nervous systems of the human body. The brain and the spinal cord make up the central nervous system, while the nerve that transmits brain signals to the spinal cord is located in the peripheral nervous system.

The Symptoms of CRPS

The onset of CRPS carries with it several symptoms, which include persistent pain and swelling in the affected limb as well as perceptible changes in skin color and temperature. While these indications are among the most common, some patients may experience more severe and more prolonged symptoms. According to studies done on CRPS and its symptoms, some patients undergo mild cases of the condition and eventually recover without any long-term problems. Some cases, however, are not as fortunate. In more severe attacks, patients are unable to recover completely and are left with disabilities for a lifetime.

CRPS Causes

More than 90 percent of individuals suffering from CRPS have suffered from fractures, sprains, limb mobilization problems, soft tissue injuries, and other kinds of trauma, even those that come from surgical procedures. While CRPS is known for its common symptoms, medical experts have yet to ascertain why some people who have been subjected to the same trauma do not develop the condition at all. The condition can be comparable to an allergy, since it is actually an unusual reaction to trauma. Not all people respond in the same way to a certain trigger; while some are not susceptible to CRPS, others develop anywhere from mild to severe or debilitating symptoms.

People who have CRPS also have distressed immune systems. Those who are more susceptible to the condition have been found to possess huge levels of cytokines, or inflammatory chemicals, in their tissues. This explains why patients report swelling, redness, and high temperatures in the affected area. Finally, individuals who suffer from asthma and other inflammatory conditions are more at risk for CRPS than others.   Are You at Risk?   CRPS is a condition that can attack anyone, at any age, regardless of gender. Nonetheless, studies have revealed that women are more prone to the condition than men. And although children and teenagers have been known to suffer from this condition too, the average age of CRPS patients is 40. The case, however, is very rare in old people.

In some rare cases, CRPS may occur even with the absence of external injuries or trauma. The condition may be triggered by an infected internal injury or a problem in the blood vessel and nerves. Since CRPS is brought about by several causes, a careful examination of its symptoms is important in the delivery of timely and appropriate treatment.



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