Phone: 817-697-4038 Fax: 877-409-3962


If you suffer from complex regional pain, please Schedule an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists as soon as possible.

What Is Complex Regional Pain?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is a chronic pain condition that typically affects an arm, leg, hand, or foot following an injury or trauma. It is characterized by persistent and disproportionate pain that may be accompanied by changes in skin color, temperature, and texture, as well as swelling and altered function of the affected limb.

CRPS is believed to involve an abnormal response of the nervous system, particularly the sympathetic nervous system, which controls involuntary bodily functions. The exact cause of CRPS is not fully understood, but it is thought to involve a combination of nerve dysfunction, inflammation, and abnormal pain processing.

Indication Of Complex Regional Pain

Common signs and symptoms of CRPS may include:

  1. Continuous, intense, and burning pain in the affected limb
  2. Swelling and stiffness in the affected area
  3. Changes in skin color (e.g., blotchy, pale, or red)
  4. Alterations in skin temperature (e.g., warmer or cooler than the surrounding areas)
  5. Abnormal sweating or dryness of the skin
  6. Changes in hair and nail growth patterns
  7. Limited range of motion and weakness in the affected limb
  8. Sensitivity to touch or cold temperatures
  9. Muscle spasms or tremors

CRPS is typically diagnosed based on a combination of clinical evaluation, medical history, and ruling out other possible causes of the symptoms. Imaging tests such as X-rays, bone scans, or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to support the diagnosis.

Treatments For Complex Regional Pain

Treatment for CRPS aims to alleviate pain, restore function, and improve quality of life. It often involves a multidisciplinary approach, which may include:

  1. Medications: Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and other medications may be prescribed to manage pain and associated symptoms.
  2. Physical therapy: Physical therapy exercises and techniques can help improve range of motion, strength, and function in the affected limb.
  3. Occupational therapy: Occupational therapy focuses on optimizing daily activities and functional abilities.
  4. Sympathetic nerve blocks: These injections deliver local anesthetic and sometimes corticosteroids near the affected nerves to help alleviate pain and improve function.
  5. Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): TENS therapy uses low-voltage electrical currents to relieve pain and promote circulation.
  6. Psychological support: Mental health support, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or relaxation techniques, can help manage the emotional and psychological impact of chronic pain.

In severe cases that don’t respond to conservative treatments, more invasive interventions such as spinal cord stimulation, intrathecal drug delivery, or sympathectomy (surgical interruption of sympathetic nerve pathways) may be considered.

Early intervention and a comprehensive treatment approach are important in managing CRPS. It is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional specializing in pain management or a pain management clinic to receive an accurate diagnosis and individualized treatment plan.


If you would like to speak to an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Specialist, give us a call at 817-697-4038, or contact us over the web. Telemedicine appointments are also available.