How do they feel?

 "CRPS pain is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain that exists today and is ranked on the McGILL Pain Index at a whopping 42!" (look for "causalgia" on the chart). 

 CRPS pain can be anywhere in the body where there are nerves. Most commonly in the four extremities but some people have it in other areas such as eyes, ears, back, face, etc.

What does it feel like? Well, if you had it in your hand, imagine your hand was doused in gasoline, lit on fire, and then kept that way 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and you knew it was never going to be put out. Now imagine it both hands, arms, legs, feet; well, you get the picture. I sometimes sit there and am amazed that no one else can see the flames shooting off of my body.

The second component to CRPS is what is called Allodynia.

Allodynia is an extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, and/or vibration. Imagine that same hand now has the skin all burned off and is completely raw. Next, rub some salt on top of it and then rub some sandpaper on top of that! THAT is allodynia!

For more info go to:



CRPS occurs when both the Nervous system and the immune system respond as they respond to trauma. The nerves misfire sending constant pain signals to the brain.  Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, CRPS, formerly known as RSD Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System, and more specifically, the Sympathetic Nervous System. The pain is characterized as constant, extremely intense, and out of proportion to the original injury. The pain is typically accompanied by swelling, skin changes, extreme sensitivity, and can often be debilitating. It usually affects one or more of the four limbs but can occur in any part of the body and in over 70% of the victims it spreads to additional areas. It usually will start out spreading to other limbs, but can also spread to face, eyes, even organs and stomach.  

CRPS is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain that exists today by the McGill Pain Index.

Symptoms of CRPS/RSD

 The acute stage occurs during the first 1–3 months and may include

  • burning pain
  • swelling
  • increased sensitivity to touch
  • increased hair and nail growth in the affected region
  • joint pain
  • color and temperature changes

The dystrophic stage may involve constant pain and swelling. The affected limb may feel cool to the touch and appear bluish in color. Muscle stiffness, wasting of the muscles (atrophy) and early bone loss (osteoporosis) also may occur. This stage usually develops 3–6 months after onset of the disorder.During the atrophic stage, the skin becomes cool and shiny, increased muscle stiffness and weakness occur, and symptoms may spread to another limb. At this stage, changes to the skin and bone usually are permanent.Characteristic signs and symptoms of sympathetic nervous system involvement include the following:

  • Burning pain
  • Extreme sensitivity to touch
  • Skin color changes (red or bluish)
  • Skin temperature changes (hot or cold)

Pain caused by RSD/CRPS usually in not proportionate to the degree of injury. It can be triggered by disuse of the affected limb or by stress and can be spontaneous or constant.Symptoms associated with an immune reaction include:

  • Joint pain
  • Redness
  • Swelling (edema)
  • Frequent infections

Signs of motor system dysfunction include the following:

  • Difficulty starting movement
  • Increased muscle tone, stiffness
  • Muscle spasm
  • Tremor
  • Weakness

Other symptoms of RSD/CPRS include the following:

RSD/CRPS Complications

Patients with any chronic illness, including CRPS, often suffer from depression and anxiety. Skin, muscle, and bone atrophy (wasting) are possible complications of this syndrome. Atrophy may occur because of reduced function of the affected limb. 

Treatment Options

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