Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), is an extremely painful condition and can be explained as a chronic condition that causes constant burning, pain, and inflammation in your limbs, hands, or feet. It sometimes develops after seemingly minor injuries, but can develop after more serious injuries as well.
Your body’s typical reaction to an injury starts when pain receptors deliver pain signals in the form of nerve impulses to your brain. When these impulses arrive at the pain receptors in your brain, your brain’s pain center produces pain impulses and transmits them via your sympathetic nervous system to the part of your body that has been injured.
These sympathetic nerve impulses activate an inflammatory response inducing your blood vessels to expand, which causes inflammation and redness in the injured area.
As your injury heals, the inflammation and redness subsided and the pain eventually decreases. On the other hand, if you have developed complex regional pain syndrome, the pain and inflammation do not subside after your injury heals and can even get worse with time.
Types Of CPRS
There are two classifications of CRPS:
- CRPS 1
- CRPS 2
The symptoms are the same for both, but the difference between to two lies in whether or not the condition was caused by nerve damage in the area of injury. With CRSP 1, the condition is not linked to nerve damage, while CRPS 2 arises due to some type nerve damage that occurred when you were injured.
Though the exact cause of CRPS is unknown, it is suspected that after your wound has healed, pain impulses continue to travel along your nerves and through your skin and blood vessels, causing an inflammatory response.
Treatment for CRPS mainly focuses on pain management, as there is no cure for this condition. Treatment options may include:
- Pain medication
- Physical therapy
- A nerve block
- Implantation of pain controlling device
- Psychosocial support
The Trouble With Being Diagnosed with CRPS After a Work-related Injury
CPRS is often a lifelong condition that will require treatment on a long-term basis. Because of this, workers’ compensation insurance providers are likely to fight the diagnosis, which can make receiving treatment for CRPS difficult.
The insurer may want to send you to another doctor who may say that you don’t have the CRPS that you have been diagnosed with, or that it is not as severe as your previous doctor has stated. This doctor may also say that you can go back to work, or that you don’t need the medical treatment that you have been recommended.
Because of the push-back, you will likely receive from the insurance company when you have been diagnosed with CRPS after a work-related injury, and because CRPS is not widely understood, you may need the assistance of an experienced workers’ compensation attorney. One who has a sound medical understanding and who can ensure that you receive the workers’ compensation benefits you are entitled to.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome after a work-related injury, contact an experienced workers’ compensation attorney for a free consultation.