The symptoms of CRPS often significantly impact day-to-day activities and negatively affect one’s quality of life. They are often more severe than one would expect following an injury that has seemingly healed.
This condition is usually diagnosed using the Budapest Consensus Criteria, a diagnostic criterion consisting of different symptom and sign categories that must be reported by the patient and detected by the healthcare provider conducting the physical exam.
However, CRPS is ultimately a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that other causes must be considered and subsequently ruled out prior to a CRPS diagnosis. No specific diagnostic test is currently available.
CRPS symptoms include a variety of disturbances, such as temperature, color, and sweating changes, decreased range of motion, and changes in the hair or nail growth pattern. Patients may also complain of resting tremors, painful responses to light or non-painful stimuli (allodynia), or an abnormally increased sensitivity to painful stimuli, such as a pinprick (hyperalgesia).
The first Monday in November is Color the World Orange Day, a day designed to bring awareness to CRPS.
CRPS can be challenging to treat. Early diagnosis and treatment is critical for a successful outcome. The condition is first treated conservatively, with medication or injections. However, more advanced technologies, such as spinal cord or dorsal root ganglion stimulation, may be warranted if a patient does not find the conservative treatment options to be sufficiently therapeutic. It is always important to attend regular physical or occupational therapy while pursuing additional courses of treatment.