What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Type 1 and Type 2

Symptoms, Causes, and Treatments

Do I Have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition lasting greater than six months that occurs in the extremities after a person has suffered from an injury to a limb. This can occur whether the injury is to the soft tissues and/or bone.

complex regional pain syndrome surgery

What Are the Symptoms?

The symptoms of CRPS can be different for each patient, but occur at the previously injured area and spread to involve other parts of the limb and may eventually extend to the opposite limb. Patients suffering from Complex Regional Pain syndrome will find their pain is out of proportion or more severe than expected from their injury. They may also see some of the following signs:

Skin Changes (Blotches or Streaks)

Temperature Changes


Fluid Retention

Changes to Fingers and Toenails

Skin Appears Shiny or Thin

Joint Inflammation

Decreased Range of Motion or Stiffness

In rare cases, there is systemic inflammation that causes issues with the entire body and internal organs. 

What Are The Causes?

The cause of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is an autoimmune response to the previous injury. The body perceives the trauma or fracture as a more serious threat to the system and engages the immune system to fight. This overreaction leads to unnecessary inflammation and pain.

What Is The Difference Between Type 1 and Type 2?

There are two types of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome:

CRPS Type 1:

This type of CRPS occurs in an injury where nerve damage was not initially apparent. This used to be referred to as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD.

CRPS Type 2:

The second type of CRPS occurs as a result of a confirmed major nerve injury such as can occur as a result of a fracture of the humerus or fibula. This used to be referred to as Causalgia.

How Is This Syndrome Diagnosed?

Dr. Alain de Lotbinière will look over your medical history and perform a physical exam to check for indications of CPRS. He may also employ diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis, such as ultrasounds, thermography, x-rays, or an MRI.

What Are My Treatment Options?

After diagnosis, Dr. de Lotbinière can provide expert guidance on the best treatment plan for CRPS. Early diagnosis and treatment can be critical to getting the best outcomes. Treatment options include:

  • Physical Therapy
  • Psychotherapy
  • Graded Motor Imagery
  • Medications
    • Anti-Inflammatory Medications
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Botox Injections
    • Pain Relievers
  • Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG)
  • Ketamine Infusions
  • Spinal Cord Stimulation
  • Dorsal Root Ganglion Stimulation
  • Intrathecal Pain Pump
  • Surgical Sympathectomy

How Can I Get Relief From My Pain?

If you believe you are suffering from CRPS, contact Dr. Alain de Lotbinière today! An expert in diagnosing complex pain conditions and providing advanced neurological treatments, he can help you find the answers you need. Book an appointment today at one of his convenient locations in either White Plains, New York or Stamford, Connecticut.