blog home Brain Injury Uncategorized The Hidden Complication of Accidents: CRPS

By Renee Nordstrand on February 21, 2020

red emergency sign at a medical facility

If you have been injured in an auto accident, the injuries are often quite visible, with most long-term effects known and predictable. However, a little-known complication that can arise after physical trauma is called “complex regional pain syndrome,” or CRPS.

CRPS is an injury to your peripheral and central nervous systems that causes your brain to believe that your limb or body part is damaged and painful long after an injury is healed – leading to worsening pain and disability. Those who suffer from CRPS are often unaware of the underlying causes of their pain and try to “live with it,” assuming the injury is still healing.

The Symptoms and Effects of CRPS

CRPS is associated with a comprehensive list of possible symptoms, many of which could indicate other conditions. To diagnose CRPS, doctors must rule out numerous other conditions as no single test can confirm a CRPS diagnosis. This process of elimination can be a lengthy and costly process for victims who have already dealt with their initial injuries. Some of the most common symptoms of CRPS that doctors use to diagnose include:

  • A severe “burning”, “pins and needles,” or “squeezing” sensation in the affected limb is the most common symptom. Even if the injury that triggered CRPS was localized to a small area, the pain might spread to the entire limb
  • Severe pain in the opposite limb
  • Increased sensitivity in the affected area
  • Changes in skin color
  • Changes in skin texture
  • Abnormal sweating in the affected area
  • Joint stiffness in the affected limb
  • Reduced muscle coordination and ability to use the limb
  • Tremors, jerking, or an abnormally fixed position of the limb
  • Muscle atrophy
  • Localized swelling

CRPS is a condition that rarely heals on its own. CRPS can sometimes be cured if treated early enough but is otherwise often considered incurable. If you suffer from CRPS, the condition must be diagnosed as early as possible so that treatment can be most effective. Lack of proper treatment can cause the condition to degenerate with worsening symptoms. CRPS can cause a lifetime of pain, discomfort, and disability – lowering your quality of life and affecting your ability to work.

The Causes of CRPS

While the exact causes of CRPS are unknown, over 90% of CRPS cases are triggered by traumatic injury to part of the body. CRPS can develop after a single injury, but is more likely to develop in a part of the body that has repeatedly sustained injury. Both minor and major injuries can cause CRPS.

Common causes of trauma that have triggered CRPS include:

CRPS often begins to manifest during the healing process of an injury, but it becomes very noticeable in the time immediately after the injury has healed, and when the pain should have reduced. If CRPS is allowed to persist, it may be impossible to cure, leaving you with a lifetime of pain medication and treatments.

How We Can Help

With over 75 years of combined experience, our Santa Barbara personal injury attorneys at NordstrandBlack PC work with victims to ensure they get the compensation they need to receive excellent medical care and put their lives back together. We have a thorough understanding of CRPS and years of experience helping victims who suffer from this condition. We know what to look for and can help ensure that you get the needed medical treatment and compensation will adequately cover the medical costs, pain and suffering, and other damages that you deserve.