Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare neurological disorder, which causes chronic pain that cannot be controlled and can affect all areas of the body but most commonly occurs in the limbs. It is a debilitating and disabling inflammatory condition that can be caused by minor injury (sprain), broken/fractured bones, surgery or can appear spontaneously without known cause.

CRPS is believed to be the result of dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems where the signals between the affected limb or body part and the brain are misinterpreted resulting in the following:

  • “burning” pain.
  • hypersensitivity of the skin.
  • changes in skin temperature: warmer or cooler compared to the opposite extremity.
  • changes in skin colour: often blotchy, purple, pale, or red.
  • changes in skin texture: shiny and thin, and sometimes excessively sweaty.
  • changes in nail and hair growth patterns.
  • swelling and stiffness in affected joints.
  • motor disability, with decreased ability to move the affected body part.

CRPS can strike anyone at any age and affects men, women and children, but statistics show it is more common in women.

Very little is known or understood about CRPS and there is no cure.

CRPS UK

CRPS UK  is a registered  charity focused on helping people with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) to live the best lives they can. The charity was  set up by four people who have CRPS to provide a support system to others with the condition. They aim to do this by providing a supportive environment in which people can find out about CRPS and get in touch with a community of people who know what they are going through via our very active closed Facebook group. This serves to allow people to speak with confidence and privacy about any concerns they may have, thus supplying a huge support network. We have already held successful conferences and regional meet ups. For many this is the first time they have met anyone else with the condition. These social opportunities help to break down the isolation often experienced with a chronic health condition.

For many this is the first time they have met anyone else with the condition.

Specialist treatment can be the key to lessening the impact of CRPS and helping people with CRPS to live rich and fulfilling lives. CRPS UK founders are working with specialist treatment centres to provide a grant scheme for patients with CRPS who are experiencing financial difficulty, to help them to afford travel expenses to and from hospital. This will ensure that they can access the treatment they need. Currently this is only for travel costs for those receiving treatment at the RNHRD/RUH in Bath, but we aim to roll this out in the future to other units specialising in CRPS.

Going forward CPRS UK aim to improve diagnosis and treatment of CRPS. They will be promoting awareness and education about CRPS in healthcare professions, which should lead to more patients receiving timely diagnosis and intervention. This will be through the production of healthcare leaflets and presentations via direct contact.

More on CRPS

Picture (modified) Patientenvereniging CRPSEigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link

About Gary Hepburn

Gary Hepburn is Managing Director of Sirius Business Services Ltd who are approved suppliers of the Practice Index and offer, Basic Life Support, AED and Anaphylaxis, Fire Safety and Health & Safety consultancy and training to GP Practices, Dental Practices and Private Hospitals. Visit their page on The Practice Index. Gary is happy to discuss any issues, or concerns Practice Managers may have with existing providers, or to give advice on how the standard of training can be checked, email him at [email protected] or Telephone 01305 769969