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Complex regional pain sydrome or “CRPS” (pronounced CRIPS) is an enigma. It’s complex. It involves different body systems. It’s very, very painful, and it can be incredibly disabling. It has had lots of different names over the years – in 1982 when I trained it was called “causalgia” or “Sudeck’s atrophy”, but in 1993 the International Association for the Study of Pain developed guidelines for diagnosing and managing this complex pain problem.
Since then we’ve heard a lot about CRPS, at least those of us working in the pain management field have. I am not so sure that the general public, or even healthcare professionals who don’t deal primarily in pain will have heard nearly so much.
What is it?
CRPS is a pain problem that may develop spontaneously (roughly 10%), but more often develops after what seems to be a trivial kind of injury. I’ve seen people develop CRPS…
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