Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and the Treatments That Can Help

Some complex, chronic conditions can leave you suffering from debilitating pain symptoms without providing a clear understanding of the cause. You need expert diagnosis and treatment to learn and address the cause of your pain and restore your quality of life.

At Alpenglow Pain & Wellness of Anchorage, Alaska, Nichelle C. Renk, MD, handles complex cases with expertise and compassion. Dr. Renk treats new and existing patients with a variety of pain conditions, including complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

For younger patients with unexplained pain symptoms that get worse, not better, over time, CRPS may be a possible diagnosis. This condition, connected to dysfunction in your central or peripheral nervous systems, doesn’t have a cure, but it can be managed with the right treatment options. 

Here’s what Dr. Renk wants you to know about your CRPS diagnosis, and your options for achieving a pain-free future.

Misfiring pain signals in your brain

Your brain governs your sensory receptors, causing you to feel pain in response to harmful stimuli. 

Dysfunction in your central or peripheral nervous systems, the networks of nerves that convey information about pain and pain responses to and from your brain, can leave you feeling severe pain, including to light touch, without any clear reason. You could also feel pain that doesn’t match the severity of an injury.

CRPS results when your brain sends high levels of nerve impulses to a single site in your body. The condition appears to result from multiple causes, and can be triggered by trauma or injury. CRPS may have something to do with a disrupted natural healing process.

Who is at risk for CRPS?

The condition most commonly appears in younger patients, typically around the ages of 25-30. Children can be affected by CRPS, and women develop the condition more frequently than men. Emotional distress may intensify your CRPS symptoms.

The symptoms of CRPS vary, but nearly always include intense, continuous pain that worsens over time. 

You might describe your CRPS pain as feeling like burning, and the condition can involve skin changes, including changes to your perception of temperature. Your skin may be red or mottled. If your joints are affected, you could see swelling or feel stiffness.

Treatment options to address your pain

While CRPS can’t be cured, you still have real treatment options to resolve your pain symptoms. Putting together a treatment plan for CRPS takes patience and expertise. Dr. Renk works with you to find the right combination of treatments to keep your symptoms under control.

Depending on your treatment needs, you may be able to benefit from treatment with:

For support diagnosing and treating your CRPS, turn to Dr. Renk at Alpenglow Pain & Wellness this fall. You don’t have to live with unexplainable pain symptoms. 

Schedule an initial consultation appointment with Dr. Renk today by calling the office in Anchorage, Alaska, at 907-313-2976. You can also send a message to the team here on our website.

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