How Do Doctors Diagnose Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

woman in pain with her hand

Generally, doctors will diagnose Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) after examining a patient’s medical history and test results. There exists no single or specific test doctors use to diagnose CRPS. Instead, this condition can be inferred after conducting diagnostics such as an X-ray, bone scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) exam, or sweat production test.

Common Symptoms of CRPS

There are many different symptoms of CRPS, and they are not typically experienced the same from one patient to another. In most cases, pain is the cause of disability.

The following are some common symptoms of CRPS:

  • Continuous pain that worsens over time
  • Pain that feels out of proportion relative to an injury
  • Extreme pain sensitivity, such as severe pain after a light touch
  • Pain that travels or spreads from one part of the body to others
  • Burning sensation, like the affected limb is squeezed
  • Swelling of affected limb
  • Decreased or loss of motion
  • Stiffness
  • Changes in skin temperature
  • Changes in skin color
  • Changes in skin texture
  • Changes in nail and/or hair growth

If you notice any of these symptoms approximately four to six weeks after an injury, immediately consult with a medical professional.

How Do People Get CRPS?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome can have many different causes. Patients typically develop this condition after a severe injury, surgery, heart attack, or stroke. As a form of chronic pain, it typically starts in an arm or leg.

Currently, there are two types of CRPS classified by doctors:

  • Type 1 CRPS is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and the majority of CRPS patients have this type. This is a condition that develops after an injury or illness that didn’t directly damage nerves in the affected limb.
  • Type 2 CRPS has similar symptoms to Type 1, but it occurs after a distinct injury to the nerves.

What Happens If CRPS Isn’t Diagnosed in Time?

If your doctor delays CRPS or misdiagnoses you, this disease can result in permanent disability.

Tissue wasting – the deterioration and weakening of skin, bones, and muscles – can set in, making it even more difficult to move a limb. Those with undiagnosed and untreated CRPS can also experience muscle tightening, which contracts joints in the hands, fingers, feet, and toes into fixed positions.

Should I Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer?

There are two reasons you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer: when you believe a doctor’s negligence resulted in CRPS or when you believe such negligence worsened your condition or delayed your diagnosis.

Although you can develop CRPS from a number of different incidents, professionals tasked with managing your medical care must exercise a standard of care that avoids negligent mistakes. If you believe your doctor played a role in causing or worsening your CRPS, contact a medical malpractice lawyer to learn more about your legal options.

You can get started now by calling the Law Office of David Kates at (718) 866-3664">(718) 866-3664 today.