Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic painful condition felt in the arm, hand, leg or foot following an injury or trauma. The pain associated with CRPS, which is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), may start in one limb. As the condition worsens, however, the pain may spread all over the body and affect a patient’s basic movements and daily routines.

Studies show that 35 percent of patients suffering from CRPS experience whole body pain. This condition is classified into two types, with 90 percent of patients manifesting pain without nerve damage (CPRS-I). However, 10 percent of people with CRPS fall in the second category (CPRS-II) where there is clear evidence of nerve damage in the limbs.

If you are suffering from chronic pain, don’t hesitate to consult our pain doctor in Spring Hill to get a thorough assessment and an accurate diagnosis. 

Risks and Causes of CRPS

According to an analysis of at least 22 clinical findings, women in their early 40s are at higher risk for CPRS. This condition, however, may also affect young adults but rarely in the elderly.

Experts can’t pinpoint the exact causes that trigger CRPS. However, it is not uncommon for a patient with a sprain, fracture or injuries of the soft tissues, who may need to be immobile and in a cast for a certain period of time, to complain of this pain. 

Symptoms of CRPS

The severity and duration of CRPS symptoms may vary with every patient. The pain may feel like a burning sensation, which may be too intense and sensitive for some. Other patients, however, may feel a numbing pain that causes discomfort because it just won’t go away. Other symptoms of CRPS include: 

  • Stiffness in the joints
  • No muscle coordination
  • Abnormal movements
  • Poor posture
  • Tremors or jerking
  • Decreased mobility
  • Changes in the texture of the skin around the affected area
  • Changes in the growth pattern of the nails and hair
  • Excessive sweating in the areas surrounding the affected limbs

Treating CRPS with Sympathetic Chain Block

The recommended treatment is similar regardless of the CRPS category or symptoms. One effective method may be a sympathetic chain block or a sympathetic nerve block. This entails targeting a network of nerves just outside the spine, called the sympathetic nervous system, which controls body function, blood flow, digestion, and sweating. The block will be administered through an injection.

What Usually Happens During a Sympathetic Chain Block Procedure

Usually, a patient has to meet with a specialist in Spring Hill pain management to evaluate their medical history and the kind of treatment that will be most beneficial and effective. If everything is ideal per the specialist’s assessment, the patient will need to fast for six hours before the procedure. This means that the patient will not be allowed to eat or drink anything for six hours.

The patient will then be hooked up to an IV and have his vital signs monitored. He may feel his body becoming relaxed while his neck will be numbed by the local anesthesia. Using an X-ray or fluoroscopy, the pain doctor in Spring Hill will find the right spot or ganglion to inject the chain block. These are located near the neck for upper body pain and by the lower spine for lower body pain.

This procedure is generally safe and the patient may return to his normal activities a day after a complete rest. However, the patient may feel the following side effects, which are still normal:

  • Soreness
  • Weakness
  • Feeling warm
  • Difficulty in swallowing food

In some cases, sympathetic chain block treatment for CRPS works better alongside physical therapy.

Learn more about Spring Hill Pain Management

Pain Management & Spine Care’s Medical Director, Dr. Eyad Alsabbagh, is a fellowship-trained Interventional Pain Medicine pain doctor in Hernando County. He is trained and educated to provide the highest quality of service to patients suffering from multiple conditions, varying from narcotics addiction to back pain. He utilizes state-of-the-art technology at his pain management clinic in Brooksville.

Dr. Alsabbagh understands that pain is a very personal experience. This is why he evaluates each patient’s individual needs and determines what sort of treatment will be most beneficial for that particular person. Our goal is to help you ensure a fuller, pain-free life.

If you have further questions about nerve blocks or anything related to pain management, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment or to contact us.

The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.