Workers’ compensation for complex regional pain syndrome

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a chronic pain condition. Having handled numerous injury, Work Injury and Social Security Disability cases it is devastating condition which can significantly impact ones life. It can effect any part of the body but more commonly is found in the arm or leg.

Doctors aren’t certain what causes it, but one school of thought is that there is an injury to the sympathetic nervous system. Another is that it is an immune response that results in inflammation that sets of a chain of events. What is known is that an injury, even a simple trauma such as a fracture to a finger, can cause the condition to appear or develop. Frequently we have seen it develop after a surgery (rotator cuff repair, carpal tunnel syndrome surgery, ankle fracture etc. It’s primary characteristic is pain. Fortunately it is not common, but as an injury and disability lawyer we see more than most would care to see. It is thought to be from damage to the nervous system and the damaged nerves are no longer able to properly control blood flow.

Symptoms include temperature changes to the skin between warm and cold. Sweating in the involved area. Color changes purple or red or pale. Sometimes blotchy or shiny or mottling of the skin. Abnormal hair growth as well. Spasms and burning aching pain. Hypersensitivity to touch in the involved area. At later stages muscle wasting or atrophy.

There is no cure for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD). The main focus is to help alleviate the pain and have people try to deal with it and have as normal a life as possible. Different types of nerve blocks or injections, pain pumps, and narcotics may be used. Often times people suffer from depression as a result and cognitive treatment may be warranted including antidepressants.

If you or a loved one is suffering from, or believes they may be suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) or Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) and have additional questions feel free to contact us at 888.99.DUGAN for a free consultation.

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