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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

The below information is purely for educational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. This content should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is prolonged pain after an injury that is more severe and lasts longer than would be expected following a similar injury. Most cases of CRPS occur after trauma to an arm or leg.

What Causes Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Medical cannabis for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.Complex regional pain syndrome can be caused by incidents that have led to injuries, such as fractures, infections and more. More severe injuries are at a greater risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome. However, typically less severe injuries such as sprains and soft-tissue injuries can also cause complex regional pain syndrome. Immobilisation following the injury is also associated with an increased risk of developing complex regional pain syndrome.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Symptoms

There are some common signs and symptoms of CRPS, and some people suffering from CRPS may also have trouble with their mobility due to the pain.

  • Chronic pain
  • Skin sensitivity
  • Limb swelling
  • Changes in temperate to the affected area.
  • Abnormal swelling
  • Changes in skin, hair, and nails in the affected area
  • Local weakness

What are the 3 stages of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

There are three different clinical stages of complex regional pain syndrome.

  • Stage 1 – acute, which typically lasts 1-3 months.
  • Stage 2 – subacute, which usually lasts between 3-6 months.
  • Stage 3 – chronic, permanent changes to the affected area.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Treatment

Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is split into four main areas:

  • Education and self-management (advice and support on how to manage the condition).
  • Physical rehabilitation (improve physical functioning and help prevent the risk of long-term issues).
  • Pain relief (pain medication to help reduce the pain).
  • Psychological support (support to help cope with the emotional affect of living with the condition).

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome and Medicinal Cannabis

Research into the effect of medicinal cannabis on CRPS is limited. However, following the legalisation of cannabis for medical purposes in 2018, there has been a rise in people looking towards medical cannabis. When first-line therapies have not proved effective at reducing symptoms, medical cannabis may be considered an option for CRPS.
For further information and to find out more about medical cannabis, click here to discover more about our award-winning Curaleaf Access Scheme. Alternatively, complete an eligibility assessment now. Once complete, one of our clinicians will review your application and advise whether you are eligible for progression to an appointment.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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For many individuals the symptoms may completely resolve or improve within the first year of the condition. There is currently no cure for complex regional pain syndrome but treatment can help manage and support patients suffering with CRPS symptoms. The evidence for treatments in CRPS is poor, however physiotherapy has been suggested as providing a likely improvement in pain and function.

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CRPS is commonly triggered by trauma to a nerve or an injury that has impacted a limb and damaged the sensory nerves.

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The first stage of complex regional pain syndrome can last from 1 to 3 months, this is when symptoms such as aching, pain, and skin sensitivity occur. The second stage can last from 3 to 6 months, which is when the symptoms progress and the pain often becomes more intense.