Complex Regional Pain syndrome is a sympathetically medicated pain, usually affected the hands or legs on one side. Other names for CRPS include Sudeck’s dystrophy, causalgia and reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The affected part of the hands or legs may be red, warm, swollen, shinny and very tender to touch. This pain may follow a trivial trauma or a period of immobilization of the limb. CRPS can be excruciatingly painful. Usually blood tests, X rays, CT and MRI scans are normal and it has to be diagnosed clinically.
Medications are helpful. Physical therapy is important. Diagnostic block of stellate ganglion for upper limb or lumbar sympathetic plexus for lower limbs will confirm the diagnosis. This is usually followed by radio frequency ablation of the respective sympathetic ganglion for long term relief. Severe disease may require a spinal cord stimulator.