Hot vs. cold

What is CRPS?

O'Hara Law Firm Sept. 3, 2017

Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a pain syndrome that is considered more painful on the McGill University Pain Scale (42/50) than childbirth or amputation. Approximately 200,000 people in the United States suffer from this terrible syndrome. Allodynia is a common symptom of CRPS. Allodynia is pain sensitization from stimulation that is normally not painful. For instance, a mild temperature change or gentle physical touch may cause severe pain. Some people with CRPS/RSD live in constant, excruciating pain. CRPS was once known as the “Suicide Disease” because of the number of patients that took their own lives. The number of suicides has decreased over the years as the disease has been more commonly recognized and diagnosed.


CRPS is more likely to go into remission the earlier it is treated and the younger the patient. Not all doctors agree on what is appropriate treatment for CRPS. Medications that are commonly used to treat the syndrome are pain relievers, antidepressants, corticosteroids, bone-loss medications, sympathetic nerve-blocking medication and intravenous ketamine. Therapies that are commonly used are applying heat and cold, topical analgesics, physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulations (TENS), biofeedback and spinal cord stimulation.

Coping and Support

Living with CRPS becomes increasingly challenging when friends and family members do not believe that the person suffering from CRPS is in as much pain as he or she claims. Victims of CRPS should share information from reliable sources about the syndrome with friends and family. Some reliable sources include and other medical websites. People with CRPS should attempt to continue performing normal daily activities and hobbies. They should not isolate themselves from family and friends.

At times, a person suffering from CRPS may need to see a counselor or therapist for emotional support and counseling. Chronic diseases often cause depression and negatively affect mental health.

If you are suffering from CRPS/RSD as a result of an injury or trauma, contact the O'Hara LAw Firm.