Signs You May Have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome After an Accident

Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS is a condition that can develop after a physical injury. CRPS involves chronic pain that is much more debilitating and severe than the pain that would be expected after a similar injury. 

So why do some people develop CRPS and others don’t? And what is the true impact that CRPS has on a victim’s life moving forward after a car accident? We take a look at the effects of CRPS, and how to spot the difference between CRPS and typical injuries sustained after a car accident

What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome can vary, but typically include:

  • Swelling of the affected area
  • Decreased mobility
  • Changes in the color or texture of skin
  • Sensitivity to touch and/or cold

CRPS typically affects the arms or legs, and can leave victims unable to walk without immense pain. 


Can a Car Crash Cause Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

The cause of complex regional pain syndrome is not entirely understood at this point in time. While it almost always occurs as a result of physical trauma or injury, not everyone who experiences similar injuries will go on to develop CRPS. Currently, it’s thought to be caused by an injury to the peripheral and central nervous system, but doctors are still learning more about this condition and its causes. 

A car accident can cause a wide range of injuries all over the human body, including sprains, bone fractures, internal injuries, and car accident induced head injuries. While any one of these injuries can cause significant pain to the victim, people who develop CRPS will develop additional symptoms.

car accident @ vestavia hills” by digitizedchaos is licensed under CC BY 2.0 .


Signs and Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Some common signs and symptoms of Complex regional pain syndrome include:

  • Swelling in the affected area
  • Changes in skin temperature – either cold or sweaty
  • Changes in skin texture – skin may become tender or shiny
  • Continuous burning or throbbing pain
  • Sensitivity to touch or cold
  • Changes in hair or nail growth
  • Joint stiffness, swelling or damage
  • Inability or decreased movement in the affected limb
  • Muscle spasms, tremors, or weakness

These symptoms may change over time, and will vary from person to person, though pain, swelling, redness, and hypersensitivity are usually the first symptoms a victim will notice. 


Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Progression

Symptoms of CRPS can change drastically over time. The affected arm or leg can become cold or pale, and may display muscle spasms or tightening. Once these changes occur, CRPS is often irreversible. CRPS can cause permanent disabilities, with persistent and debilitating pain. It may also spread from its original source to elsewhere in the body, oftentimes the opposite limb. 

Some victims may see the symptoms of CRPS go away completely on their own, but others continue to see effects for months or even years. Early diagnosis and treatment is key to shortening the length that someone is affected by CRPS. Early diagnosis is also important if you want to pursue damages for your PA car accident injuries.


Diagnosis and Treatment for CRPS

A diagnosis of CRPS will be made based of your medical history and a physical exam. While there is no one test specifically for CRPS, X-rays, MRI’s, or bone scans may all be ordered to confirm a diagnosis of CRPS. 

Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome will vary based on the initial injury and when it was diagnosed. Medications, physical therapy, and surgery are all options to treat this syndrome. This means that CRPS can leave you with large medical bills, on top of debilitating pain. If CRPS is left untreated however, it can lead to loss of mobility in the affected limb, and severely impact your quality of life going forward.


Hiring an Attorney To Help With Your Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Lawsuit

If you are experiencing signs you may have complex regional pain syndrome after an accident, you may be worried about mounting medical bills, on top of being concerned for your physical well being. Treatment for complex regional pain syndrome can be costly, and may exceed the standard insurance coverage of most automobile policies. 

The team of experienced PA personal injury lawyers at Thistle Law can help you navigate the process of dealing with big insurance companies, and making sure the person responsible for the accident that caused your CRPS is held accountable. Contact us today for your free consultation by calling 215-568-6800, or by filling out our contact form here.


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