For all who have asked me “What’s wrong with your leg?” or similar questions, Here’s an answer. I have Complex Regional Nerve Syndrome, also known as CRPS.
Complex Regional Nerve Syndrome or CRPS, formerly known as RSD Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System, and more specifically, the Sympathetic Nervous System. The pain is characterized as constant, extremely intense, and out of proportion to the original injury. The pain is typically accompanied by swelling, skin changes, extreme sensitivity, and can often be debilitating. It usually affects one or more of the four limbs but can occur in any part of the body and in over 70% of the victims it spreads to additional areas.
There are FOUR Main Symptoms/Criteria of CRNS:
There are a great many additional symptoms that can also occur over the course of the disease. Not everybody will have all of the symptoms and the symptoms may change over time due to the medications they are on, the treatments they are receiving, and even such things as time of day/month/season, and whether or not she/he is currently under excess stress!
- changes in skin temperature (warmer or cooler compared to the healthy/opposite limb).
- changes in skin color (skin may appear red, dusky, covered with red dots, cyanotic, blotchy, or pale).
- hypersensitivity to touch, sound, vibration, wind, noise, temperature, barometric pressure changes, water temperature, etc.
- depression, fatigue, and/or insomnia.
- changes in hair/nail growth (nails can become brittle, cracked, or grooved - increased/decreased hair/nail growth).
- skin can become shiny, changes in sweating patterns - increase/decreases.
- bone and muscle loss/changes, atrophy/weakness.
- swelling and stiffness in affected joints.
- throbbing, crushing, tingling, shooting, aching, stabbing, burning pain in the affected area.
- tremors (shakes).
- problems moving the affected extremity/body part.
- migraines/cluster headaches.
These symptoms can come and go and alternate over time, changing from month to month and year to year depending what stage you are in is in, what treatment you are on, what medications you are using, how successful these treatments are, how the disease is progressing, and/or what other disease(s) might be introduced along the way. One of the many problems for Doctors in treating this disease is that many patients present differently and the symptoms can vary.