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Complex regional pain syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS) is a potentially debilitating, multi-system condition which is mainly recognised as chronic pain within a limb or extremity, that lasts for a long time, after the normal length of healing after any type of trauma or illness. CRPS usually begins in one area of the body but can continue to affect any part of the body, spreading away from the initially damaged area, even if this is just one limb.

CRPS is associated with sensory, motor, autonomic, skin or bone abnormalities and the pain of which is usually out of proportion to the original injury or trauma. CRPS is often usually associated with limb dysfunction and can cause severe distress, anxiety or even depression. However, CRPS is not a psychological disorder, but can cause psychological issues. Originally called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), CRPS is the same condition and more commonly referred to as such in recent years.

CRPS is categorised in to 2 types (CRPS 1 and CRPS 2)

  • CRPS 1 – used to be known as RSD and is caused by a major or minor injury or trauma to the tissues of a limb or extremities. It is not caused by damage to a nerve. CRPS 1 will usually occur in cases where there has been an injury to the soft tissues, sprains or fractures. Around 90 percent of those people who suffer with CRPS have this particular condition.
  • CRPS 2 – is caused when there has been an actual known direct damage to a nerve. The signs and symptoms of CRPS 1 and CRPS 2 are virtually the same.

Symptoms of CPRS

  • Burning stabbing, stinging or throbbing pain in the affected area
  • Sensitivity in the affected area – even light stroking or the weight of clothing can cause severe pain
  • Swelling in the painful area
  • Stiffness in the affected area
  • Muscle weakness
  • Movement issues (shaking, jerking and lack of control)
  • Colour or temperature changes in the affected area
  • Skin tone can look more red, blue or can appear mottled or shiny
  • Changes to the hair or nails
  • Excessive sweating of the affected area
  • Strange sensation of the limb including the feeling that the limb is larger or smaller than normal)
  • Depression and anxiety as a result of the long-term pain

Treatments for CPRS

There is no single treatment for all those who suffer with CRPS, and some treatments, especially drugs can cause significant side-effects. However, the below treatments have proven effective in many cases:-

  • Rehabilitation therapy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Occupational therapy (desensitisation, relaxation and stress management / body perception awareness)
  • Psychology and coping techniques
  • Pain management programmes
  • Drugs or local anaesthetic injections
  • Spinal cord stimulation

Cannabis medication for CRPS

Cannabis medication has been proven as an excellent solution to help people with CRPS. It helps to relieve nerve pain, muscle spasms, inflammation and limb and stiffness. It can also help relive insomnia and help relaxation. Cannabis medications, even at low doses, can present an effective option for patients with treatment-resistant neuropathic pain with none of the unpleasant side-effects that conventional drugs can present

Am I suitable for pain management for my CPRS, with medical cannabis?

The symptoms of your chronic pain will be assessed during a no obligation consultation and examination, here at Integro Medical Clinics. We will assess the type of pain, severity, functional impact and context. If you experience musculoskeletal pain, you may benefit from X-rays of the affected areas. In cases of neuropathic pain, nerve conduction studies as well as electromyography may be used, to identify the nerves that are affected. After a thorough examination and medical history check, your clinician will make recommendations for pain management or other investigations, depending on the underlying cause of your chronic pain. Following this initial assessment, we can provide a plan, which may include cannabis medicines as an option for pain management, for your unique requirements.

When conventional treatments reach their limit, our work begins.

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