Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a rare but debilitating complication of severe workplace injuries. Nerve damage to the affected area leads to intense chronic pain and mobility issues. 

Explore the symptoms of CRPS to determine whether you or a loved one may suffer from this condition after an injury at work. 

What are the symptoms of CRPS?

Most people with this condition describe a burning pain in the injured area. Often, the pain associated with CRPS exceeds the pain of the initial injury. Other signs of CRPS include: 

  • Sensitivity 
  • Swelling 
  • Temperature or color changes in the affected area 
  • Muscle atrophy 
  • Mobility limitations 

While symptoms typically start just in the injured body part, they often worsen and spread. 

How do doctors diagnose CRPS?

Although CRPS is most common for women ages 20 to 40, anyone can have this complication after an injury. Fractures, impact injuries and crush injuries are most commonly associated with CRPS. The doctor will take a full medical history and rule out other conditions to make a diagnosis. 

If you or a loved one has CRPS, you may face years of chronic pain and associated rehabilitation and treatments. Doctors recommend a pain management plan that combines psychotherapy, mental health care, prescription and over-the-counter medications, occupational therapy, and physical therapy. 

After a workplace injury, the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance plan must cover necessary medical expenses. In Virginia, you must notify your employer within 60 days of the work-related accident or diagnosis to remain eligible for workers’ compensation. You have legal recourse if the company denies your claim associated with CRPS.