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What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?


All physical injuries cause some measure of discomfort. A dog bite, for example, can leave a victim with tender limbs until the wounds heal. However, some injuries cause a disproportionate amount of chronic pain. If so, you might be suffering from complex regional pain syndrome, which is a serious ailment deserving of compensation.


This syndrome typically develops after an injury to a limb, surgery, or a medical emergency like a heart attack or stroke. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common feature is suffering pain that is disproportionate to the injury suffered.

Some of the more common symptoms are:

  • Swelling in the area where you feel pain
  • Hypersensitivity to cold or touch
  • Throbbing or burning pain that is constant
  • Joint stiffness
  • Muscle weakness, tremors, or spasms

Complex regional pain syndrome typically occurs in your arm, hand, foot, or leg. The symptoms can change over time. For some people, it can migrate from one part of the body to another. For example, a person might feel pain in their left arm; over time, the pain eventually affects the right arm as well.

Treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Doctors are not entirely sure what causes this syndrome, which can make diagnosis and treatment complicated. Nevertheless, all people who continue to feel pain should speak with a doctor. A doctor can order imaging tests to look at your nerves and muscles, as well as ask important questions about how you are feeling.

Physicians typically adapt a treatment to each patient’s symptoms. For example, many people receive:

  • Pain relievers, whether over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen or prescription painkillers if necessary.
  • Corticosteroids, which can reduce inflammation in the affected limb.
  • Anticonvulsants, which can reduce muscle tremors or spasms.

One complication with this syndrome is that a person will stop using an affected limb because of the pain. Consequently, they can suffer muscle atrophy or contraction. They might also begin to suffer bone loss. These complications might also be treated with different medications.

For some, complex regional pain syndrome will clear on its own eventually. However, others could suffer from continuing pain for a very long time.

Obtaining Compensation

Because the pain is out of proportion to the injury suffered, victims might struggle to convince other people that the severity of their pain is real. For example, a dog might have bitten your arm, causing puncture wounds and soft-tissue damage.

To an outsider, the pain should have subsided once the physical wounds heal. If you continue to claim to feel burning pain—and if that pain migrates to your other arm—people might assume you are exaggerating what you are feeling. Some might simply disbelieve you. Juries and insurance adjusters are often skeptical that you are truly in as much pain as you claim.

At our firm, we work with clients to fully document their pain. We can help you hold onto all prescription drug information to show that you are suffering. We might also talk to your doctor, therapist, or family members to gain their perspective.

Contact Earnhart Law today for a free consultation. We are experienced Delray Beach personal injury attorneys who are committed to getting our clients the compensation they deserve.


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