(CRPS) formerly reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), “causalgia“, or reflex neurovascular dystrophy (RND) is an amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome (AMPS). It is a chronic systemic disease characterized by severe pain, swelling, and changes in the skin. CRPS often worsens over time. It may initially affect an arm or leg and spread throughout the body; 35% of people report symptoms throughout their whole body. Other potential effects include: systemic autonomic dysregulation; neurogenic edema; musculoskeletal, endocrine, or dermatological manifestations; and changes in urological or gastrointestinal function.
The cause of CRPS is unknown though CRPS is associated with dysregulation of the central nervous system and autonomic nervous systemresulting in multiple functional loss, impairment, and disability. Precipitating factors include injury and surgery, although there are documented cases where no injury had occurred at the original site. CRPS is not caused by psychological factors, yet the constant pain and reduced quality of life has been known to cause psychological problems (such as increased depression and anxiety). Although “research does not reveal support for specific personality or psychopathology predictors of the condition,” CRPS is associated with psychosocial effects, including impaired social and occupational function. Treatment is complicated, involving medications, physical therapy, psychological treatments, and neuromodulation and is often unsatisfactory, especially if delayed.