Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Specialist

Pain Institute of Southern Arizona

Pain Management & Pain Medicine located in Tucson, AZ & Southern Arizona

Complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic and progressive condition that causes pain, skin changes, and in its late stage, muscle atrophy. The doctors at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona (PISA) have extensive experience relieving the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome using advanced interventional treatments that target the source of your pain. To learn about your treatment options, call one of the offices throughout Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Safford, Benson and Willcox, Arizona, or request an appointment online.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Q & A

What is complex regional pain syndrome (CPRS)?

CRPS is a chronic pain disorder that typically affects one limb. There are two types of CRPS. CRPS-I is caused by an injury like a sprain or fracture. CRPS-II develops due to nerve damage. Their characteristic symptom is that the initial pain persists long after the injury or nerve damage heals. Additionally, the chronic pain is disproportionate to the original injury.

What symptoms develop if I have CRPS?

Both types of CRPS share the same symptoms. The primary symptom is persistent pain that’s often severe. Your pain begins at the site of your initial injury, which is usually a hand, foot, finger, or toe, then it may spread to include the entire arm or leg.

The affected area may become hypersensitive, making even a slight, gentle touch feel painful. The nerve damage underlying both types of CRPS affects your blood vessels, resulting in changes in your skin color, texture, and temperature.

Most patients also experience:

  • Swelling in the affected limb
  • Joint stiffness
  • Abnormal sweating near the injury
  • Changes in nail and hair growth on the affected limb

You may gradually develop muscle symptoms like spasms, atrophy, or loss of coordination.

How is complex regional pain syndrome treated?

When your symptoms don’t respond to conventional treatment like medications, the doctors at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona (PISA) may recommend treatments that stop the nerves from transmitting pain. These are only two examples of their specialized pain treatments:

Sympathetic nerve block

When any part of your body is injured, sensory nerves carry signals to the spinal cord, and from there to the brain. Clusters of sensory nerves from one part of your body enter your spinal cord at the same spot.

Your doctor can inject a local anesthetic that blocks those nerve signals, stopping them from reaching your brain. As a result, you don’t feel the pain caused by CRPS. Your pain relief typically lasts for several hours after the anesthetic normally wears off, and with additional injections, you may get longer-lasting relief.

Spinal cord stimulator

A spinal cord stimulator is a medical device that uses a mild electrical signal to block or mask the nerve signals. You’ll have a trial period to be sure it works, then the generator and electrodes are implanted so they can stay in place and provide long-term pain relief.

If you have ongoing pain or swelling in a limb, call the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona (PISA) or request an appointment online.

What we offer

Pain Ailments and Conditions