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Top 10 facts about CRPS

Updated: May 9


Facts about CRPS by FT Chronic Pain

  • The most common alternative names for CRPS other than Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy are Causalgia, Aglodystrophy and Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome.

  • Women are 3 times more likely to be affected by CRPS than men at a ratio of 3-4:1.

  • CRPS is rated number 45 on the McGill pain scale, which makes it the most painful condition. More painful than non terminal cancer and childbirth.

  • It is a common misconception that CRPS patients should apply ice to the affected area, however the application of ice to the CRPS area can not only cause the CRPS to worsen, but it can also sometimes cause the disease to progress more rapidly and in some cases spread to other areas.

  • There are two types of CRPS. CRPS type 1, which used to be known as RSD and occurs after an illness or injury that did not directly damage a nerve CRPS type 2, known as causalgia, occurs after there has been an actual known injury to a nerve and the third sub type of CRPS that would not fully meet the clinical diagnostic Budapest Criteria is known as CRPS not otherwise specified (CRPS-NOS).

  • A poor diet can alter your immune system causing it to respond abnormally contributing to persistent low grade inflammation and worsening CRPS symptoms. Studies have found that the immune system can in fact react to an unhealthy diet in the same way it would react to a bacterial infection. Foods such as whole fruits, berries, dark green leafy vegetable, nuts and wholegrains can have an anti-inflammatory affect that can help soothe and prevent painful flare ups.

  • Your arms and legs are typical areas that CRPS can impact. In fact, 60% arms and 40% legs.

  • CRPS causes short term memory problems. This is due to problems related to the limbic system of the brain.

  • Ambroise Paré who was the first to use ligatures for the treatment of war wounds in the 15 hundreds instead of cauterisation, was the first to describe a disorder that could be related to the current concept of CRPS in history. He successfully treated a severe and persistent pain syndrome that occurred to the French King Charles IX of Valois.

  • A current study being undertaken by the University of Texas supports a new belief that for men and women pain manifests itself differently at a cellular level. This may mean that certain pain drugs may work for men but not for women.


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