Many workers face the risk of sustaining a serious injury on the job. Sometimes, these injuries lead to a condition known as complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS. This condition causes persistent pain and limits mobility in the affected limb, often an arm or leg.
Although the precise cause of CRPS is unclear, it usually arises as a response to an injury or surgery. With early treatment, individuals can manage CRPS symptoms effectively.
CRPS is a neurological disorder that tends to affect a single limb after an injury or surgery. Symptoms include severe pain, skin discoloration, swelling and decreased mobility. The condition stems from abnormal responses in the nervous system, possibly due to inflammatory or immune factors. About 200,000 Americans face CRPS each year. Because there is no definitive test, diagnosis relies on evaluating symptoms and medical history.
Impact on workers
For workers, CRPS can hinder their daily tasks and responsibilities. The pain and limited mobility can make routine job duties difficult, if not impossible. This situation not only affects the worker’s physical health but also their job security and financial stability. Treatment plans might include therapy, medication and lifestyle adjustments. Workers’ compensation can help with the costs of these critical interventions.
Treatment and management
Treatment of CRPS includes a range of strategies. Physical and occupational therapy can help maintain mobility and function. Medications and alternative pain management therapies often alleviate pain symptoms. It is important for individuals with CRPS to receive psychosocial support, as the stress of managing a chronic pain condition can impact mental health. Although CRPS is a neurological condition, not a mental illness, it may contribute to symptoms of depression and anxiety.
CRPS is a serious health condition that can disrupt an injured worker’s life and livelihood. Recognizing the symptoms and seeking appropriate treatment can help employees living with CRPS.