You may be recovering from an injured hand or other limb when the burning pain begins. For others, the pain begins without a clear cause. This is called complex regional pain syndrome or reflex sympathetic dystrophy. It is a flare-up of certain nerves that overreact to something. Doctors often do not know why it happens.
For some people, the pain, swelling, and stiffness can be much worse than the original injury. This pain can last a long time—months or even years. Although it is an unusual condition, it is very real. You may feel better on some days than on others. Your skin may become very sensitive, and it may look blotchy or shiny. You may have trouble moving the limb.
This condition sometimes goes away after some months. More likely, you will need a treatment plan to reduce symptoms, stop the pain from moving to different parts of your body, and prevent permanent damage. You may have to try several treatments before you find what works best for you. In some cases, shots into the nerve area (nerve blocks) seem to reduce symptoms. Pain medicine is only one part of successful treatment. Physiotherapy and counselling can also help.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter R732 in the search box to learn more about "Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Care Instructions".
Current as of: June 4, 2018
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Martin J. Gabica, MD - Family Medicine
©2006-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.