Complex regional pain syndrome is an often misunderstood condition that can significantly affect your ability to return to work after suffering motorcycle accident injures. As such, the costs associated with this condition should be included in your personal injury settlement.
About Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome can appear after any injury causing trauma. This includes broken bones, crushing injuries, or amputations related to a motorcycle accident.
It is unknown precisely what causes complex regional pain syndrome, since not everyone who has an injury causing trauma develops the condition. Currently, researchers hypothesize that it might be the result of a dysfunctional interaction between the body's central and peripheral nervous systems or inappropriate inflammatory responses.
Complex regional pain syndrome can occur at any age, but rates peak at 40, and the condition is seldom seen in children under 10. Women are more likely to suffer from the condition than men, possibly due to hormonal differences that affect perception of pain.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the potential symptoms of this condition include:
- Decreased ability to move the affected area
- Joint stiffness
- Swelling of the affected area
- Continuous burning or throbbing pain
- Muscle spasms or tremors
- Increased sensitivity to touch or cold
- Changes in skin temperature that alternate between sweaty and cold
- Changes in skin color, ranging from white and mottled to blue or red
- Changes in skin texture, with the possibility of tender, thin, or shiny skin in the affected area
- Changes in hair and nail growth
Symptoms must last at least six months to be considered chronic regional pain syndrome, since discomfort is a part of the healing process for many injuries. Symptoms typically occur in an injured arm, leg, hand, or foot. In some cases, the symptoms can spread to impact more than one body part.
In severe cases, people can experience tissue wasting (atrophy) because they are not moving the skin, bones, and muscles of the affected area due to pain. Muscle tightening (contracture) is also a possibility, which is a condition where the foot and toes or hands and fingers contract into a fixed position.
Complex regional pain syndrome is diagnosed with a physical exam, bone scan, MRI, X-rays, and/or sympathetic nervous system tests. Patients are diagnosed with one of two types of the condition:
- CRPS-I, which does not have a confirmed nerve injury
- CRPS-II, which requires a confirmed nerve injury
For some people, complex regional pain syndrome is resolved on its own without medical intervention. However, signs and symptoms can persist for months or years. This means it's important to seek medical attention immediately.
Treatment for complex regional pain symptoms depends on the specific symptoms you're experiencing but could include:
- Over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers
- Prescription opioid medications
- Topical analgesics
- Antidepressants or anticonvulsants, which have been shown to help pain that originates from a damaged nerve (neuropathic pain)
- Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation and improve mobility in the affected limb
- Bone loss medications to prevent or stall bone loss
- Injectable sympathetic nerve-blocking medication
- Intravenous ketamine, a strong anesthetic
- Intrathecal drug pumps that pump pain relievers into spinal cord fluid
- Physical therapy to improve range of motion and increase strength
- Spinal cord stimulation
Receiving Compensation for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome can significantly affect your quality of life. If your condition is the result of a motorcycle accident injury caused by someone else's negligence, you can seek personal injury compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to treatment of your pain
- Loss of wages, if you’re unable to work, working reduced hours, or working in a lower paying position because of pain
- Pain and suffering, which includes physical symptoms of pain, as well as the emotional trauma from how the injury has affected your life
Working with an experienced attorney is the best way to protect your right to compensation for expenses related to chronic regional pain syndrome. Neblett, Beard & Arsenault's attorneys can assess the worth of your case, locate evidence to document damages, and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.