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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) – Type 2

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 2 is the rarer of the two conditions known as CRPS. CRPS Type 2, formerly known as causalgia, is a severely painful and chronic condition which develops as a result of an injury to a peripheral nerve. The pain associated with CRPS Type 2 is usually described as an intense burning which doesn’t subside and the pain is specific to the affected area, due to the injury to the nerve.

Differences to Type 1

CRPS Type 2 is different to Type 1 because of the tangible nerve injury which can be found and also because the pain doesn’t migrate from the original site. Whilst Type 1 may result in pain in the whole limb over time, CRPS Type 2 is a condition which remains specific to the original place that was injured.

CRPS Type 2 is caused by a trauma to a large nerve in one of the limbs, usually in the peripheral nervous system. CRPS Type 2 can be caused by a simple injury or something more traumatic such as a car accident or a fall from height. The disease progresses over time and can result in loss of movement and mobility in the effected limb, alongside increased pain. CRPS Type 2 pain is known to become resistant to painkillers over time.

Diagnosis

The symptoms of CRPS Type 2 are quite similar to those of CRPS Type 1 which is why full diagnosis needs to be carried out by your doctor who may refer you to further specialists to ascertain the exact root cause of the pain. Symptoms of CRPS Type 2 include the burning pain already mentioned as well as sweating, discolouration to the skin in the affected area and hyperalgesia, extreme pain felt from disproportionate action such as light touch, pressure or movement.

CRPS Type 2 can also change the rate at which hair and nails grow and it’s also more common that the joints in the affected area may seize up or spasm.

There are no specific tests for CRPS Type 2 and like Type 1 it is mainly diagnosed through symptoms, by professional doctors and specialists who may carry out a range of tests such as MRI scans and blood tests, to rule out other conditions rather than pinpoint CRPS. If you have any concerns about on-going pain after an injury, contact your GP.

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