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Diagnosing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a lifelong condition which is known for being very hard to diagnose, as there is no single test which can be carried out to give you a yes or no answer. CRPS diagnosis is mainly based upon the symptoms which you present, the results of a full physical examination and a number of different tests which may be carried out and which can give a clearer picture of the type of pain you’re suffering from and whether there is any other underlying cause for it.

Below are just some of the tests which may be carried out if your doctor suspects you may have CRPS:
Blood tests: carrying out blood tests can discover whether you have an underlying infection causing the pain or rheumatoid arthritis.
An X-Ray: an x-ray or bone scan on the affected limb can show any problems of bone thinning (osteoporosis) or any other abnormalities with the bones and joints.

MRI scan: used to find if there are any other underlying problems with your bones or tissue.

Nerve conduction studies: doctors may carry out tests which involve blocking the sympathetic nervous system with an anaesthetic. If they find that blocking this system relieves the pain, then they know they can focus in on it as the cause of the pain.

Not all doctors will carry out every single one of these tests and not all of them are necessary to receive a CRPS diagnosis but it is best to be prepared for as many tests as possible, to guarantee you get the results that you need to start upon the right treatment plan.

After CRPS Diagnosis

Once your doctor has diagnosed you with CRPS the next step is usually a referral to your local specialist pain clinic and the majority of these are found inside local hospitals. As soon as you receive your diagnosis your doctor should refer you on so you can begin to get the treatment you need and see a downward change in the pain you are suffering.

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