Most doctors and specialists in CRPS have accepted that is usually has three main stages, although it isn’t a condition which is systematic and not all of the stages may be followed or experienced by each individual. Some people develop severe symptoms straight away whereas others may never experience the later stages. Here is a closer look at the three CRPS stages that the condition may manifest into.
Stage one sees changes which last one to three months and is characterised through:
Changes to the temperature of skin – switching between warm and cold for no discernible reason
Severe burning, aching pain in the affected area which worsens when touched in the slightest way
Join pain or swelling
Rapid growth of nails or hair
Blotches or changes to skin tone and feel including shininess, additional perspiration and thinness.
Stage two generally sees changes which last from 3 to 6 months and is characterised through:
Slower hair growth
Increasing pain which continues to worsen
Cracked and easily broken nails
Stage three is the beginning of changes which are irreversible and need dedicated pain management and include:
Constant or near constant pain in the entire limb
Limited movement in the limb due to the tightened muscles and tendons
The progress through these stages is not necessary sequential, as previously mentioned and there is nothing to say individuals won’t experience one of the stages and go through another. There is also no research to suggest which CRPS stages may be experienced by each individual dependent on the cause of their condition.
CRPS remains a difficult condition to manage as there is so much unknown and it can take some time to get to diagnosis. The condition also has no cure so it is a case of managing the symptoms and living with the syndrome in the best possible way. Treatment is dependent on the individual situation and symptoms and many doctors will refer their patients not only for physical and medicinal treatment but psychological too.