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What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Understanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a rare and progressive neurological disease. Unfortunately, as a rare disorder, CRPS has a longstanding history of being misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Fortunately, awareness is on the rise, largely thanks to mainstream media like Netflix's documentary Taking Care of Maya and the growing dialogue in medical communities.

In this blog, we’ll explore common symptoms, causes, and treatment for CRPS and review what steps disabled individuals can take to secure the disability benefits they deserve.

What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition that typically affects one limb (such as an arm, leg, hand, or foot). It’s characterized by intense and prolonged pain, often disproportionate to the initial injury or cause. CPS can be debilitating and significantly impact a person's quality of life.

CRPS Symptoms

Common symptoms associated with CRPS include:

  • Continuous, burning pain that may spread to other areas
  • Sensitivity to touch or cold
  • Swelling and changes in skin color and temperature
  • Changes in skin texture, such as thinning or shininess
  • Decreased range of motion and muscle weakness
  • Joint stiffness and swelling

What Causes CRPS?

The causes of CRPS aren’t fully understood by medical specialists at this time. Generally, however, CRPS arises after an individual experiences forceful trauma to a limb (like an arm or leg). However, other trauma types (such as surgeries, heart attacks, infections, or even sprained ankles) can lead to CRPS as well, although researchers are still unsure why such injuries often lead to diagnosis.

According to experts, some other potential causes of CRPS include:

  • Nerve damage or dysfunction
  • Immune system dysfunction
  • Abnormal inflammatory response
  • Genetic predisposition (in certain cases)

How Is CRPS Treated?

Generally, treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) includes (but isn't limited to):

  • Medications: Pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, anticonvulsants, and antidepressants
  • Physical therapy: Gentle exercises, stretching, and mobilization techniques
  • Occupational therapy: Techniques to help manage daily activities and improve function
  • Sympathetic nerve block: Injection of anesthetic near the affected nerves
  • Spinal cord stimulation: Implantation of a device that delivers electrical impulses to block pain signals

How Is CRPS Diagnosed?

Physicians will typically assess various factors to establish a CRPS diagnosis, such as:

  • Physical examination: Physicians will typically conduct a physical exam to assess the patient’s symptoms, such as skin changes and sensitivity
  • Medical history: Physicians will review the patient's medical records and previous injuries to gain a more comprehensive understanding of their case
  • Imaging tests: Physicians will often order some form of diagnostic imaging (e.g., X-rays, CT scans, or MRI) to rule out other conditions
  • Bone scan: In some cases, a bone scan (e.g., nuclear medicine test) can allow medical specialists to identify abnormalities in bone metabolism that may be contributing to CRPS

Applying for Disability Benefits with CRPS

When seeking disability benefits for CRPS, it’s crucial to work with an experienced disability insurance lawyer who understands the complexities of the legal process, as they can assist you with:

  1. Navigating complex claims processes: A disability insurance lawyer can guide you through the complex paperwork and procedures involved in filing a claim, ensuring you meet all deadlines and requirements.
  2. Representing your best interests: An experienced attorney can advocate for your rights and interests, in addition to negotiating with the insurance company on your behalf, to secure the maximum benefits you are entitled to.
  3. Providing sound legal counsel: A lawyer specializing in disability insurance can help you understand the varying terms, conditions, and exclusions of disability insurance policies to determine whether or not you qualify for coverage.
  4. Evidence gathering and documentation: A skilled attorney can assist you in gathering the necessary medical evidence, such as medical records, expert opinions, and testimonies, to support your claim.
  5. Appeals process: If your initial claim is denied, a disability insurance lawyer can help you navigate the appeals process to ensure your case is presented effectively, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.
  6. Litigation experience: In some cases, litigation may be necessary to obtain the benefits you deserve. An experienced lawyer can use their litigation skills and courtroom experience to effectively represent your case.
  7. Maximizing benefits: A disability insurance lawyer can work diligently to maximize your benefits by taking both short-term and long-term disability options into consideration to ensure you receive the full compensation you deserve for your disability.

Lawyers Specializing in Disability Insurance Claims

Because disability insurance law is complicated, it is important to get legal help from a lawyer who focuses on disability law. As a law firm built to focus on disability insurance, our lawyers specialize in disability insurance. We spend every day working to get our clients’ long-term disability benefits approved.

Because federal law applies to most disability insurance claims, we do not have to be located in your state to help. If your claim for long-term disability benefits was denied or delayed by an insurance company, call us to speak with a disability insurance attorney.

We represent clients across the U.S. with:

  • Submitting a disability insurance claim;
  • Appealing a long-term disability denial;
  • Negotiating a lump-sum settlement; and/or
  • Filing a lawsuit against your disability insurance company.

Call (800) 969-0488 to schedule your free consultation with a disability attorney.