Chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS) or reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), tend to be more common in the hands than other joints in the body.
It starts off following trauma or surgery and usually shows signs of significant pain and hypersensitivity, abnormal colour changes and sweating, swelling and sometimes even abnormal hair growth.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke describe complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) as a chronic (lasting greater than six months) pain condition that most often affects one limb (arm, leg, hand, or foot) usually after an injury. CRPS is believed to be caused by damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems.’
Often this condition will need to have specific neural pain killers prescribed by your consultant or GP to assist with pain control.
CRPS symptoms vary in severity and duration, although some cases are mild and eventually go away. In more severe cases, individuals may not recover and may have long-term disability. (NIH)
Physiotherapy for CRPS according to the NIH. ‘Rehabilitation and physical therapy. An exercise program to keep the painful limb or body part moving can improve blood flow and lessen the circulatory symptoms. Additionally, exercise can help improve the affected limb’s flexibility, strength, and function. Rehabilitating the affected limb also can help to prevent or reverse the secondary brain changes that are associated with chronic pain.‘
The RSDSA give excellent advice on the treatment of CRPS/RSD here.