What causes CRPS to spread?


This blog was written thanks to the expertise of our team, including Alex Cohen, Philip Cohen and Steven Akerman, leading experts in compensation claims for chronic pain and serious injury.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a greater than normal reaction of the body to an injury. It is a poorly understood condition in which a person experiences persistent and debilitating pain that is extremely severe. In this blog, we take a closer look at the condition and discover what causes CRPS to spread.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition. Although most cases are triggered by an injury, the resulting pain is much more severe and long-lasting than normal. It causes intense pain, usually in the arms, legs, hands or feet. The main cause of CRPS is unknown, therefore, there is no cure. Many cases gradually improve to some degree over time, however, some cases of CRPS never disappear completely, leaving the affected person to experience pain for many years.

One of the first and most commonly asked questions about CRPS is does it spread? The simple answer to that is, yes. Usually, CRPS starts out in one limb, moving to another originally uninvolved limb or another part of the body. In most cases, CRPS will stay on the same side of the body – right arm, to right leg – or spread to an opposite limb – right arm, to left arm. Although it is rare, CRPs can occasionally spread across the body diagonally – right arm, to left leg.

Anything can cause a spread for a CRPS patient. The reasons why remain unclear. As a result, care needs to be taken each time any procedure is required, such as an operation, dental work or even giving blood.

Unfortunately, it would appear the risk of a spread increases with every limb that is affected. Spreads are not only limited to limbs, as it can affect any part of the body. This can include:

  • All internal organs
  • Face
  • Mouth
  • Back (especially when undergoing surgery for a spinal cord stimulator)
  • Eyes
  • Neck
  • Genitals
  • Breasts
  • Abdomen

Highly simplified – if it has a nerve, CRPS can spread to it.

In a small number of cases, thought to be 8% or less, CRPS has spread to the entire body. More common is for CRPS to spread to an entire limb. For example, an original injury may have occurred in a finger, but CRPS has encompassed the entire limb. This is referred to as contiguous spread.

Although there is no known cure for CRPS, a combination of physical treatments, medication, and psychological support can help and there is plenty of advice available for those living with chronic pain.

To find out whether or not you may be entitled to complex regional pain syndrome compensation, get in touch with our expert team here at Brian Barr by calling us for free on 0808 123 0003 or click here to contact us through our online form.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

To learn more about our success stories, and get the legal support of leading specialists in the field, call us on 0161 737 9248.

Meet the team

Steven Akerman

Steven Akerman

Personal Injury Solicitor &
Director, Brian Barr

Alex Cohen

Alex Cohen

Personal Injury Solicitor &
Director, Brian Barr

Philip Cohen

Philip Cohen

Director, Brian Barr

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