Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) Claims
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CRPS Lawyers for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Compensation Claims

Also known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is caused by an injury to the sympathetic nerves, resulting in severe pain. The condition can be catastrophic, permanent, and disabling. 

There is no known cure for CRPS, although it is said that about 50% of patients can get better spontaneously. As leading CRPS lawyers, we specialize in many CRPS cases, working on behalf of our clients to get them the CRPS compensation they’re owed. 

No Win No Fee CRPS Claims

Brian Barr Solicitors are a firm supporter of and work closely with Burning Nights CRPS, a national UK charity working to improve life for those affected by Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Unfortunately CRPS affects many people in the UK and can cause them to experience persistent, severe and debilitating pain. When you live with a chronic illness, it is important to access support from those who really understand your condition.

Contact Brian Barr’s specialist CRPS Solicitors today to assess your case, and get legal support for your compensation claim.

How to Claim CRPS Compensation

At Brian Barr Solicitors, we understand how devastating CRPS can be and how much it can impact your everyday life, which is why we are dedicated to achieving the best possible results for our clients. When you’re in constant pain, every aspect of your life is affected; your sense of wellbeing that everyone deserves diminishes, relationships are tested, friends seem to disappear and carrying out every day tasks now seems impossible – especially when nobody seems to understand your pain and struggle. Pain is invisible and the brave face needed to cope with each and every day doesn’t show the internal suffering to others, with many CRPS sufferers reporting that many doctors are slow to diagnose and therefore treat chronic pain. But here at Brian Barr Solicitors, we understand your pain and how it has been affecting your life, which is why we will work to get you the maximum possible compensation for your CRPS claim. We have a database of leading medico-legal experts whose understanding of CRPS is second to none, including consultants in pain medicine and psychiatrists who can diagnose conditions, give prognoses and effect of the condition, allowing them to establish appropriate treatment options. We also have access to experts in care who can recommend adjustments, aids and equipment to help you to live as comfortably as possible with CRPS. Additionally, if your home is no longer suitable for your needs, we will instruct an accommodation expert who can recommend adaptations to your home, or, in some cases, a new home. We will also instruct the leading barristers who have the knowledge and expertise needed to present your case in the best possible light.

How Much Compensation Can I Get for a CRPS Claim?

Personal injury claims involving CRPS can often attract a large sum in compensation. Personal injury compensation is calculated based on the severity of the injury and the impact it has on the individual’s life, meaning the value of the claim can vary greatly from one case to another, from less than £500k to more than £4 million.

The injury aspect is compensated with an award for pain, suffering and loss of amenity (PSLA). The guideline for this has been set by the Judicial College. The other aspects of the damages award is compensation for financial losses and expenses that occur due to the negligence, which can include loss of earnings, aids and equipment and medical treatment and care.

The reason why CRPS claims can vary so much for person to person is due to the fact that each of these heads of claims are calculated on a case-by-case basis. For example, a younger person in a high-paying job, who will be unable to ever return to work and require hours of care due to negligence, will receive a high award of damages as their life has been impacted significantly for a long period. However, someone who is close to retirement in a low-paying job, where the negligence will impact a shorter time frame, will receive a lower award of damages for the same injury.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, (formerly known as Begum Syndrome and also Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), is a chronic and progressive condition which affects many people around the UK and across the world. The condition, often abbreviated to CRPS, is characterised by complex regional pain and in most instances it is triggered by an injury and the pain felt is out of proportion with the injury.

Complex pain syndrome usually affects a single limb but sometimes spreads into other parts of the body. It can affect every part of the limb in question from the skin to the joints and often CRPS syndrome manifests in feeling extreme pain even when the slightest touch or movement is felt.

The CRPS UK doctors treat is often caused by traumatic incidents such as car accidents or slips, trips and falls, with the resulting injury developing into CRPS or related pain syndrome conditions for no known reason.

The definition of CRPS has changed regularly through the years and there are now two separate recognised types:

  • Type I – often known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy and shows no evidence of nerve lesions
  • Type II – often known as causalgia and has clear evidence of nerve lesions and damage

Complex regional pain syndrome can cause a wide range of symptoms and lead to a loss of mobility and many things which make getting on with day to day life quite difficult. Doctors may carry out a wide range of tests before you receive a diagnosis of CRPS but in the end, having the right diagnosis leads to the right treatment.

The outlook for people living with CRPS is entirely dependent upon the individual case, as no two cases are the same. Some people find the condition settles within a number of weeks whilst others have to accept it is a lifelong syndrome and something they will learn to live with. The treatment programmes for CRPS also vary greatly and often include pain relief, physiotherapy and self-management and lifestyle changes. Some individuals may also require psychological support which many doctors will make a referral for.

Anyone can develop CRPS following an accident or injury but it is unknown why some people go on to develop the condition following trauma while others will go on to make a full recovery. Many cases of CRPS occur after a forceful trauma to a limb from incidents such as road traffic accidents, but, more rarely, it can be caused by heart attacks, surgery and infections. The exact cause of the disorder is still unknown. It is thought to be caused by an injury or dysfunction in the central or peripheral nervous systems causing those suffering from CRPS to experience severe pain.

It is also believed by some that the symptoms are too complex to be as a result of one factor and that CRPS is caused by several different conditions. It has also been suggested that genes may play a role in who develops CRPS after an injury or trauma. 

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.

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

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
Muscle spasms
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

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
Stiff joints
Weakened muscles

Stage Three

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
Muscle wasting
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.

CRPS comes in two forms referred to commonly as CRPS Type 1 and CRPS Type 2.

CRPS Type 1 was formerly known as Reflexive Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome or RSD, although most people, especially medical professionals will now call RSD CRPS as this is the universally accepted term.

According to Mayo Clinic, 90% of all sufferers of CRPS are diagnosed with CRPS Type 1 and is it different from Type 2 as it occurs after an illness or injury that didn’t cause any direct damage to the nerves in the affected limb.

CRPS Type 1 is particularly difficult to diagnose as there is no damage to the nerves and usually no damage to the bone and little damage to the tissue. The pain is out of proportion to the accident or injury that occurred and the main symptoms are usually allodynia, continuing pain, and hyperalgesia, disproportionate pain to touch, movement or pressure.

Testing for CRPS Type 1 includes a wide range of scans and tests which doctors can organise, most of which are used to rule out other conditions to reach a diagnosis of this syndrome. Blood tests, MRI scans and further examination including nerve conditioning testing may be organised and carried out before a diagnosis is made.

CRPS Type 2 is different to Type 1 because of the tangible nerve injury which can be found and also because the pain doesn’t migrate from the original site. CRPS Type 2 is caused by a trauma to a large nerve in one of the limbs, usually in the peripheral nervous system. CRPS Type 2 can be caused by a simple injury or something more traumatic such as a car accident or a fall from height. The disease progresses over time and can result in loss of movement and mobility in the affected limb, alongside increased pain. CRPS Type 2 pain is known to become resistant to painkillers over time.

Symptoms of CRPS Type 2 include the burning pain already mentioned as well as sweating, discolouration to the skin in the affected area and hyperalgesia, extreme pain felt from disproportionate action such as light touch, pressure or movement.

CRPS Type 2 can also change the rate at which hair and nails grow and it’s also more common that the joints in the affected area may seize up or spasm.

There are no specific tests for CRPS Type 2 and like Type 1 it is mainly diagnosed through symptoms, by professional doctors and specialists who may carry out a range of tests such as MRI scans and blood tests, to rule out other conditions rather than pinpoint CRPS.

The characteristic symptom of CRPS is pain. Commonly described as a burning, intense pain specific to a single location on one of the body’s limbs, it is a pain which is out of proportion to the severity of the injury or the trauma which had occurred. CRPS pain is chronic, often getting worse over time rather than improving and often leads to the development of further symptoms. The symptoms and their severity vary from person to person and may change.

Some of the common symptoms include:

  • Extreme sensitivity to pain that is out of proportion to the injury or trauma
  • Excessive or prolonged pain after contact- as the affected area has increased sensitivity, even light contact can cause extreme pain
  • Continuous pain that gets worse over time
  • Experiencing pain from something that shouldn’t be painful such as a light touch or a change in temperature
  • Changes in skin, hair and nails – skin may become blotchy, dry or scaly, nails crack and can become grooved or brittle, and hair often becomes thin
  • A decrease in range of motion of the affected limb or limbs
  • Stiffness of limbs
  • Insomnia- difficulty sleeping
  • Changes in skin temperature- the affected limb may feel warmer or cooler than the opposite limb
  • Changes in skin texture
  • Tremors and muscle spasms
  • Stiffness and swelling of the affected joints

The symptoms that usually occur first are pain, swelling, changes in temperature and hypersensitivity. The condition is irreversible and may spread to other limbs in the body, but, with a combination of medicine and other treatments, most people experience a reduction in their pain within a few years.

Sometimes, although rarely, CRPS can cause complications, including ulcers and skin infections, muscle atrophy and muscle contractures in which the muscles shorten causing loss of movement. 

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a poorly understood condition in which a person experiences persistent severe and debilitating pain.

It is difficult to estimate exactly how common CRPS is, as many cases may go undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It can begin at any age, including childhood. This being said, however, the average age for symptoms to start is around 50-years-old, with 3 out of 4 sufferers reported to be women.

There is no known cure for CRPS, however, a combination of physical treatments, medication and psychological support can help to manage symptoms.

Some of the main treatments used to treat CRPS are outlined below.

  • Medication
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • Sympathetic nerve block
  • Mirror visual feedback and graded imagery
  • Physical rehabilitation
  • Pain management
  • Self-management

*Please note, this information should not be taken as medical advice. Brian Barr Solicitors are not medical experts, therefore, this page is for information purposes only.

If you’re looking for more information about how to cover the cost of your CRPS compensation claim, then explore our funding options below. 

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Brian Barr Solicitors are a leading CRPS lawyer firm, particularly in cases where CRPS has been caused by an injury. We know how debilitating the condition can be and will assist with claims for Total Permanent Disability under Critical Illness Policies or Accident Protection Policies. Additionally, if you had an accident and your solicitor advised you to settle for too little, we may have a remedy.

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