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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a nervous system malfunction and a chronic condition where a person feels pain in one or more of their limbs after an injury.

If you have recently had an injury and find that you are having pain in one or more of your limbs, there is a chance you are at risk for CRPS.

CRPS usually affects the arms or legs after injury or incident. These two specific extremities are the typical areas that CRPS could impact. It most often occurs after an injury or incident like stroke, heart attack or surgical procedure.

“They way that I explain this to my patients is that when you touch the stove, you get a little shock that goes from your finger to your brain that tells you to stop, your about to burn your finger,” says Dr. Rodolfo Gari, “with CRPS, instead of telling you to stop, the pain goes into a loop from your finger to your spinal cord and becomes constant.”


Treatment is Crucial

As time goes on untreated, you will be at an increased risk of not putting CRPS into remission. Receiving treatment as soon as possible will give you better chances of treatment. Pay attention to your symptoms and do not ignore the signs of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.


Symptoms of CRPS

As soon as you recognize CRPS symptoms, seeking help right away is essential for treatment and recovery. A specialist can help you manage the symptoms, relieve the pain and keep the condition from getting worse.

“With some patients,” says Dr. Gari, “even breathing or a slight touch to the skin can be so painful.”

The symptoms may include:

  • Constant feeling of burning or throbbing in the affected limb, typically your leg, arm, foot or hand
  • Swelling in the affected limb
  • Your limb may change temperature from hot to cold and back
  • The limb may be sensitive to old temperatures or being touched
  • Your joints may swell or feel stiff
  • Difficulty moving the affected limb
  • Your skin tone may change, turning mottled or shades of red or blue
  • Your skin may also have texture changes, becoming thinner, more tender or shiny
  • The affected limb may have changes in nail and hair growth
  • You may experience muscle spasms or atrophy

Keep in mind, symptoms can vary depending on the affected person, but the sensitivity and pain may occur first. The important thing is to seek help from a doctor as soon as possible.


Why Fast Treatment is Critical

If treatment is not given within a certain amount of time after the injury, changes in skin color may occur at a point when your condition has become irreversible.

There is a possibility of CRPS going away on its own if the pain and symptoms are not too severe and do not worsen. However, CRPS could possibly spread from the affected limb to another part of your body, such as another limb.

CRPS pain could worsen with signs of stress, so even if the condition has you feeling stressed, try to stay calm and simply get the help you need.

The medical team at Physician Partners of America can help you find the right treatment plan, and get your CRPS symptoms under control before they get worse.


Cindy: Complex regional pain syndrome, it doesn’t that like something that anyone would want to deal with. It is also called CRPS.This chronic pain condition can wreak havoc on your body. Doctor Rudy Gari from Florida Pain Relief Group joins us now to fill us in on what this is. Great to have you back.

Dr. Gari: Thank you.

Cindy: Complex regional pain syndrome sounds awful. What is it?

Dr. Gari: Yes, it does. And the reason why it is called complex regional pain syndrome is because it’s just that, it’s complex. This is something that has been going on Cindy, for a very long time. In fact, this goes all the way back in the Civil War. We have documented case studies of soldiers who actually had so much pain in their arm that they wanted to cut their arms off.

Cindy: Oh, okay.

Dr. Gari: It used to be called something called causalgia, it was called the reflex sympathetic dystrophy. The term that is used right now is called complex regional pain syndrome and what that really is, if you think about it, think about if you get pain in your hand or your arms, anywhere. Normally, that pain shoots up your brain and it stops. What happens with complex regional pain syndrome is that it becomes a vicious cycle. So the pain keeps going in circles, keeps going in circles and it never stops.

Cindy: Any particular area of the body that you see it most often?

Dr. Gari: It usually affects the extremities. It affects the arms, it affects the legs, it can actually spread, but the good thing Cindy is there’s a lot of things that we can do to help complex regional pain syndrome. One of the first things is that the earlier that we see it the better. And so it often travels through these nerves called sympathetic nerves. So what we do is what we call sympathetic blockade. We want to stop that seizure and that pain constantly going in circles but it’s a certain specialized field in medicine they use, physicians like myself, I’m an anesthesiologist, I’ve been treating this for many, many years and I’ve actually had great success. So there’s blocks, there’s something called sponcra [SP] stimulators and the earlier that we treat this the better it is for our patients.

Cindy: How often do you see somebody coming in with complex regional pain syndrome?

Dr. Gari: I just saw a patient this morning.

Cindy: Really?

Dr. Gari: This patient has horrendous, horrendous leg pain and has all kinds of issues going on. Not just nerve pain it affects his vascular system and the pain is never ending. She’s has unfortunately, has this for many, many years.

Cindy: Oh gosh. Well, she doesn’t have to live with it for any more years, right?

Dr. Gari: No, no. We have her on a plan.

Cindy: What are you able to do for her? What are you going to do?

Dr. Gari: So what we do is we can give her some medications probably to help with that pain. We’re gonna go after and try to stop that seizure if you will of the pain syndrome, blocks and we’re considering a sponcro stimulator as well.

Cindy: So get to the source, right?

Dr. Gari: Absolutely, absolutely.

Cindy: Instead of just you know, treating the…

Dr. Gari: It can be cured.

Cindy: It can?

Dr. Gari: It can be cured, yes.

Cindy: Okay. So when is it time to come see you? When they feel like this is something that has been going on with them?

Dr. Gari: The sooner the better, the sooner the better. Have seen someone like myself because we can treat you in those things that we can do.

Cindy: So, usually fingers, legs, any…

Dr. Gari: Fingers, arms. It’s usually the arms or hands or legs. It usually begins as something as mild as just bumping into the wall somewhere that can cause, like, a seizure which will just continue, where we have to stop that vicious cycle.

Cindy: It goes on and on and on. Okay, good stuff Dr. Gari, that’s really good news for so many people. Florida Pain Relief Group has scheduled same day appointments so be sure to visit their website. It is or you can give them a call at 844-KICK-PAIN. Doctor, always good to see you. Thank you very much.

Dr. Gari: My pleasure.

Cindy: We’ll be right back.

Dr. Gari: Thank you.

Get relief from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in Tampa

The pain that is associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or CRPS, can be debilitating and have a significant impact on an individuals quality of life.

Throughout her career, Tampa pain specialist Dr. Carissa Stone has treated patients whose pain levels were preventing them from being able to live their lives to the fullest.

But what causes CRPS?

“CRPS develops for unknown reasons and is a syndrome of findings with no other explainable cause,” said Dr. Stone.

Symptoms of CRPS can include temperature changes to a limb, pain when touching skin, pain or weakness in extremities with no motor damage,  and color changes to extremities with no vascular problems

“Usually doctors rule most other conditions out first because there used to be no treatment for CRPS,” Dr. Stone said.

CRPS is more common in women and the incidence of CRPS highest in women between the ages of 60-70, but all age groups can get it and there is no specific known cause at this time.

There are various options available for treating CRPS at our Tampa pain relief centers.

“Treatment options include the use of topical creams; neuropathic medications; sympathetic blocks and bier block injections; aggressive physical therapy to avoid disuse atrophy; desensitization treatment; and ketamine infusion therapy, Dr. Stone said.

In addition to these treatment options, Dr. Stone is also on the cutting edge of treatment options. She is currently involved in a new study into the effectiveness of the use if Intravenous Neridronic Acid for treating CRPS.

CRPS: Recently Dr. Rodolfo Gari, Medical Director of Florida Pain Relief Group in Tampa, appeared on WFLA’s mid-day program called “DayTime” to talk about the symptoms and treatments related to CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

Dr. Gari discusses the history of of the syndrome, going back to documented instances of chronic pain experienced by soldiers during the Civil War.

What makes CRPS unique is that the condition is a vicious cycle of chronic pain never reaches the brain and ends; rather, it goes in circles and never stops.

The pain specialists in Tampa with Florida Pain Relief Group have years of experience successfully treating patients who suffer from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. You can schedule an appointment at our Tampa pain relief center locations in Tampa today.

Watch the video here:

Spinal Cord Stimulation: For patients who suffer from chronic pain in their limbs, neck and trunk, the options for pain relief can be limited. For some, pain medication works. But for others the effect is negligible and more aggressive treatment is required.

Among those treatment options that are available is what’s called Spinal Cord Stimulation.

“The spinal cord stimulator is an invasive implantable device for the treatment of chronic intractable pain in the limbs, neck Spinal Cord Stimulation,” said Dr. Jorge Leal, a Tampa pain specialist with Florida Pain Relief Group.

The Spinal Cord Stimulator process, a form of neurostimulation, is done by applying an electrical current to the source of pain creating a tranquil sensation that blocks the brain’s ability to sense perceived pain.

“I tell the patients that it works by ‘fooling’ the brain into believing that there is no pain,” Dr. Leal said. “First, a trial is performed and if successful, a permanent unit is implanted.”

This procedure is one that is commonly done for patients suffering from failed back surgery or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

“It is a last resort effort designed to treat pain that has not responded to conventional therapies, nerve blocks, etc. It is commonly described as a ‘pacemaker’ to the spinal cord,” Dr. Leal said.

In order to qualify for the procedure, a patient must first undergo a psychological evaluation.

Our Tampa pain specialists at Tampa pain relief center locations in East Tampa, North Tampa, and Carrollwood are experienced with the effective use of spinal cord stimulation to treat chronic pain. Schedule an appointment today.