What are the signs and symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type I?

Updated: Jun 20, 2018
  • Author: Gaurav Gupta, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Symptoms of CRPS type I include the following:

  • Spontaneous pain: Pain that is not limited to the territory of a single peripheral nerve is the cardinal feature of CRPS. The pain's character can be burning (occurring most often), aching, throbbing, or tingling. The pain is aggravated by activity of the affected extremity, and its severity is typically disproportionate to the inciting event.

  • Difficulty/inability in using the affected extremity

  • Neglect-like symptoms: These include cognitive neglect, in which the limb may feel foreign, and motor neglect, in which directed mental and visual attention are needed to move the limb.

  • Altered skin temperature: This is often noted as a difference in skin temperature between affected and unaffected limbs. At onset, the affected extremity is warmer in two thirds of cases and colder in one-third. Many patients report a history of warmer extremities at onset and colder extremities later in the evolution of the disease. Some authors distinguish between primarily cold reflex sympathetic dystrophy and primarily warm reflex sympathetic dystrophy.

  • Rapid fatigability: This is almost invariably present in the later stages.

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