Old Names, Same Disease: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Old Names, Same Disease: Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Causalgia, minor causalgia, algodystrophy, sudeck’s atrophy, shoulderhand syndrome, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy are all old names for the same disease: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

Why so many? Most of these names came about before there was much known about the disease. There was an absence of research and a poor understanding of the cause of the painful symptoms.  CRPS has also been dubbed the most excruciating chronic pain condition that exists, and the burning sensation it causes is where the name ‘causalgia’, arose.

This variety of nomenclature (official scientific names) has unfortunately made it quite difficult for those diagnosed with CRPS to access the information and resources they need!

Whatever you choose to call CRPS, though, one thing is for certain: it isn’t common. It has been classified as a “rare disease” by the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). This means that there may be less than 200,000 people with complex regional pain syndrome in the entire United States.

CRPS is so uncommon that even well-educated physicians aren’t familiar enough with its signs and symptoms to make an accurate diagnosis. Consequently, many people who are diagnosed with (or love someone diagnosed with) CRPS simply don’t understand what it is.

Even individuals who are familiar with the name of the condition often don’t realize that there are currently two different classifications that a patient with CRPS may fall into.

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II

How could they? It has taken even the world’s best scientists several decades just to agree on what to call it!

Research concerning complex regional pain syndrome research has been lacking in the past. Although many organizations- Injury Care Research included- are making their best effort to raise CRPS awareness, but there is more work to be done.

To help increase CRPS awareness in our corner of the world, Injury Care Research will be releasing a series of blog articles covering common questions patients and their families have, such as:

  • What is CRPS?
  • How did my doctor come to a CRPS diagnosis?
  • How is CRPS treated?
  • Will there ever be a cure for CRPS?
  • Will my CRPS ever go away?
  • Will drug therapy for CRPS make me an addict?
  • Where can I learn more about my condition?
  • What research is being conducted to help end CRPS?

And perhaps, depending on YOUR response, others.

We ask that you share these articles with friends and family on social media to start a conversation about complex regional pain syndrome and aid us in our search for a more effective treatment method for this dreadful disease.