What is CRPS?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a term for a variety of clinical conditions characterized by chronic persistent pain, and can be subdivided into Type I and Type II CRPS. It is a condition that may develop after a limb trauma, and appears primarily in one or more limbs. CRPS can be considered a regional post-traumatic neuropathic pain problem and like other neuropathic pain disorders, symptoms are a disproportionate consequence of painful trauma or nerve lesion.

It has been found that physical therapy and occupational therapy are effective in reducing pain and increasing function in patients who have had CRPS for less than 1 year[5]. Physiotherapy focuses on patient education of CRPS and functional activities. Physiotherapy intervention includes any of the following:

  • Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy.
  • Aquatic therapy: allows activities to be performed with decreased weight bearing on the lower extremities.
  • Mirror therapy or mirror visual feedback: involves placing both hands into a box with a mirror separating the two compartments and, while moving both hands, watching the reflection of the unaffected hand in the mirror.
  • Graded motor imagery/learning: consists of recognition of hand laterality and imagined hand movement.
  • Therapeutic exercise including isometric strength training, stretching, and fine motor control.
  • Desensitization therapy.
  • Gradual weight bearing.

This treatment is based on basic principles of pain management (pain and symptom relief, supportive care, and rehabilitation). If you have been diagnosed with CRPS or believe you may be suffering from it, contact our clinic at 905-777-9838 to book an assessment with one of our Registered Physiotherapists.