In America, millions suffer from the effects of complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS.
The effects of CRPS are often debilitating and can be irreversible. In over 90 percent of diagnosed cases, the condition is clearly linked to a trauma or injury. Frequently, this trauma or injury is the result of the negligent acts of others. In spite of this, many suffering from CRPS are hesitant to pursue litigation. If you or a loved one has suffered or is suffering from the effects of CRPS, you may be eligible for compensation.
Formally known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (or RSD), complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition that can be extremely difficult to diagnose. Though most who suffer from CRPS are women aged 20 to 40, it can happen to anyone at any time. The intense symptoms associated with the condition stem from overactivity of the sympathetic nervous system as a result of trauma, surgery or an unknown cause.
There are two types of CRPS; while both types manifest similar symptoms, they differ in cause. Type I is random and not linked to nerve damage in the affected area. Type II is triggered by an illness or injury and is clearly linked to nerve damage in the affected area. The vast majority of diagnosed CRPS cases fall into the latter category. Both types are only known to affect arms, legs, hands and/or feet.
At the onset of the condition, the sympathetic nervous system sends an inflammatory response to the affected area, resulting in swelling and redness. Most of those affected realize that there is a problem when the pain experienced is disproportionate to the trauma suffered or when the discomfort and swelling do not go away after their initial injury has healed.
The first stage of CRPS typically lasts one to three months. During stage one, those suffering with CRPS may experience pain, burning, increased sensitivity, spasms, stiffness in the joint or increased hair and nail growth in the affected area.
Stage two lasts three to six months from the onset. During this time period, individuals with CRPS may notice worsening pain, swelling and joint stiffness in the affected area as well as skin discoloration and muscle wasting. As the disease progresses, these individuals may also begin to experience short-term memory loss, an inability to concentrate and linguistic difficulties.
Stage three can span indefinitely. Without treatment, the disease will worsen and can result in decreased joint movement or immobility and bony deformities. In the affected area, the skin may become cool and shiny and may begin to waste away. Pain in the hand, foot, arm or leg can become so severe that a light touch or vibration is excruciating. Many changes to the body during this period are irreversible.
CRPS can have a significant and far-reaching impact on the individual’s quality of life. The constant pain can negatively impact one’s ability to work, sleep, exercise and enjoy life.
The disease can impact interpersonal relations as well. If the pain becomes overwhelming, those suffering with CRPS may not be able to touch their loved ones. Medical expenses and loss of ability to work can put a significant strain on marriages and familial relationships. Chronic pain and memory loss render many irritable and anxious. Furthermore, many individuals with CRPS become isolated, depressed and hopeless from the prospect of suffering from this painful and incurable disease.
CRPS Type II is the result of a trauma/injury. Examples may include burns, sprains or fractures, surgeries and injections. In certain cases, these triggering injuries are the result of third-party negligence; under these circumstances, CRPS patients may be entitled to recover damages.
Many men and women suffering from CRPS are hesitant to pursue litigation because of the difficulty in diagnosing injuries and establishing causation. Though CRPS-related lawsuits do pose unique and challenging obstacles, an experienced attorney will be able to collaborate with your doctors and other medical experts to determine liability and pursue just compensation for your injuries.
At Rehmeyer & Allatt, we understand that CRPS can be an all-consuming and life-altering disease. Those suffering from CRPS may think that pursuing a lawsuit will require undertaking undue stress and frustration. It is attorney Andrew Rehmeyer’s mission to relieve you of the burden and fight to get you the compensation you deserve.