This complication can occasionally follow surgery or injury to the limbs. The nerves within the affected limb appear to demonstrate an exaggerated response to the injury, that is to say that the limb is often more sensitive, swollen and painful than would be expected, in the short term. In the longer term the limb can become very stiff.
CRPS has previously been referred to by various names including Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, Sudek’s Atrophy and Shoulder-hand syndrome. The term Complex Regional Pain syndrome however has been used since 1991.
There are two types. The first follows an injury or surgery and the second as a result of injury to a nerve.