By Lou Cutrone
There can be no injury more painful or more terrible than Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS,) formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD.) This injury was first identified during the American Civil War when soldiers with wounds for which there should no longer be symptoms, were found to be in permanent, excruciating pain. Doctors at the time believed the condition was related to nerve damage but could not identify the cause nor could they find a cure.
Over the years the medical community has come to recognize CRPS as a definite, diagnosable medical condition, but little has developed by way of treatment. Pain management is generally the only course, leaving the patient heavily drugged or in permanent and unbearable pain. CRPS patients do not have many choices, and most can no longer work or carry on basic social interactions. Many live as shut-ins who are socially isolated. Relationships suffer and often break under the stain of constant pain and suffering. Some CRPS patients attempt or commit suicide. CRPS/RSD is that bad and yet, so many doctors, lawyers and other professionals are reluctant to acknowledge this horrendous injury.
CRPS usually affects an extremity such as the foot, hand, arm or leg, but can also afflict the torso and head.CRPS patients describe a terrible burning sensation as if lighter fluid had been poured over a body part, ignited and left to burn. The pain goes on and on until high doses of narcotic pain medications are taken or administered. On the Miller Scale, a recognized indication of pain levels, CRPS ranks 48 out of 50 and is considered as painful as amputation of a limb without anesthesia or child birth.
CRPS is almost always caused by an initial trauma such as a slip and fall, an auto accident, being hit or struck or being injured by a defective product. CRPS can also be caused by surgery or other medical treatment done wrong, otherwise known as medical malpractice. One of the key identifiers of CRPS is that the pain that persists and grows worse far exceeds what would be expected for the injury sustained. There are often changes in skin color and temperature and hair growth over the affected area. So sensitive is the afflicted body part, that the mere touching with a feather can ignite waves and waves of searing pain. Often times clothing cannot be worn over the afflicted body part. Many researchers explain CRPS as the body’s natural inflammatory healing processes out of control, with inflammation continuing and exacerbating long after the initial injury has resolved. To date, there is no known cure for CRPS/RSD.
* Burning Pain that is Severe and Chronic
* Increased Skin Sensitivity; pain upon slight touch or clothing contact
* Changes in skin Temperature: warmer or cooler compared to the opposite extremity
* Changes in Skin Color: often blotchy, purple, pale or red
* Changes in Skin Texture: shiny and thin, sometimes excessively sweaty
* Changes in Nail and Hair Growth Patterns
* Swelling and Stiffness in Affected Joint
* Motor Disability, decreased ability to move affected body part
The well trained and compassionate lawyers at Cutrone & Associates are experienced in dealing with accident victims suffering with CRPS/RSD. Most lawyers, indeed many doctors, are not sufficiently familiar with CRPS and are quick to dismiss a patient’s suffering as “malingering” or “all in his or her mind.” This only adds to the victims already unbearable suffering, leaving them no where to turn for help.
The legal team at Cutrone & Associates knows, having worked with CRPS victims that the pain is real, terrible and unbearable. We work with the very best medical doctors, pain management specialists, acupuncturists, psychotherapists, life care planners and expert witnesses to help CRPS victims get the treatment they deperately need and all the financial compensation they deserve.
If you or a loved one has been stricken with CRPS/RSD following an accident, please call the experts at Cutrone & Associates for a free case evaluation and consultation. We will do all we can to help you regain your life. We understand the level of pain you are in. We believe you and we want to help.