For some unfortunate Illinois workers, they not only end up with an injury, but also with a serious long term problem that they had never previously heard of.  This is true for people who have complex regional pain syndrome or CRPS.

In these cases, the pain is out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury/event, i.e., debilitating pain follows a minor injury. What causes CRPS isn’t fully understood, but it is thought to be caused by “an injury to or an abnormality of the peripheral and central nervous systems,” according to the Mayo Clinic website.

CRPS Type 1 is also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy or RSD. Type 1 occurs after an injury or illness that did not directly damage the nerves in the affected limb. Type 1 is much more common than Type 2. About 90% of people with CRPS have Type 1.

CRPS Type 2 was referred to as causalgia in the past. Unlike Type 1, Type 2 occurs after a distinct nerve injury.

Characteristics of CRPS Type 1 include:

  • Burning pain, usually starting a few weeks after the injury.
  • Touching or moving the skin will make the pain worse.
  • Increased temperature of the skin and increased sweating, but later the skin constricts and the extremity feels cold.
  • Atrophy of the skin, soft tissue, and bone as the syndrome progresses.
  • Hair and nail growth slows.
  • Pain persists indefinitely if not treated.
  • Complications include suicide and drug abuse.

Characteristics of CRPS Type 2 include:

  • Burning pain, starting immediately after the injury or months later.
  • Light touch, movement, and change in exercise and stress will make the pain worse.
  • Cool, clammy skin that is red in color and sweaty; there is lack of sensation and motor skills in the area of the damaged nerve.
  • Atrophy of the appendages, bones, joints and muscles.
  • Sounds or bright lights can trigger intense pain.
  • Risk of suicide and drug abuse if left untreated.

Whether you are suffering from CRPS Type 1 or Type 2, if the initial injury or surgery was a result of an incident you suffered on the job, it’s part of your Illinois workers’ compensation claim. These cases get fought a lot because they are often not curable and some doctors will say that the pain isn’t as bad as you are alleging. So it’s important to have an attorney in your corner who has experience winning CRPS cases and fighting for their clients.

If you would like to speak to an experienced attorney for free about your injury and CRPS, please contact us any time. We are based out of Chicago, but help with cases all throughout Illinois and you won’t have to travel to work with us.