Overview

What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) syndrome, is a chronic pain condition that often occurs in the arms or legs after an injury. CRPS causes the body to react abnormally to even a minor injury, leading to worsened pain over time.

Specialists think nerve damage may be a cause of CRPS. Nerve endings may become extra sensitive to the sympathetic nervous system's chemical messengers and can stimulate pain even when it is unnecessary.

CRPS most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 40 to 60 years, however, it does occur in younger people as well.

Northwestern Medicine Functional Neurosurgery Program
The Functional Neurosurgery Program specialists at Northwestern Memorial Hospital work in integrated teams to provide patients with a multidisciplinary approach to their care, including:

  • Assessment by a fellowship-trained neurologist in movement disorders and epilepsy
  • Comprehensive pharmacological therapy
  • Neurosurgical evaluations for deep brain stimulation (DBS), epilepsy surgery, pain surgery, intrathecal medication infusion and other therapeutic procedures
  • The opportunity to participate in clinical research trials
  • Physical, occupational, and speech therapy through Northwestern Memorial Hospital in conjunction with the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  • Social work services: consultation, counseling, support groups, and access to community services and resources
  • Educational programs
  • Learning materials: books, videos, audiotapes, and internet resources
  • Neuropsychology services

Northwestern Medicine Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic
The Northwestern Medicine Peripheral Neuropathy Clinic at Northwestern Memorial Hospital was established in 2009 with support from the Foundation for Peripheral Neuropathy. We employ a multidisciplinary approach in which specially trained personnel provide diagnostic, treatment, rehabilitative and supportive services. Clinics are held on a weekly basis.

The board-certified neurologists at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital are trained in the diagnosis and treatment of nervous system disorders, including diseases of the brain, spinal cord, nerves and muscles. They diagnose and treat patients with a full range of neurological disorders, including muscular dystrophy.