Complex Regional Pain Syndrome After a Car Accident

Complex Regional Pain SyndromeComplex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is an inflammatory condition that generally develops after a traumatic nerve injury. Symptoms are debilitating, causing persistent and intense pain for an extended time.

It is not clear why some people develop CRPS while others with similar injuries do not. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH) in more than 90 percent of cases, CRPS is associated with nerve damage in the affected limb, specifically affecting the thinnest nerves responsible for transmitting pain, temperature and itch sensations. These nerves also help maintain the health of nearby cells and small blood vessels.

This condition often occurs after an injury or trauma, consistent with those common in a car accident. Understanding this condition and its causes can help Kansas City residents who recently suffered a traumatic injury to recover properly, as this condition can develop during the recovery process of many types of injuries.

What are common car accident injuries that cause CRPS?

Car accidents can result in various injuries to the victim’s nerves that may lead to the development of CRPS. As noted above, CRPS does not necessarily begin immediately at the time of a traumatic injury. The NIH cites the following instances as common causes of CRPS:

  • Fractures: Injured nerves can occur when a bone becomes displaced or splintered. According to the Mayo Clinic, wrist fractures are particularly susceptible to the onset of CRPS. The Mayo Clinic also suggests taking high doses of vitamin C after sustaining any fracture to reduce the chances of CRPS.
  • Sprains and strains: Sprains and strains resulting from a car accident can also contribute to the onset of CRPS. Connective tissue ruptures or the trauma itself can permit excessive movement of a joint, leading to the stretching and injury of nearby nerves.
  • Burns or cuts: More common in motorcycle accidents, injuries like road rash, deep cuts and burns can also occur in a car accident, depending on the point of impact and where the victim’s body is thrown. Cuts and burns can damage underlying nerves, potentially triggering CRPS. Severe cases of road rash, where the victim’s body scrapes against the road after they are thrown from their vehicle, can cause nerve damage, ultimately leading to CRPS.
  • Surgery and recovery: Surgery can also contribute to the development of CRPS. Incisions, sutures and post-operative scarring can all cause nerve damage. While efforts may be made to identify and repair nerve injuries during surgery, CRPS can still develop even when the surgery is successful.
  • Limb immobilization: Limb immobilization, often through casting, is another factor that can lead to CRPS. In addition to the rare occurrence of casts pressing on nerves and restricting blood flow to the extremities, prolonged disuse of a limb and the deprivation of sensory input can disrupt the normal signaling of neurons.

Symptoms of CRPS

Not every individual who suffers an injury to an arm or leg develops CRPS. However, a medical condition doesn’t need to be catastrophic for it to cause this disorder. Fractures, sprains, crushing injuries, and amputations are some of the injuries that can trigger RSDS.

Symptoms include:

  • Throbbing or burning pain
  • Sensitivity to touch and cold
  • Swelling of the painful area
  • Changing skin temperatures from feeling cold to sweaty
  • Skin color changes to white, mottled, red, or blue
  • Hair and nail growth changes
  • Swelling and damage to the joints
  • Muscle spasms and weakness
  • Lack of mobility in the affected body part

When symptoms progress, the damage may be irreversible. A variety of treatment options may be needed and can include pain medications, corticosteroids, physical therapy, and spinal cord stimulation.

Treatments for CPRS can be lengthy and expensive, but they often help reduce pain and improve quality of life. If a negligent driver caused this medical condition, he’s responsible for compensating you for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

Can CRPS be treated?

As for the treatment of CRPS, it is a complex process and will require involvement of a number of different Kansas City, Missouri, medical professionals. The primary goal of treatment is to alleviate pain, improve function and enhance overall quality of life. The approach to treatment typically involves a combination of medication, physical therapy, occupational therapy and psychological support through the struggles of chronic pain and sensitivity.

  • Medication: Medications commonly prescribed for CRPS include pain relievers, anti-inflammatory drugs, antidepressants and anticonvulsants.
  • Physical therapy (PT): PT plays an important role in helping patients manage pain. Techniques such as desensitization exercises and other therapies can be used to retrain the brain to alleviate pain.
  • Occupational therapy (OT): OT focuses on restoring daily functioning and may involve the use of adaptive tools and techniques to manage pain during daily activities.
  • Psychological support: Support such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and counseling, can also be beneficial in helping patients cope with the emotional and psychological impact of CRPS and the long term lifestyle effects it will have.

It is important to note that the cost of treating CRPS can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the specific treatment plan. Medical expenses, including doctor visits, medications and therapy sessions, can become quite costly for Kansas City residents over time. Additionally, some treatments may not be covered by insurance, further increasing the financial burden on individuals and their families.

Can I seek compensation if I suffered an injury that led to CRPS?

With these expenses in mind it is key to have a trusted team member from Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys on your side to ensure that you are compensated for the lasting effects of CRPS. After being involved in any car accident, seek the assistance of a trusted Kansas City, Missouri, lawyer. A skilled personal injury attorney can safeguard your rights and guide you through the intricate legal proceedings.

When it comes to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) cases, obtaining prompt medical attention is essential as it provides crucial evidence to support your case. At Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys, we understand the importance of gathering necessary evidence, evaluating your injuries, and determining appropriate compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

Our dedicated team of attorneys will handle negotiations with insurance companies, thoroughly examine evidence to establish fault and advocate for your best interests throughout your CRPS case. With our experienced representation, you can find peace of mind, relieve stress and start rebuilding your life after the accident. Find out for yourself why we were voted Kansas City’s favorite Law Firm!

If you were hurt in a wreck, we want to help. Call or contact Kansas City Accident Injury Attorneys today at any of our convenient locations in Kansas City, Lee’s Summit, Parkville and St. Joseph, Missouri; or in Olathe, Kansas City and Overland Park, Kansas.