Complex Regional Pain Syndrome affects every patient who suffers from it differently. It’s estimated, however, that 90% of those with a diagnosis of CRPS suffer from Type I, while the remaining 10% of patients suffer from Type II. In our first installment on Complex Regional Pain Syndrome back in early 2018, CRPS Victims Are Suffering Physically, Financially After Medical Malpractice we offered insight on exactly what CRPS entails, and how those who have become victims of medical malpractice may have grounds to bring litigation if a medical professional is found to have been negligent in their care.
As we explained in excerpt from 2018’s popular Victims Benefit From CRPS Treatment, But Medical Bills Pile Up After Malpractice, Accident writeup, it’s important to remember the following:
CRPS, or Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is what was formerly known as RSD. CRPS is a pain disorder and considered to be permanent, or as medical professionals often refer to it: “chronic”. There are several ways a person can develop Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. CRPS can develop because of medical malpractice such as a surgical error, or can be sustained from an accident. Regardless of how they developed the condition, it’s considered to be one of the most excruciating, permanent afflictions a person can suffer from.
Now that we’ve reestablished what Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is and how victims’ lives are dramatically upended by this excruciating longterm condition, this newest writeup on CRPS will delve into the diagnosis and prognosis of having to live one’s life with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. At the end of this writeup, we’ve made links to further reading on CRPS available that will give patients insight and important information on treatments available for this excruciating disease.
Physicians must rely on experience and clinical knowledge, not merely standardized testing
According to medical professionals with extensive knowledge of the disease expression, there is no specific test that can confirm a CRPS diagnosis. CRPS is what’s known as a “diagnosis of exclusion” or a “clinical diagnosis”. A clinical diagnosis is made by a qualified physician when there is no standardized medical test available to provide further insight into the patient’s condition.
A diagnosis of exclusion can help to prevent the pitfalls of misdiagnosis
There are several other pain conditions that are made with a diagnosis of exclusion using clinical criteria rather than diagnostic testing. Fibromyalgia, for instance, is a pain condition that is diagnosed by most physicians after touching a patient’s “pressure points” and scoring the pain accordingly. This is not a standardized test because every patient will feel pain in a different way. Other illnesses such as Lyme Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and Fibromyalgia must be ruled out entirely before a diagnosis of CRPS is given. Each of the illnesses mentioned has its own treatment and confusing one for the other could be considered misdiagnosis in certain situations.
The same idea is applied to a diagnosis of CRPS. Largely, the diagnosis is achieved by looking at a patient’s medical history and taking their signs and symptoms into account and a diagnosis of CRPS Type-I will be made. When a patient has a clearly defined injury to the affected nerve (trauma from an accident), a diagnosis of CRPS Type-II is made.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is ordered in certain cases to confirm a doctor’s clinical diagnosis of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. This is because bone reabsorption is a common co-morbidity (often found to exist in) of CRPS. Bone reabsorption is a condition in which the cells break down the bones and release excess calcium into the bloodstream. However, this finding is found in other illnesses too.
A Complex Regional Pain Syndrome prognosis can vary, but isn’t as bleak as it once was
There are several factors that should be considered when a doctor offers a patient presenting with pain from CRPS a prognosis for this illness. Younger people such as children and adolescents who present with the syndrome have a better chance of restoration of function. Older people, and those injured in accidents who may have suffered other injuries in conjunction with CRPS, have a less favorable prognosis.
Unfortunately, there are patients young and old who suffer debilitating, chronic pain for the rest of their lives after sustaining an injury that results in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. In these cases, it’s important for the victim to seek experienced legal representation in the event that their CRPS was caused by a negligent doctor who has left them in agony. An experienced lawyer can determine if damages are able to be awarded, during trial if necessary, on their behalf.
Last year, we covered CRPS in depth here on the Shaked Law Resource Blog, in doing so we took a closer look at what treatments have been made available for those found to be suffering lifelong, chronic pain due to CRPS. It’s important for victims of medical malpractice to know they should never suffer in silence, and that a lawyer experienced in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome related cases is there to help them. An experienced lawyer can obtain the compensation a victim deserves, thusly allowing them the financial stability to afford the oftentimes costly, but correct treatment.
All our CRPS articles are available on our Law Library. See below for further reading from our Law Resource on CRPS:
- A Closer Look at CRPS: When You Have a Case, Here’s What Happens Next
- The Link Between CRPS and Blood Draws is Closer Than You Think
- A Closer Look At Physical Pain After Accident