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Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Common workplace causes

The often debilitating condition known as Complex Region Pain Syndrome CRPS, which is also sometimes called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy, can be caused by workplace accidents. Acquiring CRPS/RSD can result in prolonged and severe pain, changes in skin color or temperature, swelling, and tenderness to touch. Typically, this condition impacts one or more limbs following a traumatic accident. The pain can range from a "sleeping limb" sensation similar to the "pins and needles" feeling all the way up to severe pain that prevents normal functioning in a worker.

What causes CRPS?

CRPS/RSD is typically caused by a trauma or injury to a limb or extremity, but has also been linked to heart attack and stroke. These injuries, which can be severe in and of themselves, result in malfunctioning of the peripheral nerves around the injury site.

Because the issue is rooted in the functioning of the nerves, even minor stimulation of the affected body part can result in extreme discomfort and pain. The swelling is caused by malfunctioning of the blood vessels in the impacted body part, leading to discoloration. The leaking of blood vessels can also cause damage to the muscle tissue, which can become starved for oxygen and nutrients due to the blood loss and swelling.

What kinds of workplace accidents cause CRPS?

CRPS/RSD can be caused by a wide range of traumas, from a vehicular accident while driving professionally to a broken bone will working in a manufacturing position or due to a slip and fall accident.

If you were injured at work and experienced a broken bone, strain or sprain, soft tissue injury, or any injury that required surgery and have since developed CRPS/RSD, or the symptoms of this condition in the affected limb or extremity, chances are that your pain and discomfort are directly tied to the original workplace injury. This means that all treatments should be covered by workers' compensation.

How is CRPS/RSD treated?

There are a broad range of medical treatment options for those who are suffering from CRPS/RSD, and many of them are ongoing and expensive. Many people suffering from CRPS are prescribed rehabilitation therapy with a rehab specialist or physical therapist. These sessions help prevent atrophy of the affected limb and can help limit or reverse damage by increasing blood flow and muscle mass.

Some people require psychotherapy as well, as the injury and trauma that caused it can result in emotional issues. Some doctors may prescribe medication to reduce pain, while others perform nerve stimulation treatments. Sometimes surgery is required.

How an attorney can help

Because of the delay in time between a workplace injury and the diagnosis of CRPS, employers may try to deny that their employees' medical needs should be covered by workers' compensation.

To ensure that your medical bills are paid and that you have access to appropriate care and therapies, working with an experienced attorney is your best option. An attorney who specializes in workers' compensation cases in North Carolina can help ensure that you receive the care you deserve while recovering from an injury that caused CRPS/RSD.

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