The Suicide Disease – Understanding the Stages of CRPS
This post will cover the four different stages of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Stage One CRPS – This stage is referred to as the Acute Stage. From cases around the world, doctors estimate that this stage can last anywhere from 30 to 100 days. Patients experience excessive pain in an extremity (Leg or Arm typically). This pain is described to be a burning, pins and needles type sensation which lasts the entire day. CRPS is also known as the “Suicide Disease” because it may drive patients to the brink of death. During stage one, patients can expect the skin of the affected area to become dry, thin and shiny in appearance as well.
Stage Two CRPS – This stage is known as the Dystrophic Stage. During this stage of CRPS, many patients will experience dystrophy of the area. Because of the inadequate use of the limb, muscular dystrophy is common during stage two of CRPS. A patient can experience increased swelling and pain as well. The pain can become so severe that light actually makes the pain even worse. The pain is generally the same, but what differentiates stage one from stage two is the affected area. The affected area in this stage generally becomes larger. Say if the injury occurred in the wrist, a patient in stage two may see the pain spreading up the arm.
Stage Three CRPS – Also known as the Atrophic Stage. Patients who have had CRPS for more than a year, are considered to be in stage three. Atrophy is when wasting begins in the organs and tissue. The pain will continue to be constant and hit more or less a plateau. Many patients also experience contracture. X-rays may reveal osteoporosis of the affected bone in that area.
Stage Four CRPS – This is the most advanced stage of CRPS. Damage to a limb may be so severe that an amputation may be recommended by a medical professional. Although, it is recommended to not perform an amputation of the limb. Recent studies from medical professionals have suggested that amputation is not the most effective medical solution, that is actually results in more complications for the patient. Most patients who make it to stage four, will not recover from CRPS.
To read more about the stages of CRPS, visit our staging section here https://rsdguide.com/rsd/stages-crps-classifying-stages/.