Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS): Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 3/11/2019

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition in which high levels of nerve impulses travel to the affected area of the body. Complex regional pain syndrome is also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome.

The symptoms and signs of CRPS can vary in their severity and length. Associated symptoms include continuous, intense pain that gets worse over time. The pain may seem out of proportion to the severity of the injury or cause of the pain. Other signs and symptoms of CRPS may include burning pain, joint swelling, joint stiffness, problems moving the affected area, changes in hair growth, and changes in skin temperature.

Causes of complex regional pain syndrome

The cause of CRPS is not well understood and may result from a mixture of different factors such as abnormal responsiveness to nerve signals.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/11/2019

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