Health conditions

Complex regional pain syndrome

What is complex regional pain syndrome?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) can occur after a simple injury, such as a:

  • sprained ankle
  • broken arm.

The syndrome, which only affects a small percentage of people, can be very painful.

CPRS is split into 2 main categories:

  • Type I – occurs after:
    • a simple injury
    • a stroke
    • without a known cause.
  • Type II – occurs after:
    • injury to nerve
    • after surgery to repair a nerve.

Signs and symptoms

Signs and symptoms of CRPS may include:

  • severe pain that is out of proportion to the original injury
  • increased skin sensitivity
  • swelling
  • excessive sweating or dryness of skin.

Diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome

Your healthcare professional may find it difficult to diagnose CRPS in the early stages of your illness. You can use a screening tool (external site) to help identify CRPS.

Treatment and management of complex regional pain syndrome

Your healthcare professional will be able to suggest ways for you to help manage your pain. painHEALTH (external site) has developed a CRPS pain management module to guide you and your treating health professional team in your pain management.

Where to get help

  • See your doctor or healthcare professional
  • Visit painHEALTH (external site), a website developed by WA Health, Curtin University and The University of Western Australia. painHEALTH is dedicated to helping sufferers of osteoarthritis and other forms of chronic pain and musculoskeletal pain
  • Visit healthdirect (external site) or call 1800 022 222



This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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