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What are the symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

Pain is the main symptom of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). It may be a burning, stabbing, stinging or throbbing pain. The affected limb is often extremely sensitive to touch. Even light stroking or the weight of clothing can cause severe pain.

The painful area is often swollen (which can lead to stiffness). After a time, the muscles in the affected limb may weaken. Movements may be difficult to control, shaky or jerky.

You may notice colour or temperature changes in the affected areas. Or the skin of the affected area could look more red or blue than normal, and may appear mottled or unusually shiny.

These changes can vary a great deal sometimes during the course of a day.

Some people notice stiffness, changes to the hair or nails, or more or less sweating in the affected limb. Many people say the limb 'feels strange' or it feels larger or smaller than the normal limb.

People with CRPS become anxious or depressed – this is normal for anyone with long-term (chronic) pain and needs to be dealt with. Others have negative feelings about the affected limb.


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