Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Certainly, some workplace injuries are easier to recover from than others. However, once most injured workers get on the road to recovery, it’s only a matter of time until they can get back to work. But what happens if, over time, some of your symptoms improve while others inexplicably get worse? This may be due to a relatively rare condition called complex regional pain syndrome. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our knowledgeable North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers have significant experience successfully handling some of the most challenging workers’ compensation cases, including those involving complex regional pain syndrome.What Is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), is a term used to describe excruciating pain related to a recent injury. One of the main characteristics of CRPS is that the pain experienced well after the accident is out of proportion to that experienced in the immediate aftermath of the injury. While medical experts do not have an incredibly deep understanding of CRPS, they believe that the condition is the result of damage to the nerves that send pain messages to the brain. However, the nerve injury may not be apparent, which can lead to prolonged periods of uncertainty and suffering.
While complex regional pain syndrome doesn’t always show up following an injury, doctors believe that the following injuries are most likely to result in CRPS:
- Sprains and strains,
- Surgical incisions,
- Burns or cuts,
- Limb immobilization from wearing a cast, and
- Puncture wounds.
However, in about 10 percent of all CRPS cases, there is no known underlying trauma.What Are the Symptoms of CRPS?
The symptoms of CRPS vary depending on the seriousness of the underlying trauma. However, the most common symptoms of complex regional pain syndrome include:
- Spontaneous pain in the affected area;
- Extreme sensitivity to touch;
- Changes in the texture of the skin;
- Stiffening joints;
- Unusual hair and nail growth;
- Excess bone growth;
- Impaired strength; and
- Limited range of motion.
Of course, what most people notice first is the intense pain that seemingly comes out of nowhere. The pain is often so excruciating that it prevents people from being able to perform the necessary functions of their job.Is Workers’ Compensation Available for a CRPS Diagnosis?
Yes, North Carolina workers’ compensation benefits are available for those employees who suffer from CRPS as a result of their employment. However, obtaining workers’ compensation benefits for an occupational disease like CRPS is challenging for a few reasons.
First, CRPS is not well understood in the medical community. While many doctors regularly diagnose complex regional pain syndrome, others have not yet fully gotten on board. This can make it difficult to find a doctor who is open to the diagnosis. At the same time, your employer and their workers’’ compensation insurance company may claim that an injured worker is exaggerating their pain in an attempt to obtain benefits.
Second, determining the origin of the underlying trauma can be difficult. While 90 percent of CRPS cases involve some type of trauma, the trauma triggering CRPS may be minor. Thus, it can take doctors quite some time to arrive at the diagnosis. And your employer may claim that a minor workplace injury couldn’t have caused such extreme pain.
However, an experienced North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyer at the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, can help workers suffering from CRPS effectively pursue workers’ compensation benefits.Are You Unable to Work Due to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
If you were recently diagnosed with CRPS and are no longer able to work as a result of the pain you are experiencing, reach out to the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, for immediate assistance. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, our compassionate team of North Carolina workers’ compensation lawyers command an impressive understanding of this rare yet debilitating condition. We are prepared to investigate your illness and present a compelling case for compensation on your behalf. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Charlotte workers’ compensation lawyer, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach one of our Concord workers’ compensation lawyers at 704-918-4747. We take all workers’ compensation cases on a contingency basis, meaning we will not bill you for our services unless we can connect you with compensation for what you’ve been through.