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What causes CRPS to spread?

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a greater than normal reaction of the body to an injury. It is a poorly understood condition in which a person experiences persistent and debilitating pain that is extremely severe. In this blog, we take a closer look at the condition and discover what causes CRPS to spread.

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition. Although most cases are triggered by an injury, the resulting pain is much more severe and long-lasting than normal. It causes intense pain, usually in the arms, legs, hands or feet. The main cause of CRPS is unknown, therefore, there is no cure. Many cases gradually improve to some degree over time, however, some cases of CRPS never disappear completely, leaving the affected person to experience pain for many years.

One of the first and most commonly asked questions about CRPS is does it spread? The simple answer to that is, yes. Usually, CRPS starts out in one limb, moving to another originally uninvolved limb or another part of the body. In most cases, CRPS will stay on the same side of the body – right arm, to right leg – or spread to an opposite limb – right arm, to left arm. Although it is rare, CRPs can occasionally spread across the body diagonally – right arm, to left leg.

Anything can cause a spread for a CRPS patient. The reasons why remain unclear. As a result, care needs to be taken each time any procedure is required, such as an operation, dental work or even giving blood.

Unfortunately, it would appear the risk of a spread increases with every limb that is affected. Spreads are not only limited to limbs, as it can affect any part of the body. This can include:

  • All internal organs
  • Face
  • Mouth
  • Back (especially when undergoing surgery for a spinal cord stimulator)
  • Eyes
  • Neck
  • Genitals
  • Breasts
  • Abdomen

Highly simplified – if it has a nerve, CRPS can spread to it.

In a small number of cases, thought to be 8% or less, CRPS has spread to the entire body. More common is for CRPS to spread to an entire limb. For example, an original injury may have occurred in a finger, but CRPS has encompassed the entire limb. This is referred to as contiguous spread.

Although there is no known cure for CRPS, a combination of physical treatments, medication, and psychological support can help and there is plenty of advice available for those living with chronic pain.

To find out whether or not you may be entitled to complex regional pain syndrome compensation, get in touch with our expert team here at Brian Barr by calling us for free on 0808 123 0003 or click here to contact us through our online form.

We do not endorse any research, studies or sources mentioned within our blogs and comments. Furthermore, we do not endorse any medical advice provided, and would strongly recommend anyone seeking medical advice to contact their local healthcare provider.

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14 responses to “What causes CRPS to spread?


    1. Dear David,

      I am sorry to hear about your wife’s suffering.

      Each claim is assessed on its merits. No two claims are alike and no two individuals have the same losses. As there are many contributing variables in each situation, i.e. nature of accident, personal situation, personal background, subsequent quality of life etc., a claim can easily range anywhere between five to seven figures.

      Here at Brian Barr’s, we are a team of fully qualified solicitors that specialise in CRPS claims as just one of our areas of expertise. As an indication of our expertise, we achieved a 92% compensation claims success rate in 2018.

      If you require legal assistance pertaining to an injury that occurred in England or Wales, then please don’t hesitate to contact us by filling out our online form or by calling us on 0161 737 9248 so we can consider your claim. Alternatively you can send us your number and one of our team will contact you within the next 24 hours.

      Wishing you all the very best,

      Brian Barr Solicitors

  2. I suffer from extreme pain. Doctor don’t take me serious think it is all in my head. Live with constant frustrations I go to doctor after doctor. They want me to see psychologist all in my head or just pain pill seeking behavior.

  3. I have had crps for 5 yrs in,mt ankle area. In pretty much on a wheel chair now. I had surgery due to a broken ankle and got the disease.

  4. Ive had this disease for many yeats in my left wrist and now I think it has spread to my whole left arm and shoulder and continues to spread further…it has me in pain and fearful of what is yet to become from this in the future

  5. I have crps in my right foot and leg now I’m having trouble with my right arm and hand, I see a Doctor for my anxiety and bipolar depression, should seek more help?

  6. I have crps in my first two knuckles but am getting pain in the other finger knuckles so u have any ideas of splints that would help have tried Tubular bandage

  7. I broke my foot and after the surgery everything was fine. It was when I was told to use the Walker, well needles to say the worse pain you could ever imagine took me to the floor, we went to the surgeon asap, he took one look at my foot and sent me to a pain management doctor. Finding a spinal cord stimulator was the answer. In July several years later I had a double mastectomy and never giving it a thought about getting CRPS again. I was still having drainage cups after about a week my hand started to feel strange. I told my husband and he said * I was afraid of this happening again* it went from one incision across to the other incision and to my right arm, and to the underside of my shoulder blade. I told my doctor and was met with crps doesn’t travel up. I told him maybe he should follow up on what they’re finding out about CRPS.

  8. I was diagnosed with CRPS two years ago. I wanted to know if it can spread to your stomach. I have not been able to eat without throwing up for several months. Could this be the cause.

    1. Hi Brenda,

      I’m sorry to hear about your difficult situation.

      As we do not provide medical services, I would recommend contacting your local healthcare provider with your query.

      Please feel free to contact us though if you require any legal assistance. You can do this either through our website inquiry form, or by calling us on 0161 737 9248.

      Wishing you all the very best,

      Brian Barr Solicitors

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