Procedure & Treatment Library

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

CRPS describes a painful debilitating condition in a limb such as the arm, hand, foot or leg, where the pain is out of proportion to any preceding injury and associated with reduced use of the limb. There are two types of CRPS:


The syndrome is triggered by injury such as a sprain or strain, penetrating injury, fracture or surgery, or can occur spontaneously.

With the appropriate diagnosis and treatment, most people will recover from CRPS, but for some, there is a range of ongoing symptoms that vary from minor or severe. Relapses can happen for no known reason or can occur after injury/surgery for a separate reason.


CRPS is based on a clinical assessment. Investigations are only performed to exclude other diagnoses.

The “Budapest Criteria” for CRPS is considered the gold standard of assessment and diagnosis. The following criteria needs to be met:


Treatment of CRPS is guided by the patient’s presentation and the goal is to assist functional improvement. Successful treatment is multi-modal and includes:

It is important to note that CRPS affects people in different ways and one person’s response to treatment will be different from another person’s. Your pain specialist will work out a plan on how best to treat you and your symptoms.

**This information sheet has been written for patients affected by CRPS and provides general information only**

References: Australian Prescriber; Pain Australia; Better Health Victoria.

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