Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)


Complex regional pain syndrome is a rare and chronic pain disorder that usually affects a limb most often after an injury. The cause is thought to be a result of damage to, or malfunction of, the peripheral and central nervous systems. The central nervous system is composed of the brain and spinal cord; the peripheral nervous system involves nerve signaling from the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is characterized by prolonged and excessive pain, abnormal limb positioning, weakness, swelling, and/or changes in skin color and temperature.  

The symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome typically begin with burning pain, especially in an arm, finger(s), palm of the hand(s), and/or shoulder(s). In some individuals, it may occur in one or both legs or it may be localized to one knee or hip. Frequently, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome is misdiagnosed as a painful nerve injury. The skin over the affected area(s) may become swollen (edema) and inflamed. Affected skin may be extremely sensitive to touch and to hot or cold temperatures (cutaneous hypersensitivity). The affected limb(s) may perspire excessively and be warm to the touch (vasomotor instability).

We have found great success in mitigating the symptoms of complex Regional Pain Syndrome with the use of Ketamine Infusion Therapy. Each infusion day is unique and is customized to the  individual. Furthermore, at Alpine Health & Wellness, we offer and coordinate other specialized treatment options for those suffering from this condition.

In an article discussing Ketamine Infusion Therapy in PAIN MEDICINE it says, "Although Ketamine may have more than one mechanism of action, the basis for using it to treat CRPS/RSDS may reside in its strong ability to block NMDA receptors. Experimental evidence suggests that a sufficiently intense or prolonged painful stimulus causes an extraordinary release of glutamate from peripheral nociceptive afferents onto dorsal horn neurons within the spinal cord. 

The glutamate released, in turn, stimulates NMDA receptors on second-order neurons that produce the phenomena of windup and central sensitization. It is reasonable to consider that, by blocking NMDA receptors, one might also be able to block cellular mechanisms supporting windup and central sensitization [4–7,15]. Ketamine is the only potent NMDA-blocking drug currently available for clinical use. Our interpretation is that an appropriately prolonged infusion of Ketamine appears to maintain a level of Ketamine in the central nervous system long enough to reverse the effects of the sensitization process and associated pain." -