There are some types of health problems that are easy to diagnose and understand, but others can be more difficult to diagnose and get disability benefits for even if they make it very difficult for someone to go to work and function properly on a daily basis. Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a condition that affects a small percentage of the population, so it can be difficult to find the necessary help when CRPS gets in the way of work. Anyone who is looking for financial help because they can’t work due to complex regional pain syndrome should take a look at how they can receive SSDI benefits.
What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?
Complex regional pain syndrome is when a part of a person’s body begins to experience pain signals after an injury, stroke, heart attack, or surgery. It’s a rare condition, affecting fewer than 200,000 people per year.
The condition is characterized by chronic pain that’s greater than what would be warranted based on the actual injury. In this condition, nerve impulses go to an affected site at high levels.
It’s unclear what causes this condition, but some experts believe that a dysfunction in the peripheral or central nervous system is involved. As a result of a lack of concrete and specific understanding of what causes complex regional pain syndrome, there isn’t much that can be done about it. Also, the condition is chronic, lasting for years or even throughout a lifetime.
Some of the most common points of pain include the arms, legs, feet, hands, and back. And most cases of CRPS occur after blunt trauma, such as a crushing injury to an area of the body, such as those areas that are most often affected.
There are two kinds of CRPS. Type 1 occurs when there’s an injury or illness that didn’t directly damage the nerves. This first type is also the most common, constituting about 90% of the cases of CRPS. The second types, which is sometimes referred to as causalgia, occurs when there is a distinct nerve injury.
Symptoms of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
The types of pain that complex regional pain syndrome can produce include muscular, sensory, and whole body pain. Muscular pain can be described as muscle spasms and rhythmic muscle contractions.
Sensory pain is often characterized by pins and needles sensations, tingling or burning sensations, and a general sensitivity to pain.
Whole body pain includes pain throughout the whole nervous system and can include sweating. Some people might also experience muscle spasms, tremors, or weakness of the muscles in the affected areas. Weakness is caused by the muscles atrophying, but they can also begin to contract uncontrollably if the condition goes untreated for long enough.
Some other symptoms include emotional problems. For instance, depression is somewhat common for people who have complex regional pain syndrome. More than likely, the depression stems from the person’s inability to control the amount of pain that they’re feeling.
Some other physical symptoms include headache, swelling, stiffness, redness on certain parts of the body, and a general sense of tenderness. Some people might also experience sensitivity to cold and touch as well as changes in temperature, switching from cold to sweating rapidly. Swelling in the area that’s painful is also common, and some people might also have difficulties moving that particular part of the body.
There are also symptoms that are visible, including changes in hair and nail growth, changes in skin color, which can range from red to blue and white, and skin texture that turns shiny and thin.
Treatment for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
While there isn’t a cure for complex regional pain syndrome, there are several methods that are used to lessen the symptoms. For instance, heating pads are often used to soothe muscles and joints, and they can even help a person drain infections.
There are also some kinds of therapies that can help alleviate some of the pain. For instance, acupuncture is one type of treatment that can help many people with complex regional pain syndrome feel better. In this treatment, the acupuncturist inserts needles at different points of the body to relieve pain.
Another form of therapy is physical therapy, which can strengthen muscles and function through exercises and stretches that the physical therapist gives their
There are several types of drugs that doctors might prescribe to lower blood pressure and other symptoms that are common with people experiencing complex regional pain syndrome. For instance, a doctor might decide to prescribe nerve pain medication to block pain caused by damaged nerves, antihypertensive drugs to lower blood pressure, muscle relaxers to reduce muscle pain, sedatives to dull the senses, local anesthetics to block the pain, and narcotics to dull the senses.
There are also some preventative techniques that doctors and patients can use after a fracture or other kind of injury. For instance, after a fracture, the patient should take plenty of vitamin C, and people who have just recently had a stroke should get out of bed and walk early on in their treatment to lower the chances of experiencing CRPS.
Disability Benefits for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
While the SSA recognizes that CRPS can be a debilitating condition that can make it impossible for a person to work, the condition isn’t specifically listed in the Blue Book.
Being able to claim disability benefits from the Social Security Administration for complex regional pain syndrome is dependent on the applicant’s ability to give evidence for pain that is subjective and difficult to give evidence for. Usually, the condition needs to be chronic enough that persists for at least 12 months.
Being diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome isn’t enough to qualify for SSDI benefits. Instead, one of the routes that a person can take when they have complex regional pain syndrome is to go through a residual functional capacity test. This type of exam will take a look at all of the jobs that a person has had and any symptoms that a person is reporting to their doctor. This process will help determine whether or not there are any jobs that they’re suited to.
During this assessment, the SSA will look at the applicant’s ability to sit, stand, push, pull, lift, finger, and do other tasks that are commonly necessary in certain jobs. Since not all jobs require a person to be able to do the same physical activities, it might be possible that the applicant isn’t capable of one type of job but is capable of another type of job that they’ve already done in the past.
Whenever a person is applying for SSDI benefits, they should keep detailed records of their symptoms, including when they began, the severity of the symptoms, the type of symptoms, and more. Communicating with a doctor is also important throughout the process because a doctor can help a patient better understand what options are available to them.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.