Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (causalgia)

palm12bppalm12b Posts: 3
My wife had back fusion surgery roughly 12 weeks and has been suffering from swelling and extreme pain in both of her legs since two days after the surgery. We have talked to the surgeon who performed the surgery and says that it may be Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Causalgia). It is a very rare syndrome but after doing research on the symptoms it does match my wife's.

Does anyone know about this disease? It doesn't make total sense that back fusion surgery would cause this in her legs. Does it? I am very concerned and was wondering if someone could help me.



  • Hi,

    I had a *brief* course of CRPS in my shoulder following my back surgery, so yes, it can happen. My shoulder was affected, we believe, because of the prone positioning on the OR table. It is more common for the leg or legs to be affected by lumbar surgery. Back surgeries unfortunately are associated with it due to prolonged periods on the OR table, as well as direct aggravation of the nerves. The theory is that the trauma of the surgery activates the sympathetic nervous system which is normal, but for whatever reason in some people the sympathetic nervous system remains overactive resulting in CRPS.

    I would *highly* recommend that your wife see a pain management specialist or neurologist familiar with CRPS as soon as possible. There is a critical window in the first 12-16 weeks of onset where nerve blocks are most effective and can send the CRPS into remission. You might even call the surgeon and see if they can go ahead and refer you directly to a pain clinic for a lumbar plexus block. This would be both diagnostic as well as therapeutic. Timing is critical. All the research shows that blocks are most effective if done within the first 3-4 months of onset. Your wife's prognosis is probably much better since they have caught this early. I believe the only reason my CRPS resolved so quickly was because I was diagnosed early in the course of it and received the nerve blocks within the 12-16 week window.

    Physical therapy is also an important part of CRPS treatment. I'm assuming your wife is probably already doing PT as part of her recovery from the back surgery. Has the surgeon ordered anything as far as the CRPS? Maintaining normal motion of the affected limbs is critical for recovery, so physical therapy is really important.
  • Thanks for the info. Unfortunately her doctor has been lax in his follow-up with my wife. She has not started physiotherapy and although the pain specialist has been called there has been no return call to us.

    It is very frustrating and I feel like we have a mountain to climb.
  • im am going through it now. i have it in my arms and hands. my doctor diagnosed it quickly after carpal tunnel surgery and requested pain management from the insurance co to approve but all treatments took too long. my first stellate ganglion nerve blocks weren't done until 9 months later. i've now had 3 and he's requested 3 more. he told me it should have been done within the first 3 months and keeping good range of motion is very important. i may not recover and may need to have a spinal implant done soon. so keep on the doctor or look for a new one. it's her life and health, not theirs. i left my first pain management doctor because i wasn't getting the treatment i needed. but i waited too long just trying work nicely with the dr's and insurance. big mistake for me... good luck to you and your wife! think positive but don't let them forget her!
  • keep hassling your doctor to make sure your they are thinking about your wife's condition. Unfortunately sometimes whoever screams the loudest is the only one that gets heard.

    Hang in there.....
  • Get her to another Dr then. I got this yrs ago, but without a proper Dx and no treatment I became disabled at 36. Timing is very critical and she needs to be proactive and taken seriously. I'm not trying to scare anyone, just save yrs of pain and possible disability. No time to sit back and wait for the Drs in this situation. If the surgeon told her that she may have Complex Regional Pain Syndrome he should be treating her, or telling you how best to go about proper treatment.
    Please take care!
  • Hi i have this and have had it for two years i take Gabapentin for it i take 600mg in the morning afternoon and night it does help some i had some physical therapy which worked on desentizing the leg in question which was very hard to cope with and although i still suffer with it it is no longer as extreme as it was i can now tolerate someone touching me which is progress.

    I sincerely hope that you get the help that your wife get the help she needs.
  • lol-last yrs thread....... :$

Sign In or Register to comment.