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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Are there risk factors associated with complex regional pain syndrome?

    Age? Gender? Lifestyle habits?
  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • 1

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    Dr Jillian Tomlinson

    Hand Surgeon, Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Jill Tomlinson is a fully qualified plastic, reconstructive and hand surgeon. After graduating dux in her year at University High School, Jill completed medical … View Profile

    In most instances complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) starts after an injury or surgery. Sometimes it happens after a stroke or heart attack, and occasionally there is no clear reason for why it started.

    Women develop CRPS more than men.

    Immobilisation after an injury is a risk factor for the development of CRPS. There are times when immobilisation is unavoidable (for instance, when you have a cast after a wrist fracture), but if you have a joint or joints that need to be immobilised it is preferable if you can do exercises to keep all your unaffected joints moving and supple. The human body was made to move!

    Cigarette smoking appears to be a risk factor. There have been no studies investigating whether stopping smoking helps in the treatment of CRPS, but smoking cessation is definitely beneficial for your overall health!

    One small study suggests a genetic predisposition, with certain HLA associations being found more frequently in patients with CRPS than in controls. It has also been suggested that some patients may have a genetic predisposition to a poor treatment outcome. This does not currently have practical implications for patients who have CRPS or are at risk of developing CRPS.

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