How is complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) diagnosed?

There is no specific diagnostic test for CRPS, but some testing can rule out other conditions. Triple-phase bone scans can be used to identify changes in the bone and in blood circulation. Some health care providers may apply a stimulus (such as heat, touch, cold) to determine whether there is pain in a specific area.

Making a firm diagnosis of CRPS may be difficult early in the course of the disorder when symptoms are few or mild. CRPS is diagnosed primarily through observation of the following symptoms:

  • The presence of an initial injury
  • A higher-than-expected amount of pain from an injury
  • A change in appearance of an affected area
  • The presence of no other cause of pain or altered appearance

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