There's a common assumption that CRPS may be triggered by anxiety or depression.
However, this idea largely stems from the condition's unpredictable nature and the fact that CRPS patients often exhibit heightened levels of anxiety and depression. Yet, research tells us a different story.
While psychological factors may not cause CRPS, living with the condition can often leads to serious emotional distress. Most studies provide compelling evidence that CRPS patients are more anxious and depressed than healthy controls (although CRPS patients are not more anxious or depressed than people with other types of chronic pain).
Once a person has CRPS, their emotional state can indeed influence the condition's symptoms. Anxiety and stress tend to exacerbate CRPS symptoms, adding another layer of complexity to its management.
It's a cyclic relationship: CRPS can cause emotional distress, and emotional distress can in turn make CRPS symptoms worse.
“Seeing the psychologist has helped a lot. That’s made a huge difference. I guess I really needed someone to talk to and sort of guide me through…"
The relationship between CRPS, anxiety, and depression is complex but it's clear that psychological factors are not the root cause of CRPS.
TrainPain's neuroplasticity training program was awarded the 2023 Innovation Grand Prize from the American Academy of Pain Medicine.