We don’t know exactly why some people develop CRPS, but several risk factors have been identified:
Injuries and Surgeries:
Certain injuries, especially fractures, sprains, and surgeries, increase the likelihood of developing CRPS. For instance, one study showed that after a wrist fracture, 4% of people develop CRPS.
An early warning sign may be having high levels of pain in the first week of the injury (>5/10). It’s important to note that the severity of the injury does not determine who will get CRPS (for most people with CRPS, the trigger was a rather minor injury).
Often after bone fractures, the affected body region is immobilized (for example in a cast), and this can increase the risk of CRPS. Studies have shown that even perceived cast tightness can contribute. In studies with animals, scientist discovered that immobilizing a body region can trigger CRPS-like symptoms.
Medication and Medical Conditions:
Certain medications like angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or a history of conditions like migraine or asthma have been linked to a heightened risk of CRPS. However, the exact connection between these factors and CRPS remains uncertain.
There’s evidence pointing towards a potential genetic role for developing CRPS. The extent to which genetics increase a person’s risk for CRPS remains unclear and is an active area of research.
While much remains to be understood about the onset of CRPS, ongoing research brings hope. By better grasping these factors, we can pave the way for more effective prevention and treatments.
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