Treatment Options for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

If you suffer from complex regional pain syndrome, it’s good to know that there are many treatment options. Doctors often try medication first. Other options include physical or psychological therapy, surgery, nerve blocks, or medical devices like Medtronic’s neurostimulators.

Talk to your doctor about the right pain treatment for your complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Not all treatments may be applicable to your type of pain. Treatments include:


Doctors often try medication first. Because each person responds differently to medication, your doctor may try a variety of doses and drugs. Medications range from over-the-counter pain relievers, such as aspirin, acetaminophen, anti-inflammatory steroids, and stronger pain medicines.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy attempts to build or recondition muscles – allowing you to move more normally and with less pain. Your doctor may recommend passive physical therapy, such as massage and applying heat/cold, or active therapies, such as exercise.

Psychological Therapy

Chronic pain can bring stress that affects you, your relationships, and your body. Psychologists are available to work with you on relaxation techniques and coping and self-monitoring skills.

Corrective Surgery

Your doctor may do tests, such as MRI or CT scans, to look for the cause of your pain. If the test reveals a problem that is known to be corrected by surgery, your doctor may recommend this treatment.

Therapeutic Nerve Blocks

Therapeutic nerve blocks are local anaesthetic and/or steroid injections given at the origin of pain. Nerve blocks usually provide temporary pain relief. If your pain is not managed after multiple injections, your doctor may consider other treatments.


Medical devices, such as Medtronic neurostimulators, are surgically placed devices that modulate pain signals before they reach the brain.

Neurostimulators send mild electrical impulses to the epidural space near the spine, masking the perception of pain messages to the brain and replacing pain with a tingling sensation.

Unlike some surgeries, this treatment is reversible. Your doctor can turn off or remove the system. In addition, you can try this therapy temporarily before you receive a permanent implant.


With neuroablation, doctors destroy (usually with heat) the nerves that serve as pathways to the brain. Neuroblation is often a last resort when other treatments have failed.

Information on this site should not be used as a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.

Last updated: 22 Sep 2010

Section Navigation

Additional information

Contact Us

Medtronic Limited
Building 9
Croxley Green Business Park
Hatters Lane
Watford, Hertfordshire
WD18 8WW
work Tel. +44 (0)1923 212213
work Fax +44 (0)1923 241004
United Kingdom