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Nerve Entrapment Syndrome

Nerve Entrapment Syndromes are nerve impingement conditions in which nerves or nerve roots are placed under abnormal pressure by soft tissues such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, or fascia. The abnormal pressure on the nerves or nerve roots creates pain locally or radiating outward, numbness or tingling in the area supplied by the nerve and possibly weakness or twitching of affected muscles. Nerve entrapment syndromes are fairly common and you may have heard of some of them like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, Piriformis Syndrome, Thoracic Outlet Syndrome, Meralgia Paresthetica, Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, and Cubital Tunnel Syndrome.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

In most cases CRPS has three stages. Often, however, CRPS does not follow this pattern. Some people go into the later stages almost right away. Others stay in the first stage.

Stage 1 (lasts 1 - 3 months):

  • Increased nail and hair growth
  • Pain that may move farther up or down the affected limb
  • Severe burning, aching pain that increases with the slightest touch or breeze
  • Skin that becomes dry and thin, changes color
  • Swelling with warmth or coolness

Stage 2 (lasts 3 - 6 months):

  • Decreased hair growth
  • Noticeable changes in skin texture and color
  • Spread of swelling
  • Stiff muscles and joints

Stage 3 (irreversible changes can be seen)

  • Contractions involving muscles and tendons
  • Limited movement in limb
  • Pain in the entire limb
  • Muscle wasting

Depression or mood changes may occur with these symptoms, especially in stage 3

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) has two forms:

  • CRPS 1 is a chronic nerve disorder that occurs most often in the arms or legs after a minor injury.
  • CRPS 2 is caused by an injury to the nerve.

The cause of CRPS is not completely understood. It is thought to result from damage to the nervous system, including the nerves that control the blood vessels and sweat glands.

The damaged nerves are no longer able to properly control blood flow, feeling (sensation), and temperature to the affected area. This leads to medical problems in the:

  • Blood vessels
  • Bones
  • Muscles
  • Nerves
  • Skin

Possible causes of CRPS:

  • Injury or infection in an arm or leg
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke

Posttherpetic Neuralgia

Postherpetic neuralgia is pain in the area where a shingles infection once occurred. The pain may last for months or years.The main symptom is pain in the area where shingles once occurred. The pain can range from mild to very severe. It lasts for months, sometimes years, after the original shingles infection.


Fibromyalgia is a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues. Fibromyalgia has also been linked to fatigue, morning stiffness, sleep problems, headaches, numbness in hands and feet, depression, and anxiety.

The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is long-standing, body-wide pain with defined tender points. Tender points are distinct from trigger points seen in other pain syndromes. Unlike tender points, trigger points can occur in isolation and represent a source of radiating pain, even in the absence of direct pressure.

Fibromyalgia pain can mimic the pain that occurs with various types of arthritis. However, the significant swelling, destruction, and deformity of joints seen in diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, does not occur with fibromyalgia syndrome alone.

The soft-tissue pain of fibromyalgia is described as deep-aching, radiating, gnawing, shooting or burning, and ranges from mild to severe. Fibromyalgia sufferers tend to wake up with body aches and stiffness.

For some patients, pain improves during the day and increases again during the evening, though many patients with fibromyalgia have day-long, unrelenting pain. Pain can increase with activity, cold or damp weather, anxiety, and stress.

Specific symptoms:

  • Body aches
  • Chronic facial muscle pain or aching
  • Fatigue
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Memory difficulties and cognitive difficulties
  • Multiple tender areas (muscle and joint pain) on the back of the neck, shoulders, sternum, lower back, hips, shins, elbows, knees
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Palpitations
  • Reduced exercise tolerance
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Tension or migraine headaches





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