Today’s post comes from guest author Charlie Domer, from The Domer Law Firm.
This blog previously discussed the legal issues related to workers suffering from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Under Wisconsin law, there is a vast difference (in effect and value) for an injury to a worker’s “body as a whole” (spine, head) versus a limb injury. CRPS can fall into either category–making it an extremely difficult issue in litigation.
A recent California case provided an interesting case study. While this case involved the use of AMA guides-which Wisconsin does not use–the medical discussion is interesting. Most notably, a section of the AMA guides indicated that “the pathology in CRPS is currently believed to occur in the central nervous system.” A nervous system condition certainly looks like a systemic issue–a “body as a whole” condition.
If CRPS is viewed in that light in Wisconsin, it would open to the door to loss of earning capacity claims involving a CRPS diagnosis.
Diagnosis of CRPS is made through process of elimination.
Today’s post comes from guest author Todd Bennett from Rehm, Bennett & Moore.
Representing clients with chronic pain is both one of the hardest and most rewarding parts of my job.
The International Association for the Study of Pain sets forth four diagnostic criteria for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS):
- an initiating event,
- continuous pain,
- edema, temperature, or color differences affecting a limb, and
- excluding all other causes.
These criteria are vague but, because diagnosis of CRPS is elusive, they are the established criteria for a physician identifying and treating chronic pain that cannot be attributed to any other cause.
When your doctor believes the pain you are experiencing is out of proportion to your examination findings and the severity of your injury, it creates a problem. However, this is quite common when suffering from complex regional pain syndrome. While those who suffer from CRPS are often frurstrated because the exact cause of the pain cannot be proven, the medical literature confirms that this disease, and the resulting pain, is real!
The 3 stages of complex regional pain syndrome, ie. chronic pain, are variable but the descriptions below show how the disease can progress: Continue reading