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Does complex regional pain syndrome qualify for workers’ comp?

On Behalf of | May 29, 2020 | Workplace injuries

Your New York City workers’ compensation claim may not as simple as obtaining reimbursement for the costs of a broken leg. This might prove especially true if your injury exacerbated a preexisting condition. 

Complex regional pain syndrome is an example of a condition that is not widely understood and generally remains undiagnosed until a secondary event, such as a sprained ankle, brings awareness to it. Therefore, CRPS may be a complicated, but justifiable, workers’ compensation case. 

What is CRPS? 

According to WebMD, complex regional pain syndrome is a chronic pain condition, defined as lasting for a period of six months or more. The primary indicator of CRPS is severe, enduring pain that mainly presents in the extremities and often worsens over time. Other common symptoms include: 

  • Muscle weakness or spasms 
  • Persistent burning sensation 
  • Skin discoloration 
  • Swelling and stiffness 
  • Temperature sensitivity 

While the specific cause of CRPS remains unknown, some health providers believe that it may originate from nerve damage. Doctors may also specify one of two versions of the condition: Type 1 is nerve damage that occurs after an unrelated injury; Type 2 stems from direct damage sustained from the injury. While most CRPS patients become aware of the condition after an injury, it may also present after cancer, heart attack, infection or stroke. 

Can a work-related injury cause CRPS? 

In short, yes. If you sustain nerve damage from an accident at work, there is a chance that you could develop CRPS. Plus, even if you already have a diagnosis of CRPS, an injury on the job could cause your condition to flare up. While it may seem reasonable for an employer or insurer to deny liability for a chronic preexisting disorder, the simple truth is that the workplace injury most likely worsened your condition.