Editor-in-Chief: Alaa Abd-Elsayed, MD, PhD
BACKGROUND: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a pain condition associated with autonomic and inflammatory features and is characterized by pain that is disproportionate in magnitude to the typical pain after similar injuries. The pathophysiology of CRPS is poorly understood, and many events have been implicated as causative factors.
CASE REPORT: There are 2 previously documented case reports of CRPS after epidural steroid injections (ESI). This case report details the development of CRPS symptoms in a patient after receiving a cervical ESI. The precipitating event could have been trauma to a nerve root, nerve root irritation from the injectate, or contrast media reaction. Treatment focused on physical therapy and early intervention with a stellate ganglion block. The patient had complete resolution of her symptoms after 10 months.
CONCLUSIONS: Although rare, CRPS due to direct nerve root injury or nerve root irritation can develop after an ESI; early diagnosis and treatment may result in a better outcome.
KEY WORDS: Complex regional pain syndrome, CRPS, epidural steroid injections, TFESI, ILESI