For most people who are diagnosed with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), they are unfamiliar with the term – but they are familiar with the condition’s symptoms. Although CRPS can sometimes be mild in some cases, it can also be severe enough to be debilitating. One question that might be on your mind as a CRPS patient is whether or not it can validate a workers’ compensation claim and allow you to receive necessary benefits.
What is CRPS?
Complex regional pain syndrome can happen after suffering any injury, whether it is mild or severe. Many cases develop after a serious injury heals, but it has been seen in after minor aches and pains. CRPS can also begin after surgery, stroke, or heart attack.
The symptoms of CRPS are usually unexplained pain and hypersensitivity to pain, touch, heat, pressure, etc., generally manifesting in the arms and legs. Even if the original injury does not involve an arm or leg at all, such as after abdominal surgery, CRPS will most likely appear in a limb. CRPS is difficult to treat because the cause is not fully understood. It is believed to be a faulty central nervous system response to an injury, and it might be exacerbated by mental health difficulties.
Using your arms, legs, hands, and feet as normal with complex regional pain syndrome can be extremely difficult due to the constant pain and hypersensitivity issues. The condition will only get worse, though, if it migrates to other parts of your body. There are cases in which a patient had reported CRPS in one hand, only for it to slowly move up their arm or move to an entirely new body part while still affecting where it began.
What Do Doctors Do to Treat CRPS?
The main form of medical treatment for complex regional pain syndrome is pain management and care. Specialized doctors and therapists can diagnose your condition and find a way for you to control the pain throughout the day. Physical therapy and medications are simple ways to try to alleviate the pain of CRPS.
The hypersensitivity caused by CRPS is much more difficult to alleviate, though. Painkillers can sometimes cause numbness that lowers sensitivity. Although, CRPS has no known permanent cure, so painkillers are likely out of the question to avoid putting you on a lifelong regimen of medications that could bring dangerous side effects.
Does Georgia Workers’ Comp Cover CRPS?
As can be seen, complex regional pain syndrome is a health concern as complicated as it is debilitating. Your normal job duties could be impossible or extremely difficult due to your chronic pain and hypersensitivity in your limbs. If you cannot complex your work as before, then you might be eligible to file for workers’ compensation coverage. The catch is your original injury believed to have triggered your CRPS must be work-related.
For example, you slip on wet tiling in your office, fall, and break your wrist. After the injury heals, you start to experience CRPS symptoms in that arm. If your doctor believes there is a connection between your wrist injury and your CRPS, then you could get new or continued workers’ compensation benefits.
In Georgia, CRPS can be given a “catastrophic designation” due to its permanence and potential to cause constant, severe pain. A catastrophic designation allows you to receive disability benefits and it could pay for necessary medical treatments beyond the usual 400-week limitation on workers’ comp medical benefits in the state. It is important to get a prognosis from your treating doctor to understand how long your condition could last and if it should be considered “catastrophic” according to the Georgia workers’ compensation program.
Have Questions? Get Answers
The Law Offices of Nathaniel F. Hansford, LLC in Atlanta, Georgia can help you understand your options if you have been diagnosed with CRPS after a workplace injury. Our law firm is entirely committed to protecting and upholding the rights of injured workers just like you. This is what we have done for years, allowing our reputation for compassionate, client-centric casework to grow. See what we can do for you by calling (770) 629-9321 and arranging a free case evaluation.