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CRPS is the short way to say chronic regional pain syndrome.  A nervous system disorder is the usual cause of this type of pain. An injury event, stroke or heart attack can trigger the nervous system issues. Usually, CRPS affects an extremity and is characterized by an intense pain.  This pain often exceeds what you would expect from the damage done by an injury.  As a result, CRPS and social security disability can go hand in hand.

What Is CRPS?

Chronic regional pain syndrome is most common after an injury to an extremity.  What’s troubling is that It doesn’t have to be a major trauma to cause the problem.  Some people develop a set of symptoms that don’t make sense – they exceed expectations for the type of trauma sustained.  Symptoms include intense pain, sensitivity to touch or cold, changes in skin color and temperature, swelling, muscle spasms and even problems with hair and nail growth.  Sometimes, the symptoms skip over to the opposite extremity where no injury occurred. 

It is believed that these symptoms of CRPS result from dysfunction in the sympathetic nervous system.  This part of the nervous system is where your fight or flight signals come from.  It’s your body’s response to a stressful stimulus like an injury event.  Your body will shrink the blood vessels in the area of injury, increase your breathing capacity and heart rate, and affect your alertness in response.  If your nervous system sends a bad signal, then these responses could be interpreted by your brain as pain.  That’s how CRPS and social security disability get connected.

CRPS And Social Security Disability Analysis

There’s no doubt that if you really have chronic regional pain syndrome, it will affect your functional ability.  But, that doesn’t always equal disability.  In order to meet the definition of disability, you have to have a medically determinable impairment that can be proven with medical evidence.  For CRPS and RSD patients, you have to prove persistent complaints of pain that are often out of proportion to the severity of the underlying condition.  You also must show clinical evidence of at least one of these: swelling, autonomic instability, abnormal nail or hair growth, osteoporosis or involuntary movements.

The SSA has stressed that your medical records have to show a history of these types of symptoms.  SSA guidelines require you to meet the durational requirement for benefits as well. This means that you have had CRPS for 12 months, or expect to have it for at least 12 months.  And don’t forget that there is no way around the sequential evaluation process.  You still have to prove every element of eligibility in order to get an award.

Pursuing Social Security Disability

CRPS and social security disability can be a winning combo for someone suffering and unable to work.  A diagnosis alone is never enough.  You have to prove up these cases just like any other.  Odds are that you’ll have to file an appeal of an initial denial of benefits. If you need help establishing your right to social security disability benefits, we are here to help. 

So, If you are struggling with CRPS and social security disability claims, leave a comment below.  Also, feel free to ask a question or share a concern.  And any time you are ready, give us a call.