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Best Physical Therapy's Health Information Library

Here, we have gathered health articles on almost every major subject in healthcare. Please explore, enjoy, and share this free resource provided by Best Physical Therapy

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition. It causes intense pain, usually in the arms, hands, legs, or feet. It may happen after an injury, either to a nerve or to tissue in the affected area. Rest and time may only make it worse.

Symptoms in the affected area are

  • Dramatic changes in skin temperature, color, or texture
  • Intense burning pain
  • Extreme skin sensitivity
  • Swelling and stiffness in affected joints
  • Decreased ability to move the affected body part

The cause of CRPS is unknown. There is no specific diagnostic test. Your doctor will diagnose CRPS based on your signs and symptoms.

There is no cure. It can get worse over time, and may spread to other parts of the body. Occasionally the symptoms go away, either temporarily or for good. Treatment focuses on relieving the pain, and can include medicines, physical therapy, and nerve blocks.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Peripheral Nerve Disorders

Your peripheral nerves are the ones outside your brain and spinal cord. Like static on a telephone line, peripheral nerve disorders distort or interrupt the messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

There are more than 100 kinds of peripheral nerve disorders. They can affect one nerve or many nerves. Some are the result of other diseases, like diabetic nerve problems. Others, like Guillain-Barre syndrome, happen after a virus infection. Still others are from nerve compression, like carpal tunnel syndrome or thoracic outlet syndrome. In some cases, like complex regional pain syndrome and brachial plexus injuries, the problem begins after an injury. Some people are born with peripheral nerve disorders.

Symptoms often start gradually, and then get worse. They include

  • Numbness
  • Pain
  • Burning or tingling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sensitivity to touch

Treatment aims to treat any underlying problem, reduce pain and control symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Autonomic Nervous System Disorders

Your autonomic nervous system is the part of your nervous system that controls involuntary actions, such as the beating of your heart and the widening or narrowing of your blood vessels. When something goes wrong in this system, it can cause serious problems, including

  • Blood pressure problems
  • Heart problems
  • Trouble with breathing and swallowing
  • Erectile dysfunction in men

Autonomic nervous system disorders can occur alone or as the result of another disease, such as Parkinson's disease, alcoholism and diabetes. Problems can affect either part of the system, as in complex regional pain syndromes, or all of the system. Some types are temporary, but many worsen over time. When they affect your breathing or heart function, these disorders can be life-threatening.

Some autonomic nervous system disorders get better when an underlying disease is treated. Often, however, there is no cure. In that case, the goal of treatment is to improve symptoms.

NIH: National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Neuromuscular Disorders

Neuromuscular disorders affect your neuromuscular system. They can cause problems with

  • The nerves that control your muscles
  • Your muscles
  • Communication between your nerves and muscles

These disorders can cause your muscles to become weak and waste away. You may also have symptoms such as spasms, twitching, and pain.

Examples of neuromuscular disorders include

  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Muscular dystrophy
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Spinal muscular atrophy

There can be different causes for these diseases. Many of them are genetic.This means they are inherited (run in families) or are caused by a new mutation in your genes. Some neuromuscular disorders are autoimmune diseases. Sometimes the cause is unknown.

Many neuromuscular diseases have no cure. But treatments may improve symptoms, increase mobility, and lengthen life.

Neurologic Diseases

The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.

There are more than 600 neurologic diseases. Major types include

  • Diseases caused by faulty genes, such as Huntington's disease and muscular dystrophy
  • Problems with the way the nervous system develops, such as spina bifida
  • Degenerative diseases, where nerve cells are damaged or die, such as Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease
  • Diseases of the blood vessels that supply the brain, such as stroke
  • Injuries to the spinal cord and brain
  • Seizure disorders, such as epilepsy
  • Cancer, such as brain tumors
  • infections, such as meningitis