Medical Q&As

Causalgia -what is it?

What exactly is causalgia and can it be successfully treated?

Causalgia is a burning pain that often happens as a result of injury to the hand, foot, arm or leg. The slightest stimulation of the affected area can greatly increase the pain. Intense emotions can also aggravate it. Causalgia usually happens some weeks after the injury and sufferers often take elaborate precautions to protect the affected limb. Some sufferers become very preoccupied with such protection. In most cases the pain arises because of injury to the median or the sciatic nerve. Local anaesthetic injections at the site of pain can be very beneficial to some sufferers whereas others may need to undergo a sympathectomy (a form of nerve block) in order to achieve satisfactory relief. Sometimes causalgia can be quite severe resulting in great emotional distress. Such sufferers may also need psychoactive medication such as antidepressants and some may require psychotherapy.