What is Causalgia?

Causalgia is the term used to define a rare pain syndrome associated with peripheral nervous system. In other words, it is nothing but the continuous burning pain caused in your arms or legs due to partial injuries in peripheral nerves. The nerves of peripheral nervous system travel a long way, beginning their course from central nervous system and reaching limbs and organs via spinal cord.

What Causes It?

Injuries to nerves running from your neck to arm, also known as brachial plexus injuries are thought to be the main cause of Causalgia. This type of injury results in the interruption of neural signals leading to pain in that particular part. Moreover, a neurotransmitter known as norepinephrine is released in large quantities which in turn results in vascular symptoms.

Apart from these, injuries caused in an accident, a gunshot wound, infections, fractures and ankle or wrist sprains also contribute to the list of factors responsible for causing this condition.


  • Prominent burning pain in foot or hand that usually begins during the same day of the injury caused.
  • Expansion or contraction of blood vessels leads to increased or decreased flow of blood. These are the vascular changes caused due to the injury.
  • Some other symptoms such as tapering fingers, scaly skin, hair loss, ridged nails, still joints and changes in sweating pattern are also indicators of Causalgia.

How Is Causalgia Treated?

Treatment options include:

  • Anesthetic Injections:

Localized anesthesia is given in the form a series of injections known as sympathetic block to obstruct specific signals coming from the sympathetic nervous system. About 18 to 25% of the patients were relieved of pain through this process.

  • Surgical Sympathectomy:

This surgery is performed to block some of the nerve signals. More than 80% of the patients were pain free after undergoing this surgery.

Early diagnosis of Causalgia can lead to full recovery of the patient.

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