Diagnosing complex regional pain syndrome 

There is no single test for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). It is usually diagnosed by ruling out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

As a result, it can take a long time for a confident diagnosis of CRPS to be made. It's estimated that the average length of time between the start of symptoms and a diagnosis is up to two years.


Some of the tests you may have to rule out other conditions can include:

A physical examination may also be carried out by your GP or another specialist to check for physical signs of CRPS, such as swelling and changes to your skin’s temperature and appearance.

A diagnosis of CRPS can usually be made if you have clear symptoms of the condition and no other possible cause can be found.


If you are diagnosed with CRPS, you will usually be referred to a local specialist pain clinic. These are mostly located within hospitals.

Referrals are ideally made as soon as possible to ensure treatment can be started quickly, because treatment can often improve functionality of the limb and may improve pain levels.

Page last reviewed: 09/05/2014

Next review due: 09/05/2016