Feature Article

Complex regional pain syndrome. An early diagnosis improves outcomes

Feature Article

Complex regional pain syndrome. An early diagnosis improves outcomes

Christopher Woodgate, Esther Dube

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© SLPHOTOGRAPHY/ ISTOCKPHOTO.COM MODEL USED FOR ILLUSTRATIVE PURPOSES ONLY

Abstract

The underlying causes of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) are poorly understood. Treatment should be patient centred and holistic, with a focus on both physical restoration of function and psychological support. A strong suspicion of CRPS-like features should warrant referral of the patient to a specialised pain team.

Key Points

  • Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is poorly understood and is diagnosed clinically with knowledge of the Budapest criteria.
  • Early diagnosis and management of patients with CRPS is crucial to successful recovery.
  • Therapies aimed at re-establishing physical and social functioning are associated with the best outcomes in people with CRPS.
  • Patients with CRPS-like features should be referred early to a specialised pain service.