Case Report

Complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS) type 1 validating case histories

P. Berger
South African Journal of Physiotherapy | Vol 59, No 1 | a195 | DOI: | © 2003 P. Berger | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 12 January 2003 | Published: 12 January 2003

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P. Berger, Acupuncture and Rehabilitation at the Essence of Life Centre. Consultant physiotherapist Rand Multi-Disciplinary Pain Clinic and Pain Relief and Research Unit Dept of Anaesthesiology Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital Johannesburg, South Africa

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The treatment of patients with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) type 1 is challenging and unpredictable as the condition presents with vascular and neuropathic symptoms after nil or even minor injury to a peripheral nerve. The condition is one of a pain and motor dysfunction. The pathophysiology is not well understood and the relief of symptoms may change from being sympathetically mediated to sympathetically independent during  the course of the disease. At any stage physiotherapy has been advocated as the corner stone and most important aspect of treatment in the rehabilitation of these individuals but unfortunately it has been difficult to execute when pain is exacerbated due to allodynia (unbearable to touch or move) and hyperalgesia. Best results have been obtained if the patients are recognised and treated in the early or acute phase and it has been found that through careful assessment and analysis these patients can be recognised by previous events that have occurred in their initial case history. The treatment in the acute stage with physiotherapy modalities such as electrical stimulation and acupuncture will produce an early cessation of the symptoms and prevention of the disease developing into the fully blown CRPS type 1 with irreversible and possibly atrophic consequences. Case histories have been presented that illustrate these important aspects and demonstrate  the value of early and the appropriate physiotherapy that may be more successful than other pharmacological and physical interventions in this disease.


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Crossref Citations

1. Report of a focus group survey of current practice in the therapeutic treatment of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in the United Kingdom
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doi: 10.1177/175899830801300202