Data comparison made easy! A Core Outcome Measurement set for complex regional PAin syndrome Clinical sTudies (COMPACT)

This work was driven by a mutual desire to advance the understanding of the mechanisms and management of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). For many years, some of us working in the field of CRPS have been frustrated by the challenges of synthesising research evidence. Specifically, the absence of an international, standardised set of … [Read more...]

Oldies but Goodies – What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – in plain English

Over this holiday season we are posting the most read articles from the last five years.  Here is the first. What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome – in plain English What is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome? Well, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is exactly that Complex: Many, many different problems have been identified in people with … [Read more...]

The healthy hand in the CRPS brain –  digging deeper

‘Cortical reorganisation’ is a commonly used term in pain. In CRPS there has long been evidence of cortical changes; specifically that representation of the CRPS-affected hand in the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) is smaller than that of the S1 representation of the other, healthy, hand [1-5]. In 2015 we performed our own functional MRI … [Read more...]

Does mirror box therapy reduce sensitivity to touch?

Mirror box therapy is best known for its use in treating phantom limb pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and paralysis after stroke. It only appears to help a small proportion of patients [1] and understanding the sensory processes that occur during the therapy may help us to discover why this is the case and how it could be adapted to … [Read more...]

Anaesthetizing forearm decreases sensorimotor impairment and cortical excitability in CRPS

When reading this title some people who work in the pain field might think: why anaesthetize the forearm when the hand is in pain? Actually, this “first step approach” was not intended to interrupt pain chronicity but to increase knowledge in basic pain physiology. Sometimes, the overall aim to alleviate pain can put us under pressure and can … [Read more...]

Movement representation techniques: it’s a fuzzy name, but it might just work!

A systematic review and meta-analysis has just come out in The Journal of Pain looking at the efficacy of “movement representation techniques” for people with limb pain. Now, you might ask “what is a movement representation technique”? Well, according to the authors of this review, a movement representation technique can encompass any therapy that … [Read more...]

Could your state of mind influence CRPS recovery?

We know that recovery from Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is variable: whilst some people make a relatively full recovery in a few months, others are left with pain and symptoms that persist for years [2].  What factors might influence this recovery process?  Current theories argue that in a way, CRPS can be viewed as an overprotective … [Read more...]

A Virtual Balloon-Popping Task for Kids with CRPS

Virtual reality (VR) has been used to treat pain for over twenty years. Initial attempts took advantage of the immersive, interactive qualities of VR to distract patients who were undergoing painful procedures; for example, by sending burn patients through a snowy virtual world with animated snowmen while their wounds were being cleaned [1].  Later … [Read more...]

Specific autoantibodies in patients with longstanding CRPS

We recently published a study on antibodies found in the blood of patients with longstanding Complex Regional Pain Syndrome [1]. Antibodies are substances produced by the body’s immune system. Their best-known role is to fight infection. However sometimes they go wrong, and bind to the body’s own cells, causing dysfunction or damage. These … [Read more...]

Painful view on motor actions

Imagine you sprained your wrist. It’s aching, swollen and reddish. You want to move the hand to see if it is ok, but the fear of pain makes you hesitate and it takes extra effort to do it. Even thinking about movement can be unpleasant and you focus on doing things with the healthy hand. After days and weeks, as the trauma heals, the pain passes … [Read more...]