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Chiropractic Research Review

A Chiropractic Role in Treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome?

Formerly diagnosed as "causalgia" or "reflex sympathetic dystrophy," among other terms, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) remains a clinical enigma. Despite all that is known about CRPS, this condition can be a significant diagnostic and treatment dilemma for clinicians and patients, particularly because many of its initial symptoms are the same as those seen in acute injuries, which often precede CRPS.

This literature review investigates epidemiology, causation and treatment of CRPS.

The authors discuss such topics as:

* new classifications for causalgia and reflex sympathetic dystrophy;

* clinical signs and symptoms of CRPS;

* progression of symptoms and severity;

* physical examination and associated testing;

* underlying pathophysiologic mechanisms; and

* established treatment protocols.

Recent research questions excessive sympathetic nervous system activity as the exclusive cause of CRPS, with new theories suggesting that increased sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors or local inflammatory processes may contribute to the condition. The authors urge research into the potential role that spinal manipulation may play in resolving CRPS, stating: "...there is reason to believe that spinal manipulation may be beneficial in patients with CRPS."

Muir JM, Vernon H. Complex regional pain syndrome and chiropractic. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, Sept. 2000:23(7), pp490-97.
Reprints: Tel: (800) 325-4177 (ext. 4350); Fax: (314) 432-1380

Chiropractic Research Review

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