Hope for Patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome - EMJ

Research Offers Hope for Patients With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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NEW research, led by NeuRA’s Centre for Pain IMPACT, Neuroscience Research Australia, Sydney, Australia, in collaboration with the University of South Australia, gives hope to millions worldwide suffering from complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). 

This chronic and debilitating pain disorder, often considered lifelong with limited treatment options, now shows promising signs of significant recovery within just 18 months of early detection and effective treatment. The study reveals that up to 80% of patients experience recovery within this timeframe. 

CRPS, triggered by trauma such as surgery or fracture, manifests as severe pain localised to a single limb, often persisting beyond typical recovery periods. The disorder also brings issues with sweating, temperature regulation, and mobility, disproportionately affecting females. 

Lead researcher Michael Ferraro, Centre for Pain IMPACT, emphasises the study’s paradigm shift, challenging the notion of CRPS as an incurable burden. Ferraro emphasises that early diagnosis and a comprehensive treatment approach, including education, pain medication, rehabilitation, and psychological support, can lead to remarkable recovery. 

Co-researcher Professor Lorimer Moseley, IMPACT in Health, University of South Australia, Adelaide, Australia, also praised the research as it not only provides optimism for patients with CRPS, but also represents a significant leap forward in understanding and treating this challenging condition. “This is a major step towards better understanding CPRS. While more research is needed, our review highlights that biological and psychosocial factors are involved, and successful management of the disorder should target these factors. The next steps will require national and international networks of researchers to test the most promising treatments in clinical trials.” 



Ferraro M.C et al. Complex regional pain syndrome: advances in epidemiology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and treatment. Lancet Neurology. 2024;23(5):522-33

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