Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 114-123

First online:

Complex regional pain syndromes

  • Ralf BaronAffiliated withKlinik für Neurologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
  • , Gunnar WasnerAffiliated withKlinik für Neurologie, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel

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Complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS) (formerly reflex sympathetic dystrophy and causalgia) are neuropathic pain conditions that are initiated by an extremity trauma or peripheral nerve lesion. Clinical definition and scientific understanding of CRPS are still evolving; however, both the clinical picture and therapeutic options are significantly influenced by a dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system. Recent investigations suggest functional central abnormalities and a peripheral inflammatory component in the pathophysiology of CRPS. Interdisciplinary treatment includes physical, pharmacologic, and invasive interventional therapy, as well as stimulation techniques.