Skip to main content

Complex regional pain syndrome: A new name for reflex sympathetic dystrophy and causalgia

Abstract

The syndrome termedreflex sympathetic dystrophy, first named in the 1940s, has acquired many synonyms that often reflect the medical specialty of the indiviclual who is describing it. Although this term is accepted in English-speaking countries, it does little to provide a clinical description, and does not encourage those who would investigate its pathophysiology. This article is an attempt to change the contemporary thinking by introducing a purely descriptive taxonomy.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References and Recommended Reading

  1. Evans JA:Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.Surg Clin North Am 1946,26:780–790.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Sudeck P:Ñber die akute (reflectorische) Knochenatrophie nach Zntzündungen und Verletzungen an den Extremitäten und Ihre Klinischen Erscheinungen.Fortschvr Geb Roentgenstr 1901,5:277–293.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bouvier M, Lejeune E, Bocquet B, Richard D:Circonstances d apparition des algoneurodystro phies.Rheumatologie 1973,25:27–32.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Rénier JC, Cheguillaume J:Une observation associant des paraostéoarthropathies et un rheumatisme neurotrophique chez une malade opérée d un glioblastomé cérebral.Rev Rheum Mal Osteoartic 1966,33:478–481.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Atkins RM, Duckworth T, Kanis JA:Algodystrophy following Colles fracture.Br J Hand Surg 1989,14B:161–164.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Bickerstaff DR, Kanis JA:Algodystrophy: an under-recognized complication of minor trauma.Br J Rheumatol 1994,33:240–248. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Mitchell SW:Injuries of nerves and their consequences. 1872. (American Academy of Neurology Reprint Series). New York: Dover Publications; 1965.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Kleinert HE, Cole NM, Wayne L,et al.:Post-traumatic sympathetic dystrophy.Orthop Clin North Am 1973,4:917–927. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Baer RD:Shoulder-hand syndrome: its recognition and management.South Med J 1966,59:790–794.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Herrmann CT, Reincke HG, Caldwell A:Post-traumatic painful osteoporosis: a clinical and roentgenological entity.Am J Roentgenol 1942,47:353–361.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Fontaine R, Herrmann L:Post-traumatic osteoporosis.Ann Surg 1933,17:26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Bernstein BH, Singsen BH, Kent JT,et al.:Reflex neuromuscular dystrophy in childhood.J Pediatr 1978,93:211–215. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Laxer RN, Allen RC, Malleson PN,et al.:Reflex neurovascular dystrophy in children.Arthritis Rheum 1984,27:S18.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Bonica JJ:The Management of Pain Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger; 1953: 948.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Bonica JJ:The Management of Pain. Edited by Bonica JJ Philadelphia: Lea & Febiger; 1990: 220–243.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Mitchell SW, Morehouse CR, Keane WW:Gunshot Wounds and Other Injuries of the Nerves. Philadelphia: Lippincott; 1864.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Leriche R:La Chirurgie del la Douleur. Paris: Massont C and Cie; 1939.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Leriche R:De la causalgie, envisagee comme une nevrite due sympathique et desson traitement par la denudation et l excision des plexus nerveux periartieriels.Presse Med 1916,24:178–180.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Livingston WK:Pain Mechanisms: A Physiologic Interpretation of Causalgia and its Related States New York: MacMillan; 1943.

    Google Scholar 

  20. Lewis T:Pain. London: MacMillan; 1942.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Walker AE, Nulsen F:Electrical stimulation of the upper thoracic portion of the sympathetic chain in man.Arch Neurol Psychiatr 1948,59:559–560.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  22. Bernard C:Sur les nerfs vasculaires et caloriques du grand sympathique (Comptes rendus d L Acad. Des Sciences), vol XXXLV; 1852.

  23. Bernard CL:Influence du grand sympathique sur la sensibilité et sur la calorification.C R Soc Biol (Paris) 1851,3:163–164.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Bennett GJ, Xie YK:A peripheral modern neuropathy in rat that produces disorders of pain sensation like those seen in man.Pain 1988,33:87–107. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  25. Seltzer Z, Dubner R, Shir Y:A novel behavioral model of neuropathic pain disorders produced in rats by partial sciatic nerve injury.Pain 1990,43:205–218. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  26. Kim SH, Chung JM:An experimental model for peripheral neuropathy produced by segmental spine nerve ligation in the rat.Pain 1992,50:335–363.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Jänig W, Blumberg H, Boas RA, Campbell JM:The reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome: consensus statement and general recommendations for diagnosis and clinical research.In InPain Research and Clinical Management, vol 4, Proc. VI World Congress on Pain. Edited by Bond NR, Charlton JJ, Woolf CF. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1991: 373–376.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Jänig W:Pathobiology of reflex sympathetic dystrophy: Some general considerations.In InReflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Edited by Stanton-Hicks M, Jänig W, Boas RA. Boston: Kluwer; 1990: 41–54.

    Google Scholar 

  29. Jänig W:Pain and the sympathetic nervous system: pathophysiological mechanisms.In InAutonomic Failure. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 1992: 231–251.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Jänig W:Is the reflex sympathetic dystrophy a neurological disease? In InReflex Sympathetic Dystrophy: Pathophysiological Mechanisms and Clinical Implications. Edited by Jänig W and Schmidt RF; Weinheim: VCH Verlagsgesellschaft; 1992: 9–27.

    Google Scholar 

  31. Bossut DF, Perl ER:Sympathectomy produces novel adrenergic excitation of cutaneous nociceptors.Soc Neurosci Abstr 1992,18:284.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Koltzenburg GN, McMahon SB:The enigmatic role of the sympathetic nervous system in chronic pain.Trends Pharmacol Sci 1991,12:399–402. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  33. Roberts WJ:A hypothesis on the physiological basis for causalgia and related pains.Pain 1986,24:297–311. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  34. Torebjörk E, Hallin RG:Perceptual changes accompanying controlled preferential blocking of A 2 and C-fiber responses in intact human skin nerves.Ext Brain Res 1973,16:321–332.

    Google Scholar 

  35. Campbell JN, Meyer RA, Raja SN:Is nociceptor activation by alpha-1 adrenoceptors the culprit in sympathetically maintained pain? Am Pain Soc J 1992,1:3–11.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Raja SN, Treede RD, Davis KD, Campbell JN:Systemic alpha-adrenergic blockade with phentolamine: A diagnostic test for sympathetically-maintained pain.Anesthesiology 1991,74:691–698. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  37. Classification of Chronic Pain.Descriptions of Chronic Pain Syndromes and Definitions of Pain Terms. Edited by Merskey H, Bogduk N. Seattle: IASP Press; 1994.

    Google Scholar 

  38. IASP Subcommittee on Taxonomy:Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.Pain 1986,26 (suppl. 3):S29.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Seklowitz DM:The sympathetic nervous system in neuromotor function and dysfunction and pain: a brief review and discussion.Funct Neurol 1992,7:89–95. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Schwartzman RJ:Reflex sympathetic dystrophy.In InSpinal Cord Trauma. Edited by Frank HL. Amsterdam: Elsevier; 1992: 121–136.

    Google Scholar 

  41. Bentley JB, Hameroff SR:Diffuse reflex sympathetic dystrophy.Anesthesiology 1983,53:256–257.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Of importance Stanton-Hicks M, Jänig W, Hassenbusch S,et al.:Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: changing concepts and taxonomy.Pain 1995,63:127–133. Because of the proposed change in taxonomy, this article sets the tone for a more pragmatic approach to the clinical management and unbiased direction for basic research into mechanistic aspects of this disease. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  43. Veldman PHJM, Reynen HM, Arntz IE, Goris RJA:Signs and symptoms of reflex sympathetic dystrophy: a prospective study of 829 patients.Lancet 1993,342:1012–1016. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  44. Jancovic J, van der Linden C:Dystonia and tremor induced by peripheral trauma: predisposing factors.J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 1988,51:1512–1519. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Hunker CJ, Backonja M:The progression of movement disorders in patients with RSD.Soc Neurosci Abstr 1992,18:1593.

    Google Scholar 

  46. Bhatia KP, Bhatt MH, Marsden CD:The causalgia-dystonia syndrome.Brain 1993,116:843–851. ▸ View thePubMed notation for this reference.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  47. Raja SN:Reflex sympathetic dystrophy: pathophysiological basis for therapy.Pain Digest 1992,2:278.

    Google Scholar 

  48. Stanton-Hicks M:Use of regional anesthetics for diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy and sympathetically maintained pain: a critical evaluation.In InProgress in Pain Research and Management. Edited by Janig W, Stanton-Hicks M. Seattle: IASP Press; 1996: 217–237.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Stanton-Hicks, M. Complex regional pain syndrome: A new name for reflex sympathetic dystrophy and causalgia. Curr Pain Headache Rep 1, 34–40 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02938148

Download citation

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02938148

Keywords

  • Neuropathic Pain
  • Dystonia
  • Sympathetic Nervous System
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy