July 7, 2019

RAPM article published - Osman Alam, MD

Phenotypic Features of Patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Compared to Those with Neuropathic Pain (article coming soon)

Osman H Alam, MD,1 Bilal Zaidi, BS,Jennifer Pierce, PhD,1 Stephanie E Moser, PhD,1 Paul E Hilliard, MD,Goodarz Golmirzaie, MD,1 Chad M Brummett, MD1

1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Michigan, 2University of Cincinnati College of Medicine

Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic pain condition in which patients have severe pain in an extremity. They often have allodynia (pain in response to nonpainful stimuli, such as clothing or bedsheets) and hyperalgesia (severe pain in response to a less painful stimulus) in the affected area as well as swelling, sweating changes, and changes to skin color and temperature. While CRPS is a very debilitating pain condition, it is very poorly understood. Patients often have features of neuropathic pain (pain related to peripheral nerves) but clinicians know that the brain and spinal cord are also involved. In this study, we compared patients with CRPS to patients with neuropathic pain of the extremities with the aim of better understanding CRPS. We ultimately found that patients with CRPS have worse physical functioning and more neuropathic pain symptoms (such as pain with light touch, pain with cold or heat, sensation of numbness, and pain with light pressure) than patients with neuropathic pain of the extremities. There were no differences between the two groups in pain severity, depression, anxiety, and catastrophizing.