Purpose of the review: Non-medical therapeutic approaches are fundamental to the management of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) in order to promote the best outcome for patients. This review focuses on three key approaches underpinning CRPS rehabilitation, namely: physiotherapy and occupational therapy, psychological approaches and education and self-management.
Recent Findings: Recently published European standards outline the quality of therapeutic care that people with CRPS must receive. Early initiated therapy is essential to optimise outcomes, underpinned by patient education. Therapists should promote early movement of the affected limb and encourage re-engagement with usual activities as immobilisation is known to have negative outcomes. There is evidence to support the possible long-term benefit of graded motor imagery and mirror therapy. Psychological assessment should include identification of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, as treatment of these conditions may improve the trajectory of CRPS. Novel therapies include neurocognitive approaches and those addressing spatial bias, both of which should provide a focus for future research.
Summary: There exists a broad range of non-medical therapeutic approaches to rehabilitation for CPRS that are thought to be important. However, the evidence for their efficacy is limited. Further research using standardised outcomes would be helpful in developing targeted therapies for the future.
Boichat, C., Llewellyn, A., Grieve, S., & McCabe, C. (2020). The role of non-medical therapeutic approaches in the rehabilitation of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Current Treatment Options in Rheumatology, 6, 299-311. https://doi.org/10.1007/s40674-020-00156-9