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Complex regional pain syndrome and chiropractic


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Clinical trial


Structural and chiropractic

J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2000 Sep;23(7):490-7


J M Muir, H Vernon


Objective: Complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS) represent curious and difficult syndromes for both patient and clinician. CRPS presents as a triad of signs and symptoms, usually after a seemingly trivial injury to a peripheral joint or appendage. The clinical triad includes severe pain, vasomotor changes in and around the affected area, and trophic changes in the affected limb. Many of the acute symptoms are similar to those seen after many acute injuries, which makes an early diagnosis often times difficult. Current treatment protocols revolve around aggressive physical therapy plus pharmacologic interventions aimed at limiting sympathetic nervous system activity.Objective: To review the literature on CRPS regarding symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and causal mechanisms and to discuss alternative treatment approaches and the possible role of chiropractic care in patient rehabilitation.Data sources: Texts, review articles, and randomized clinical trials investigating treatments, causes, and epidemiology.Conclusions: Recent research calls into question the predominant theories that view excessive sympathetic nervous system activity as the cause of CRPS. No evidence of an increase in sympathetic nervous system activity has been found, and new theories suggest that an increase in the sensitivity of neurotransmitter receptors may be the cause of CRPS. Alternatively, other research has suggested that a local inflammatory process may in fact cause CRPS. Although no research has been completed examining the role of chiropractic care in the treatment of CRPS, there is reason to believe that spinal manipulation may be beneficial to patients with CRPS.

Publication Date: 

2000 Sep



Muir, MJ., Vernon, H. (2000) 'Complex regional pain syndrome and chiropractic', J Manipulative Physiol Ther.2000 Sep;23(7):490-7

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