Neglect-like symptoms in complex regional pain syndrome: results of a self-administered survey

J Pain Symptom Manage. 1999 Sep;18(3):213-7. doi: 10.1016/s0885-3924(99)00076-7.


Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), recently reclassified as a complex regional pain syndrome, type I (CRPS-I), is best known for its disabling sensory symptoms, including pain, allodynia, and abnormal skin temperature. Yet, motor dysfunction is common in CRPS and can result in major disability. In addition to weakness of the involved limb, CRPS patients may develop symptoms akin to a neurological neglect-like syndrome, whereby the limb may feel foreign ("cognitive neglect") and directed mental and visual attention is needed to move the limb ("motor neglect"). Members of the patient support group, the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA), were mailed a questionnaire inserted in their newsletter which inquired about the presence of these neglect-like symptoms; in addition, a separate medical history questionnaire was included to assess adequate documentation for the diagnosis of CRPS. A total of 242 patients returned the questionnaire but only 224 of the questionnaires were analyzed; 15 were excluded due to inadequate documentation of CRPS and 3 were excluded due to non-limb involvement. Eighty-four percent (84%) of these respondents endorsed the presence of at least one neglect symptom and 47% indicated they had both "cognitive" and "motor" neglect symptoms. Of interest, approximately 33% of respondents spontaneously wrote comments regarding the significant disability due to these neglect symptoms and the difficulty explaining these unusual symptoms to their health care providers and family. This patient survey confirms the presence of neglect-like symptoms in a subset of CRPS patients. Neglect-like symptoms need to be addressed and validated by health care providers.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Attention / physiology
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement / physiology
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires