Complex regional pain syndromes in children and adolescents

Pediatr Int. 2008 Aug;50(4):523-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1442-200X.2008.02625.x.


Background: The purpose of the present paper was to assess efficiency of treatment and long-term functional outcome of complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS) in children who were treated in the chronic pain clinic at a major tertiary hospital in Israel.

Methods: The files of 14 children with CRPS were analyzed retrospectively. Demographic data, initiating event, referring source, time needed for referral to pain clinic, clinical evaluation, treatment, recurrence and complications were recorded.

Results: Fourteen children with CRPS types I and II were included in the study. Girls were affected in 71%. Lower extremities were affected in 57%. The median time from onset of symptoms to seeking medical help was 4.46 weeks (range 2-82 weeks). The median time to referral to pain clinic was 24.51 weeks (range 1.2-94). In 45% the referral source was the pediatrician. A total of 85.8% of patients were referred to various consultations before the pain clinic. Most children had reduced pain and improved function on non-invasive treatment approach. Invasive treatments were used in 28.5%. Full or partial recovery was accomplished in 93%. Recurrence was observed in 29%.

Conclusions: CRPS in children and adolescents is still underdiagnosed, although many of the epidemiologic features of pediatric CRPS are similar in different countries/cultures. Early recognition and management is the major factor in improving outcome and preventing resistant CRPS, but even children with delayed diagnosis still have a good outcome. The management of this disease by an experienced multidisciplinary team is recommended. Because psychosocial factors play an important role, it is recommended to provide psychological evaluation and cognitive behavioral treatment as soon as possible.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / physiopathology
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies