Outcomes of children with complex regional pain syndrome after intensive inpatient rehabilitation

PM R. 2012 May;4(5):349-54. doi: 10.1016/j.pmrj.2012.01.014. Epub 2012 Mar 30.


Objective: To examine the effectiveness of an inpatient treatment program on eliminating pain and increasing function for children with complex regional pain syndrome.

Design: A retrospective chart review and follow-up telephone survey.

Setting: A tertiary care hospital.

Patients: Retrospective chart review of 32 children admitted for treatment of complex regional pain syndrome. Nineteen completed the telephone survey.

Intervention: Intensive inpatient physical and occupation therapy in conjunction with psychological counseling, art therapy, recreational therapy, and child life specialists who focused on improving physical function and conditioning, stress management, and the development of self-efficacy related to pain and stress.

Main outcome measurements: Resolution of pain and restoration of full function by patient or family report.

Results: All the children had failed various prior treatment approaches: 34% had resolution at the time of discharge; 78% of admissions and 89% of those with follow-up had eventual resolution of pain; and 95% had full restoration of physical function at a median time from start of treatment of 2 months. Seven had recurrence and 5 were able to resolve the recurrence without further intervention from the medical community.

Conclusions: Intensive inpatient rehabilitation is effective for children with complex regional pain syndrome. Additional studies are necessary to compare this treatment with other approaches.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Inpatients*
  • Male
  • Occupational Therapy / methods*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / diagnosis
  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy / rehabilitation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Treatment Outcome