Pediatric complex regional pain syndrome: a review

Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2016 Apr 29;14(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s12969-016-0090-8.


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic, intensified localized pain condition that can affect children and adolescents as well as adults, but is more common among adolescent girls. Symptoms include limb pain; allodynia; hyperalgesia; swelling and/or changes in skin color of the affected limb; dry, mottled skin; hyperhidrosis and trophic changes of the nails and hair. The exact mechanism of CRPS is unknown, although several different mechanisms have been suggested. The diagnosis is clinical, with the aid of the adult criteria for CRPS. Standard care consists of a multidisciplinary approach with the implementation of intensive physical therapy in conjunction with psychological counseling. Pharmacological treatments may aid in reducing pain in order to allow the patient to participate fully in intensive physiotherapy. The prognosis in pediatric CRPS is favorable.

Keywords: CRPS; Chronic pain; Complex regional pain syndrome; Pain amplification syndrome; Pediatric.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analgesics / pharmacology*
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes* / diagnosis
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes* / physiopathology
  • Complex Regional Pain Syndromes* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pain Management / methods
  • Pain Measurement / methods
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Prognosis
  • Psychological Techniques*
  • Sex Factors


  • Analgesics