CRPS Bugle 17th Sept 2013 | #CRPS

CRPS BugleHere are some of the Cochrane Reviews relating to CRPS and chronic pain:

Local anaesthetic sympathetic blockade for complex regional pain syndrome.

Stanton TR, Wand BM, Carr DB, Birklein F, Wasner GL, O’Connell NE.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Aug 19;8:CD004598. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004598.pub3.

Neuroscience Research Australia, Randwick, Australia.

This is an update of the original Cochrane review published in The Cochrane Library, 2005, Issue 4, on local anaesthetic blockade (LASB) of the sympathetic chain used to treat complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

To assess the efficacy of LASB for the treatment of pain in CRPS and to evaluate the incidence of adverse effects of the procedure.

We updated searches of the Cochrane Pain, Palliative and Supportive Care Group Specialised Register, the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL) on the Cochrane Library (Issue 11 of 12, 2012), MEDLINE (1966 to 22/11/12), EMBASE (1974 to 22/11/12), LILACS (1982 to 22/11/12), conference abstracts of the World Congresses of the International Association for the Study of Pain (1995 to 2010), and various clinical trial registers (inception to 2012). We also searched bibliographies from retrieved articles for additional studies.

We considered for inclusion randomised controlled trials (RCTs) that evaluated the effect of sympathetic blockade with local anaesthetics in children or adults with CRPS.

The outcomes of interest were reduction in pain intensity levels, the proportion who achieved moderate or substantial pain relief, the duration of pain relief, and the presence of adverse effects in each treatment arm.

We included an additional 10 studies (combined n = 363) in this update. Overall we include 12 studies (combined n = 386). All included studies were assessed to be at high or unclear risk of bias.Three small studies compared LASB to placebo/sham. We were able to pool the results from two of these trials (intervention n = 23). Pooling did not demonstrate significant short-term benefit for LASB (in terms of the risk of a 50% reduction of pain scores).Of two studies that investigated LASB as an addition to rehabilitation treatment, the only study that reported pain outcomes demonstrated no additional benefit from LASB.Eight small randomised studies compared sympathetic blockade to another active intervention. Most studies found no difference in pain outcomes between sympathetic block and other active treatments.Only five studies reported adverse effects, all with minor effects reported.

This update has found similar results to the original systematic review. There remains a scarcity of published evidence to support the use of local anaesthetic sympathetic blockade for CRPS. From the existing evidence it is not possible to draw firm conclusions regarding the efficacy or safety of this intervention but the limited data available do not suggest that LASB is effective for reducing pain in CRPS


Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013 Sep 2;9:CD002918. [Epub ahead of print]
Cervico-thoracic or lumbar sympathectomy for neuropathic pain and complex regional pain syndrome.
Straube S, Derry S, Moore RA, Cole P.

Institute of Occupational, Social and Environmental Medicine, University Medical Center Göttingen, Waldweg 37 B, Göttingen, Germany, D-37073.


This review is an update of a review first published in Issue 2, 2003, which was substantially updated in Issue 7, 2010. The concept that many neuropathic pain syndromes (traditionally this definition would include complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS)) are “sympathetically maintained pains” has historically led to treatments that interrupt the sympathetic nervous system. Chemical sympathectomies use alcohol or phenol injections to destroy ganglia of the sympathetic chain, while surgical ablation is performed by open removal or electrocoagulation of the sympathetic chain or by minimally invasive procedures using thermal or laser interruption.

To review the evidence from randomised, double blind, controlled trials on the efficacy and safety of chemical and surgical sympathectomy for neuropathic pain, including complex regional pain syndrome. Sympathectomy may be compared with placebo (sham) or other active treatment, provided both participants and outcome assessors are blind to treatment group allocation.

On 2 July 2013, we searched CENTRAL, MEDLINE, EMBASE, and the Oxford Pain Relief Database. We reviewed the bibliographies of all randomised trials identified and of review articles and also searched two clinical trial databases, and the WHO International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, to identify additional published or unpublished data. We screened references in the retrieved articles and literature reviews and contacted experts in the field of neuropathic pain.


Randomised, double blind, placebo or active controlled studies assessing the effects of sympathectomy for neuropathic pain and CRPS.

Two review authors independently assessed trial quality and validity, and extracted data. No pooled analysis of data was possible.

Only one study satisfied our inclusion criteria, comparing percutaneous radiofrequency thermal lumbar sympathectomy with lumbar sympathetic neurolysis using phenol in 20 participants with CRPS. There was no comparison of sympathectomy versus sham or placebo. No dichotomous pain outcomes were reported. Average baseline scores of 8-9/10 on several pain scales fell to about 4/10 initially (1 day) and remained at 3-5/10 over four months. There were no significant differences between groups, except for “unpleasant sensation”, which was higher with radiofrequency ablation. One participant in the phenol group experienced post sympathectomy neuralgia, while two in the radiofrequency group and one in the phenol group complained of paraesthesia during needle positioning. All participants had soreness at the injection site.

The practice of surgical and chemical sympathectomy for neuropathic pain and CRPS is based on very little high quality evidence. Sympathectomy should be used cautiously in clinical practice, in carefully selected patients, and probably only after failure of other treatment options. In these circumstances, establishing a clinical register of sympathectomy may help to inform treatment options on an individual patient basis.


Psychological therapies for the management of chronic and recurrent pain in children and adolescents

Eccleston C, Palermo TM, Williams AC de C, Lewandowski A, Morley S, Fisher E, Law E
Published Online: August 23, 2013
– See more at:

Chronic pain affects many children, who report severe pain, distressed mood, and disability. Psychological therapies are emerging as effective interventions to treat children with chronic or recurrent pain. This update adds recently published randomised controlled trials (RCTs) to the review published in 2009.

To assess the effectiveness of psychological therapies, principally cognitive behavioural therapy and behavioural therapy, for reducing pain, disability, and improving mood in children and adolescents with recurrent, episodic, or persistent pain. We also assessed the risk of bias and methodological quality of the included studies.

Search strategy:
Searches were undertaken of MEDLINE, EMBASE, and PsycLIT. We searched for RCTs in references of all identified studies, meta-analyses and reviews. Date of most recent search: March 2012.

Selection criteria:
RCTs with at least 10 participants in each arm post-treatment comparing psychological therapies with active treatment were eligible for inclusion (waiting list or standard medical care) for children or adolescents with episodic, recurrent or persistent pain.

Data collection and analysis:
All included studies were analysed and the quality of the studies recorded. All treatments were combined into one class: psychological treatments; headache and non-headache outcomes were separately analysed on three outcomes: pain, disability, and mood. Data were extracted at two time points; post-treatment (immediately or the earliest data available following end of treatment) and at follow-up (at least three months after the post-treatment assessment point, but not more than 12 months).

Main results:
Eight studies were added in this update of the review, giving a total of 37 studies. The total number of participants completing treatments was 1938. Twenty-one studies addressed treatments for headache (including migraine); seven for abdominal pain; four included mixed pain conditions including headache pain, two for fibromyalgia, two for pain associated with sickle cell disease, and one for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Analyses revealed five significant effects. Pain was found to improve for headache and non-headache groups at post-treatment, and for the headache group at follow-up. Mood significantly improved for the headache group at follow-up, although, this should be interpreted with caution as there were only two small studies entered into the analysis. Finally, disability significantly improved in the non-headache group at post-treatment. There were no other significant effects.

Authors’ conclusions:
Psychological treatments are effective in reducing pain intensity for children and adolescents (<18 years) with headache and benefits from therapy appear to be maintained. Psychological treatments also improve pain and disability for children with non-headache pain. There is limited evidence available to estimate the effects of psychological therapies on mood for children and adolescents with headache and non-headache pain. There is also limited evidence to estimate the effects on disability in children with headache. These conclusions replicate and add to those of the previous review which found psychological therapies were effective in reducing pain intensity for children with headache and non-headache pain conditions, and these effects were maintained at follow-up.

Visit our clinic site here: Specialist Pain Physio Clinics


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s