What is the role of physical and occupational therapy in the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)?

Updated: Jun 20, 2018
  • Author: Gaurav Gupta, MD; Chief Editor: Stephen A Berman, MD, PhD, MBA  more...
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Clinical experience clearly indicates that physiotherapy is vital for the successful treatment of CRPS. It is a requisite for the patient’s rehabilitation to provide the best recovery of function and quality of life. Standardized physical therapy has been shown to produce long-term relief of both pain and physical dysfunction, especially in children. [158]

Physical and, to a lesser extent, occupational therapy can reduce pain and improve active mobility in CRPS type I. [159] Patients who initially have less pain and better motor function are likely to benefit the most from physical therapy. [160] Physical therapy for CRPS has been shown to be both more effective and less costly than either occupational therapy or control treatments. [161] Recent studies have demonstrated that a combination of hand laterality, recognition training, imagination of movements, and mirror movements reduce pain and disability in patients with CRPSs. [162] Therefore, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and attentional training are essential for an eventual successful outcome. [59]

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