Physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral treatment for complex regional pain syndromes

Benjamin H. Lee, Lisa Scharff, Navil F. Sethna, Claire F. McCarthy, Jennifer Scott-Sutherland, Alice M. Shea, Penny Sullivan, Petra Meier, David Zurakowski, Bruce J. Masek, Charles B. Berde

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

195 Scopus citations


Complex regional pain syndromes (CRPS; type 1, reflex sympathetic dystrophy, and type 2, causalgia) involve persistent pain, allodynia, and vasomotor signs. We conducted a prospective, randomized, single-blind trial of physical therapy (PT) and cognitive-behavioral treatment for children and adolescents with CRPS. Children 8 to 17 years of age (n = 28) were randomly assigned to either group A (PT once per week for 6 weeks) or group B (PT 3 times per week for 6 weeks). Both groups received 6 sessions of cognitive-behavioral treatment. Assessments of pain and function were repeated at two follow-up time periods. Outcomes were compared at the three time points through the use of parametric or nonparametric analysis of variance and post hoc tests. All five measures of pain and function improved significantly in both groups after treatment, with sustained benefit evident in the majority of patients at long-term follow-up. Recurrent episodes were reported in 50% of patients, and 10 patients eventually received sympathetic blockade. Most children with CRPS showed reduced pain and improved function with a noninvasive rehabilitative treatment approach. Long-term functional outcomes were also very good.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)135-140
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


Dive into the research topics of 'Physical therapy and cognitive-behavioral treatment for complex regional pain syndromes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this