Onset and progression of dystonia in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

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Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) may lead to movement disorders (MDs) in some patients. Reliable information on the nature, chronology and clinical determinants of MDs in CRPS patients is lacking but could provide better insight in to the underlying pathophysiological mechanism. We retrospectively evaluated the clinical and temporal characteristics of MDs in patients with CRPS. Cox's proportional hazards model was used to evaluate factors influencing the onset of MDs. One-hundred and eighty-five patients suffered CRPS in one or more extremities. MDs occurred in 121 patients, with dystonia (91%) being the most prevalent. Sixty-two percent of these patients displayed dystonia in multiple extremities. Patients with dystonia were on average 11 years younger and more often had CRPS in multiple extremities. The interval between the onset of CRPS and dystonia in the first affected extremity varied from less than 1 week in 26% of the patients to more than 1 year in 27%. The hazard of developing dystonia in subsequent extremities increased with the number of extremities affected by dystonia. We conclude that dystonia in CRPS shows highly variable onset latency and is associated with younger age at onset and increased risk of developing dystonia in other extremities. The delayed onset and progression of dystonia in CRPS may indicate the involvement of a different underlying mechanism, possibly associated with maladaptive neuroplasticity. © 2007 International Association for the Study of Pain.




van Rijn, M. A., Marinus, J., Putter, H., & van Hilten, J. J. (2007). Onset and progression of dystonia in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. Pain, 130(3), 287–293. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pain.2007.03.027

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