The future of CRPS research

Doctors and scientists all over the world continue to research every facet of CRPS in order to better understand the condition, and in turn, find a cure. These are some of the studies that we can expect to learn from in the coming years.

Clinical evaluation of the effects of mirror therapy

Patients with CRPS-I will undergo a study at the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Hand Rehabilitation Unit at the Medical Faculty of Ankara University. The purpose is to research the clinical effects of CRPS alternative treatments, specifically mirror therapy.

Patients will be split into two groups (the mirror group and control group). The mirror group will receive mirror therapy for 30 minutes per day in addition to routine treatment. Mirror therapy will include several different flexing exercises, as well as various object grasping activities according to the status of the patient’s hand functions. Each patient will undergo a total of 20 sessions.

Every patient participating in the study will be assessed before and immediately after the treatment, as well as one month after the trial. Each assessment will include pain severity, grip strength, lateral pinch strength, hand circumference measurements, hand dexterity, hand function in daily living activities, and health-related quality of life.

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Investigations of pathophysiology of dystonia and CRPS

Dystonia is a movement disorder in which a person’s muscles contract uncontrollably. The purpose of this study is to understand why people with CRPS often develop dystonia, and if these reasons are different in people with focal hand dystonia.

This detailed study will require participants to either stay at the clinical center for five or six days or have several different outpatient visits.

During testing, participants in the study will undergo MRI scans and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) sessions. Participants with the ability to determine two separate stimuli as different will be tested by using a weak electrical shock to their fingers. They will also be asked to feel small plastic domes with ridges.

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Low-dose naltrexone treatment for CRPS

Stanford Medicine’s Systems Neuroscience and Pain Lab is conducting a study sponsored by the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA).

They believe there is significant evidence to suggest that the FDA-approved drug naltrexone can effectively treat certain types of pain, fatigue, and sleep disorders (in low doses). This will be the first official study of the effectiveness of LDN as a CRPS treatment medication.

Participation will last 14 to 28 weeks and gives patients an opportunity to receive LDN treatment at no cost. The study will require up to five in-person visits to Stanford, as well as weekly questionnaires and daily pain scores.

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