Check out this CRPS Article Published by the AMA

Check out this CRPS Article Published by the AMA

As many of you know, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), formally known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), has become the latest “trash can” diagnosis used by physicians to explain otherwise seemingly idiopathic pain complaints. RSD became known as CRPS when, in the 1994, the IASP came out with criteria physicians could use to diagnose CRPS. However, sixteen years later, physicians continue to fail to utilize the diagnostic criteria and often apply the term to a patient when it should not be. Even more frighteningly, a patient who receives such a diagnosis and then goes and looks it up on the internet will find all sorts of gloom and doom, including information about the progressiveness of the disease leading to such measures as amputation of limbs. It is not surprising that in extreme cases, the diagnosis may well become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

That is not to say that there are not authentic cases of CRPS. In my practice, I have seen three of them, one of which did in fact lead to limb amputation. However, in all three cases, there were consistent, objective, measurable findings which led to the proper diagnosis of the condition in each of those patients. Moreover, it is valid that a true CRPS patient may experience odd and overwhelming pain sensations, skin color changes, nail changes, variations in skin temperature, etc. However, statistically speaking, only an extremely small percentage of CRPS patients will ever progress to have such symptoms.

Robert J. Barth, Ph.D., a neuropsychologist located in Chattanooga, Tennessee, has researched and written extensively on the subject. His latest article, “A Historical Review of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome in the ‘Guides Library,’” was recently published by the American Medical Association in its AMA Guides Newsletter. It contains a comprehensive history of helpful CRPS-related literature, all of which was published by the AMA. You may follow this link, and select the November/ December 2009 issue, to order a complete copy of the article as published. In addition to this article, Dr. Barth has authored several others, also published by the American Medical Association. If you would like to contact him, you may reach his office at (423) 624-2000 or through his website, which is located at

Here’s hoping that you have no CRPS claims on your horizon.
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