Sensory modulation dysfunction is associated with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Tami Bar-Shalita*, Anatoly Livshitz, Yulia Levin-Meltz, Debbie Rand, Lisa Deutsch, Jean Jacques Vatine

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), a chronic pain condition, develops mainly after limb trauma and severely inhibits function. While early diagnosis is essential, factors for CRPS onset are elusive. Therefore, identifying those at risk is crucial. Sensory modulation dysfunction (SMD), affects the capacity to regulate responses to sensory input in a graded and adaptive manner and was found associated with hyperalgesia in otherwise healthy individuals, suggestive of altered pain processing. Aim To test SMD as a potential risk factor for CRPS. Methods In this cross-sectional study, forty-four individuals with CRPS (29.9±11 years, 27 men) and 204 healthy controls (27.4±3.7 years, 105 men) completed the Sensory Responsiveness Questionnaire-Intensity Scale (SRQ-IS). A physician conducted the CRPS Severity Score (CSS), testing individuals with CRPS. Results Thirty-four percent of the individuals with CRPS and twelve percent of the healthy individuals were identified to have SMD (χ2 (1) = 11.95; p<0.001). Logistic regression modeling revealed that the risk of CRPS is 2.68 and 8.21 times higher in individuals with sensory over- and sensory under-responsiveness, respectively, compared to non-SMD individuals (p = 0.03 and p = 0.01, respectively). Conclusions SMD, particularly sensory under-responsiveness, might serve as a potential risk factor for CRPS and therefore screening for SMD is recommended. This study provides the risk index probability clinical tool a simple evaluation to be applied by clinicians in order to identify those at risk for CRPS immediately after injury. Further research is needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0201354
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018


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