To report the initial and long-term outcome after an intensive exercise therapy program for childhood complex regional pain syndrome, type I (CRPS).
A children's hospital.
We followed 103 children (87 girls; mean age = 13.0 years) with CRPS. Forty-nine subjects were followed for more than 2 years (mean = 5 years 3 months).
An intensive exercise program (most received a daily program of 4 hours of aerobic, functionally directed exercises, 1-2 hours of hydrotherapy, and desensitization). No medications or modalities were used. All had a screening psychological evaluation, and 79 (77%) were referred for psychological counseling.
Outcomes included pain, presence of physical dysfunction, or recurrent episodes of CRPS or other disproportional musculoskeletal pain.
The mean duration of exercise therapy was 14 days, but over the past 2 years has decreased to 6 days. Ninety-five children (92%) initially became symptom free. Of those followed for more than 2 years, 43 (88%) were symptom free (15, or 31%, of these patients had had a reoccurrence), 5 (10%) were fully functional but had some continued pain, and 1 (2%) had functional limitations. The median time to recurrence was 2 months; 79% of the recurrences were during the first 6 months after treatment.
Intense exercise therapy is effective in initially treating childhood CRPS and is associated with low rate of long-term symptoms or dysfunction.
Departments of Pediatrics, *Rehabilitation, and †Nursing, University of Washington, Children's Hospital & Medical Center, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
Manuscript submitted August 4, 1998; revision received May 11, 1999; accepted for publication June 28, 1999.
Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. David D. Sherry, Rheumatology, CH-73, Children's Hospital & Medical Center, 4800 Sand Point Way, NE, Seattle, WA 98105, U.S.A. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This work supported by the Barbara & David Kipper and the Chas. and Ruth Levy Foundation.