The present paper examines the literature that addresses psychologic aspects involved in complex regional pain syndrome from a historic perspective to provide a rationale for the emergence of psychologic theories to explain its pathogenesis. The support of such perspective is then analyzed through the review of evidence-based studies.
A review of the literature from a historic perspective was presented since its first description to the present time, including the clinical presentation and associated symptoms. An evidence-based approach was used to review the literature on complex regional pain syndrome and psychologic factors associated with the etiology or as predictors in the development of the disorder.
After reviewing the literature on the history and the myths associated with complex regional pain syndrome, a hypothesis is provided based on an analysis of the Zeitgeist in the development of the psychologic theory associated with the disorder. We also concluded there is no evidence to support a linear relationship that establishes a psychologic predisposition to develop the disorder.
An analysis of the Zeitgeist when complex regional pain syndrome was first described helps to understand the long-standing theories associated with a psychological theory of its etiology. This understanding should help to undermine the perpetuation of such claims which may contribute to undertreatment and misdiagnosis. To be consistent with todays Zeitgeist we must incorporate psychologic aspects, which while not causal in nature or exclusive of complex regional pain syndrome, are strongly associated with a wide spectrum of chronic pain disorders.