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Centre for Orthopaedics
Suite 10-33/34/35 Mount Elizabeth Novena Specialist Centre
38 Irrawaddy Road
Singapore, 329563, Singapore
Ph: (65) 6684 5828
Fax: (65) 6684 5829

Child Orthopedics
Pain Management
Spine - Cervical
Spine - General
Spine - Lumbar
Spine - Thoracic

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The pain center where I go for treatment and follow-up for complex regional pain syndrome of the foot wants me to be in a study that measures severity of the problem. I'm not sure I want to join in the fun. What good will it do?

Many health care professionals are looking for ways to identify which treatment approaches work best. Sometimes it's possible to even figure out who is most likely to benefit from each different type of treatment. That is a win-win situation for everyone. Without the participation of people like yourself who already have a known diagnosis of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), it can be difficult to gather the evidence needed to support one method over another. A recent study published results on the development of a severity score for CRPS. The test consisted of a checklist of signs and symptoms common with this condition. Self-reported symptoms included differences in temperature, skin color, sweating, and swelling from one side (involved side) to the other (uninvolved side). A second section of the test evaluates signs observed by the examiner such as exaggerated levels of pain with pinprick test, differences in skin temperature felt by the examiner, and decreased range-of-motion of the involved part (hand, foot). Higher test scores meant more severe pain and other symptoms. Patients with CRPS had much higher test scores than the patients in the nerve pain but non CRPS group. Statistical analysis showed that this new scoring system for severity of CRPS is reliable and valid. In other words, it can be used dependably to identify people with CRPS and provide a picture of the severity of their condition. Used over time, it can also show changes or fluctuations in individual cases. This type of tool may help health care professionals plan and modify treatment for patients with CRPS. Having a consistent severity score will help improve communication among all the health care professionals working with people who have CRPS. Researchers involved in this project do not see this tool as a replacement for current pain scales in use to measure treatment outcomes. But the scoring system may be helpful when conducting research on this condition as it can show changes in symptoms with treatment. It may even function as a predictor of who will get better with different types of treatment. Perhaps the proposed study at your center has similar goals and purposes. Consider asking the people who are conducting the study what the intent of the study is and how the results will be used. It may be something that doesn't benefit you directly but could help others in the future.


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