Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. A Comprehensive Review on Neuroplastic Changes Supporting the Use of Non-invasive Neurostimulation in Clinical Settings.
Background: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a rare debilitating disorder characterized by severe pain affecting one or more limbs. CRPS presents a complex multifactorial physiopathology. The peripheral and sensorimotor abnormalities reflect maladaptive changes of the central nervous system. These changes of volume, connectivity, activation, metabolism, etc., could be the keys to understand chronicization, refractoriness to conventional treatment, and developing more efficient treatments. Objective: This review discusses the use of non-pharmacological, non-invasive neurostimulation techniques in CRPS, with regard to the CRPS physiopathology, brain changes underlying chronicization, conventional approaches to treat CRPS, current evidence, and mechanisms of action of peripheral and brain stimulation. Conclusion: Future work is warranted to foster the evidence of the efficacy of non-invasive neurostimulation in CRPS. It seems that the approach has to be individualized owing to the integrity of the brain and corticospinal function. Non-invasive neurostimulation of the brain or of nerve/muscles/spinal roots, alone or in combination with conventional therapy, represents a fertile ground to develop more efficient approaches for pain management in CRPS.
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