Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: A Primer from the Perspective of the Primary Care Physician

Author: Philip Getson

I am a fan of Sherlock Holmes. I have been since my teenage years. As I progressed through my medical education, I realized that using logic and deductive reasoning would help me in my medical practice. So, when in 1987, before the Internet, I was presented with a medical mystery and, thinking “The game’s afoot,” I headed to a local medical library where, after 2 days of research, I was able to make a diagnosis of reflex sympathetic dystrophy. This began a journey which, over 30 years, has led me to evaluate more than 1400 patients with this disorder, now called complex regional pain syndrome. It still remains a medical mystery despite the fact that up to 10 million Americans are afflicted with this “unknown and poorly understood” disorder.

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