Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Research

Each year, approximately 300,000 people worldwide are afflicted with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS; also called Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or causalgia), a neuro-inflammatory disorder that occurs in response to physical trauma such as a severe sprain, bone fracture, crush injury or surgery. CRPS causes nerves to misfire, sending constant pain signals to the brain, even long after the original injury has healed. The resulting pain is chronic, intense, disabling, and disproportionate to the original injury. The level of pain is measured as one of the most severe on the McGill University Pain Scale.

CRPS is difficult to diagnose, and there is no known cure. It is life altering, and negatively impacts daily activities, relationships, work and school. Yet, it remains one of the most widely under-recognized and misdiagnosed chronic pain conditions. Although significant strides have been made to better understand CRPS, more research must be done to fight this devastating disease.

Since 2015, the International Research Consortium for CRPS has made it our mission to find more effective diagnostic and treatment options. With almost 80 individual members and 40 participating research sites, our members are international leaders in CRPS research, experienced and noted rising stars alike. By fostering collaboration and coordination between researchers on a global scale, together we can achieve more compelling and relevant research results.

Now, we need to take our efforts to the next level.

Specifically, we want to answer a primary question that may dramatically affect the development of treatment options: Do all patients experience the same signs and symptoms -- or does it vary by stage or group? Is CRPS a uniform phenomenon across individuals, or are there distinct subtypes and/or stages? In other words, why do treatments work for some, but not others?

In 2003, experts gathered in Budapest to make recommendations for CRPS protocols, the results of which were published as the “Budapest criteria”. Since then, the Budapest criteria has become the definitive standard by which clinicians diagnose and treat CRPS. The founders of our organization, R. Norman Harden and Stephen Bruehl, were instrumental in validating the criteria.

When it was originally established, the Budapest criteria was purposefully broad in its recommendations, and not designed for specific sub-types, stages or groups. This “umbrella” approach proved to be a vast improvement in CRPS research – but there’s more work to be done. Further research is needed to identify subsets of the disease so that more effective interventions can be developed.

That’s where your donation comes in.

With your financial support, we can develop the methodology to identify clinically significant subsets of CRPS such as warm and cold CRPS; CRPS-Type I (without “major nerve damage”), CRPS-Type II (with “major nerve damage”); stage of remission; and others. It will also enable us to conduct the studies required to achieve statistically relevant results.

You can learn more about our efforts on our website, If you’d like to learn more about CRPS in patients, please visit our sponsor’s website, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association (RSDSA).

Thank you in advance.


  • Lane Bollella
    • $50 
    • 5 mos
  • Geraldine Jones
    • $10 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $1,000 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $500 
    • 1 yr
    • $100 
    • 1 yr


International Research Consortium for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (Irc)
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Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.

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