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Chronic painClinical services

Complex regional pain syndrome

We launched our service for adults with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) in 1999, and our service for young adults in 2009. Our aim is to enhance individuals' daily functioning, allowing them to return to activities that are important to them, whether their pain is reduced or not. The unit has a national and international reputation for its clinical services, research and education programmes.

Why choose us?

We are the national centre for the management of CRPS. Our multidisciplinary rehabilitation service has run for more than ten years and is one of the few in the UK dedicated to the treatment of CRPS providing outpatient and inpatient care. Our programme was the recipient of the Abbot BSR Innovations in Rheumatology award 2005.

Our clinical service is directly informed by research so that patients are treated with the most up-to-date rehabilitation techniques. Many members of the clinical team are actively involved in research into the mechanisms of CRPS, presentation of the condition and the effect it can have on patients’ and their carers’ lives. In addition, we have developed new treatment techniques such as mirror visual feedback and assessment tools such as the Bath CRPS body perception questionnaire.

We have a thriving patient forum which can provide support for patients who attend our service. This group plays an active role in developments within our CRPS service, informing our patient and carer literature and the education of healthcare professionals through our annual conferences.

What we offer

We offer specialist services to patients with symptoms of CRPS or related complex neurological conditions. Our service is multidisciplinary with an emphasis on physical rehabilitation informed by patient-centred goal-setting.

We see patients from early symptom onset, via a rapid access service, to those with more long-standing disease who may still benefit from physical rehabilitation. We do not provide anaesthetic interventions such as nerve blocks or spinal cord stimulators but are happy to receive referrals for patients who may have undergone these treatments or have them planned for the future.

Services are provided at a national level. All patients are initially assessed as outpatients by the multidisciplinary team prior to consideration for inpatient care. In addition, we are happy to accept referrals for a one-off consultations.

Inpatient care involves a two-week stay which includes:

  • a full assessment by the specialist multidisciplinary team
  • patient-centred goal-setting
  • concentrated physical rehabilitation including:
    • land-based physiotherapy
    • hydrotherapy
    • occupational therapy
  • psychological support
  • information on the condition

The inpatient rehabilitation programme format involves both individual sessions and participating in a group with other CRPS patients.

Where appropriate our CRPS team will provide expert support and work with the patient's local healthcare team in their ongoing care.

How to access our CRPS services

The CRPS service is recognised as a national specialist service by NHS England. Any patient in England aged 18 years or over with a possible diagnosis of CRPS will be considered via referral from a pain clinic or the patient's GP.

Referrals can be made via Choose and Book or in writing to Professor Candy McCabe, consultant nurse or Dr Peter Brook, consultant anaesthetist, We are also able to accept private patient referrals. For further information, please contact  ruh-tr.RNHRDCRPSteam@nhs.net

Telephone advice is available for further information when considering a referral, ongoing advice for a patient already under our care or another member of the primary care team (e.g therapists) who wish to consult with the equivalent profession in our team.  Please contact Professor Candy McCabe, consultant nurse and CRPS service lead, tel. 01225 473 462 or email  candy.mccabe@nhs.net or email  ruh-tr.RNHRDCRPSteam@nhs.net For appointment enquiries, please contact Janice Goodway, j.goodway@nhs.net  tel 01225 473 462 or fax number 01225 473 461