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Pain Med. 2002 Sep;3(3):274-88.

American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians (AADEP) position paper: complex regional pain syndrome I (RSD): impairment and disability issues.

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  • 1American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians.



To provide an overview and methodology for the evaluation of impairment and functional residual capacity in complex regional pain syndrome I (CRPS I, RSD). This paper is intended to provide assistance to physicians asked to evaluate impairment- and disability-related issues and is not primarily geared to guide treatment of the CRPS I patient.


Conference and literature review by neurology, anesthesiology, pain medicine, physiatry, and disability evaluating physicians followed by description of issues, options, and recommendations based upon the committee's deliberations and the widely used AMA Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment, fourth and fifth editions. The authors present functional criteria for assessing the severity of CRPS. These criteria were developed by committee consensus opinion based on multidisciplinary clinical experience considering daily functional issues. They can be used in conjunction with CRPS-ADL Classes of Impairment in order to categorize an individual into a specific class for purposes of permanent impairment rating. Future reliability and validity studies of this rating scale are pending future use, acceptance and, hopefully, additional studies.


Evaluators should perform a comprehensive assessment of patients with CRPS I to make an accurate diagnosis and exclude other conditions that could explain the symptoms and signs of the condition. While radiological, laboratory, and other diagnostic studies may be of assistance in making the diagnosis, in the final analysis, this is a clinical diagnosis. Impairment is based on objectively validated limitation in activities of daily living (ADL).

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