Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Rehabil Res. 2012 Jun;35(2):138-45. doi: 10.1097/MRR.0b013e3283527d29.

Modified graded motor imagery for complex regional pain syndrome type 1 of the upper extremity in the acute phase: a patient series.

Author information

Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.


Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a pathologic condition in which the painful experience is disproportionate in time and intensity in comparison with the inciting event. At present, the pathophysiology of CRPS is not well understood. Several studies have indicated that cortical reorganization plays a role in the persistence of the symptoms. A new promising approach, graded motor imagery (GMI), seems to be effective, but there are limited data for the CRPS-1 upper extremity population. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a modified GMI (mGMI) protocol based on the work of Moseley to reduce pain and enhance functional capacities for a population with nonchronic CRPS-1 of the upper extremity. The following outcome measures were used to assess the clinical effectiveness: pain (short form of the McGill Pain Questionnaire), grip force (Martin vigorimeter), perception of upper extremity function (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand Questionnaire), and patient's global impression of change. All outcomes at T4 were compared with the baseline data (T0) using the Mann-Whitney test and the χ test (nonparametric tests). Seven patients were recruited for the study. At the end of the mGMI (T4), we obtained significant results for the decrease in the pain experienced in the last 7 days (visual analog scale; P=0.046), improvement in the affected extremity grip force (P=0.042), and the patient's global impression of change (P=0.015). However, the data of the perception of upper extremity function (Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder and Hand Questionnaire) were not clinically or statistically significant. Our results indicate that this mGMI protocol seems to be a promising therapeutic modality to reduce pain. However, more investigations are needed to determine whether mGMI has a significant impact on upper extremity function.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center