It is well known that those who suffer from migraine or chronic daily headache (CDH) are at a significantly higher risk of developing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).
Research led by Dr B Lee Peterlin at the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, found that risk was 3.6 times higher than that of the general population. In addition, those suffering migraine were more likely to develop a more severe form of CRPS and a significantly longer duration of symptoms. The likelihood is that those symptoms were also more likely to be present in more extremities.
Studies additionally show that CRPS is more likely to develop at an earlier age in those suffering migraine or CDH. The (mean) average age at onset for CRPS in the general population is 46.8 years, compared to 34.9 years in those suffering migraine and 32.5 years in those suffering CDH.
Further research at Stanford University in relation to those suffering migraine who develop CRPS, reveals that people in this group are around ten times more likely to suffer associated psychological problems such as depression and anxiety, as compared with those who have migraine alone without CRPS.
So what can be done?
Like so many CRPS-related issues, it simply comes down to awareness. With awareness comes the best chance of early recognition of the onset of CRPS, which hopefully then leads to early treatment.
In particular, it is recommended that family doctors treating people, especially younger people, who suffer migraine or CDH should be on the lookout for symptoms of CRPS, particularly following even modest trauma.
Hospital doctors should also be aware of and monitor people in this ‘at risk’ category, especially in those migraine or CDH sufferers undergoing surgery, or attending follow up appointments following an emergency department attendance.