Normal manual straight ahead pointing in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

Axel D. Vittersø, Gavin Buckingham, Antonia F. Ten Brink, Monika Halicka, Michael J. Proulx, Janet H. Bultitude

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (SciVal)


There is evidence to suggest that people with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) can have altered body representations and spatial cognition. One way of studying these cognitive functions is through manual straight ahead (MSA) pointing, in which participants are required to point straight ahead of their perceived body midline without visual feedback of the hand. We therefore compared endpoint errors from MSA pointing between people with CRPS (n = 17) and matched controls (n = 18), and examined the effect of the arm used (Side of Body; affected/non-dominant, non-affected/dominant). For all participants, pointing errors were biased towards the hand being used. We found moderate evidence of no difference between Groups on endpoint errors, and moderate evidence of no interaction with Side of Body. The differences in variability between Groups were non-significant/inconclusive. Correlational analyses showed no evidence of a relationship between MSA endpoint errors and clinical parameters (e.g. CRPS severity, duration, pain) or questionnaire measures (e.g. body representation, “neglect-like symptoms”, upper limb disability). This study is consistent with earlier findings of no difference between people with CRPS and controls on MSA endpoint errors, and is the first to provide statistical evidence of similar performance of these two groups. Our results do not support a relationship between clinical or self-reported measures (e.g. “neglect-like symptoms”) and any directional biases in MSA. Our findings may have implications for understanding neurocognitive changes in CRPS.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0261614
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number12
Early online date20 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 31 Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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