OBJECTIVE: In addition to pain, people with complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) often report inattention to and disengagement from their affected limb (i.e., "neglect-like symptoms"). Understanding how these symptoms relate to other characteristics of CRPS, and chronic pain generally, could provide insights for preventing and treating CRPS.
METHODS: We administered an online survey to people who received a diagnosis of CRPS (n = 335) and other chronic limb pain (n = 407). Neglect-like symptoms were assessed using the Neurobehavioral questionnaire.
RESULTS: A principal component analysis identified two components: motor and cognitive neglect-like symptoms, and involuntary movements. Internal consistency of the components was acceptable. We conducted regression analyses with these as outcomes. Having CRPS, a painful lower limb, higher pain intensity, and somatic symptoms were associated with more motor and cognitive neglect-like symptoms. Having CRPS, higher pain intensity, depression, and somatic symptoms were associated with more involuntary movements. Age, gender, anxiety, disease duration, hours of pain per day, affected side, whether the limb was the most painful body part, and number of pain-related medical diagnoses were no predictors. Finally, motor and cognitive neglect-like symptoms were related to tremor; and involuntary movements to changes in skin color, swelling, sweating, toenails, weakness, and tremor.
CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the specificity of inattention to and disengagement from the affected limb in CRPS, independent of other factors. Furthermore, two components of the Neurobehavioral questionnaire were disentangled: motor and cognitive neglect-like symptoms, and involuntary movements. Results could potentially help clinicians to better assess neglect-like symptoms in chronic pain.