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Are movement disturbances in complex regional pain syndrome intentional?

Vallence, A.M. and Drummond, P.D. (2015) Are movement disturbances in complex regional pain syndrome intentional? European Journal of Pain, 19 (7). pp. 877-878.

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In this issue of European Journal of Pain you will find a paper by Bank and colleagues (Bank et al., 2015) entitled Intended and unintended (sensori-)motor coupling between the affected and unaffected upper limb in complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Bank et al. measured intentional and unintentional coupling of limb movements in 20 patients with upper-limb CRPS and 40 healthy controls in an attempt to differentiate impairments in voluntary and automatic sensorimotor processes in CRPS patients. The participants performed wrist flexion–extension movements in tasks known to engage intentional inter-limb coupling: active bimanual movements, requiring in-phase or anti-phase patterns with the two hands; kinaesthetic tracking, requiring active unimanual movements to consciously track automated (passive) movements of the opposite limb; and unintentional inter-limb coupling (active unimanual movements timed to a metronome while ignoring automated, passive movements of the opposite limb). Two results stand out: (1) performance was impaired in CRPS patients in tasks engaging intentional but not unintentional coupling of limb movements; (2) variability in performance of all movement tasks was significantly greater in CRPS patients than in healthy controls. Interestingly, motor impairment and variability were greatest when the affected limb was the voluntarily active limb.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Psychology and Exercise Science
Publisher: Wiley
Copyright: European Pain Federation
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