Burning Nights CRPS Support is a UK national charity dedicated to raising awareness of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

Are There Different Names for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)?


Over the years there has been many different names for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS).  Yet since the International Association for the Study of Pain (IASP) Consensus Conference in 1994 the old name of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy or RSD changed. This was to what almost all of us know it as, which is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS. Hence RSD is now CRPS Type I or CRPS I.


As a result of this there have been many names for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome! In fact according to Dutton, K. & Littlejohn, G. (2015) there have been in fact 202 different names identified in a number of languages.

Ratti, C. et al. (2015) explained that:

“CRPS is the current consensus-derived name, but historically it was called in different ways [Sudeck atrophy, causalgia, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD), algodystrophy, post-traumatic dystrophy, shoulder-hand syndrome] and with different names in different countries as well (79 names in Anglo-Saxon literature, 51 in German and 33 in French), proving the complexity and multifaceted aspects of this syndrome.”

Giannotti, S. et al. (2016) found that considering only the Italian scientific literature on complex regional pain syndrome, there are 13 different names.


There are many confusing names and terminology apart from Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) which have been used. These include but are not limited to:

  • Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSDS) – This is now CRPS TYPE I
  • Causalgia both major and minor – This is now CRPS Type II
  • Mimocausalgia
  • Minor Causalgia
  • Sudeck’s atrophy
  • Sudeck’s Osteodystrophy
  • Morbus Sudeck
  • Acute Bone Atrophy
  • Algodystrophy
  • Neuroalgodystrophy
  • Should-hand syndrome (SHS)
  • Post Traumatic Sympathetic Dystrophy
  • Disuse Dystrophy
  • Neurodystrophy
  • Amplified Musculoskeletal Pain Syndrome (AMPS)
  • Post Traumatic Spreading Neuralgia
  • Algoneurodystrophy (AND)
  • Sympathetic Maintained Pain (SMP)
  • Post Traumatic Dystrophy (PTD)
  • Post Traumatic Pain Syndrome
  • Chronic Traumatic Oedema
  • Minor Traumatic Dystrophy
  • Traumatic Angiospasm
  • Fracture Disease
  • Sympathetic Neurovascular Dystrophy
  • Reflex Neurovascular Dystrophy (RND)
  • Post Traumatic Osteoporosis
  • Post Traumatic Painful Osteoporosis
  • Sympathalgia
  • Periperal Acute Trophoneurosis
  • Steinbroker Syndrome
  • Dysfunction Syndrome
  • Lechirche’s Post Traumatic Pain Syndrome
  • Post Traumatic Algodystrophy
  • Post Traumatic Vasomotor Syndrome
  • Traumatic Vasopasm
  • Transient Osteoporosis
  • Transient Migratory Osteoporosis
  • Postinfractional Scelerodactyly

The most common alternative names for complex regional pain syndrome apart from RSD, include Causalgia, Aglodystrophy and Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome. (Rickard, J.P. & Kish, T. 2015)

In a recent research study by Todorova, J. et al. (2013) they discussed the various names of CRPS/RSD and whether they have been accepted in practice or whether they are still being used. They concluded that:


” The new terminology is now widely accepted by the medical professionals who are mostly engaged in the treatment of CRPS patients but not yet so in other medical spheres, for example radiology specialists. The names ‘reflex sympathetic dystrophy’ and to a lesser extent ‘causalgia‘ are still used by some authors.”   

Unfortunately according to Alvarez-Lario, B. et al (2001) they concluded that the new terminology of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome has not effectively replaced the old term of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. They went on to say that the most commonly used terms are still Causalgia and RSD. The term CRPS is mainly used for pain and neurology journals.

HOWEVER… Out of all of the different names the ones you really need to know are COMPLEX REGIONAL PAIN SYNDROME (CRPS) Type I and Type II. Visit What is CRPS/RSD?


Or as you may have found out many consultants, doctors and healthcare professionals especially abroad, will still use the name – REFLEX SYMPATHETIC DYSTROPHY (RSD).


POINT TO NOTE Remember it is YOU who has the condition.  Whichever different name for it that you use, just be as comfortable as possible with it!!

It is important to know that Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) has had numerous names. Furthermore 2 are still commonly used. Highlighting these two are useful just in case you speak to a doctor. As the Doctor may use one of the previously mentioned names for the condition. You can see from the History of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) how the name has altered throughout the century. Who knows if CRPS will stay but for now it is.




Written: 10/09/2014

Last Updated: 03/07/2019

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