Author(s): Oerlemans HM, Oostendorp RA, de Boo T, van der Laan L, Severens JL,
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate the effectiveness and cost of physical therapy (PT) or occupational therapy (OT) in patients with reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD). DESIGN: Prospective randomized controlled trial, with 1 year follow-up. SETTING: Two university hospitals. PATIENTS: One hundred thirty-five patients who had been suffering from RSD of one upper extremity for less than 1 year. INTERVENTIONS: Patients were assigned to PT, OT, or a control group (social work). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Improvement in impairment level sumscore (ISS) over 1 year (Student's t test). A difference of 5 ISS points between the groups was defined as being clinically relevant. Furthermore, severity of disability and handicap was measured and tested exploratively (Wilcoxon; alpha = .05), and cost-effectiveness of the groups was calculated. RESULTS: PT and, to a lesser extent, OT resulted in a significant and also more rapid improvement in the ISS as compared with controls (6 and 4 ISS points, respectively). On a disability level, a positive trend was found in favor of OT. On a handicap level, no differences were found between the groups. PT had an advantage over OT regarding the cost-effectiveness ratio. CONCLUSION: In different ways PT and OT each contribute to the recovery from RSD of the upper extremity.
This article was published in Arch Phys Med Rehabil
and referenced in Journal of Pain & Relief