Background: Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a neurologic condition that can present with severe pain and dysfunction. Delay in treatment adversely affects outcomes. The purpose of this study is to evaluate patient outcomes as they relate to the time from diagnosis to pain management referral once the diagnosis of CRPS has been made in a closed healthcare system. Methods: A retrospective record review from a closed healthcare system was utilized for CRPS cases from 2010–2019. Demographics, injury pattern, surgeries, pain score, treatment modalities, occupational outcomes, and time to pain management referral were recorded. Results: There were 26 cases of CRPS that met inclusion criteria. The mean time from diagnosis to treatment was 55 days. 16/26 (61.5%) were medically discharged from the military. 23/26 (88.5%) were unable to return to full duty due to CRPS. There was no significant difference in the reported pain scores over time regardless of treatment (p
= 0.76). A linear regression demonstrated a significantly higher Visual Analog Scale Pain Score (VAS) over time in patients that were medically discharged (p
= 0.022). Conclusions: The mean delay in referral to the pain service was 55 days. The majority of patients (88.5%) did not return to full duty secondary to the diagnosis of CRPS, and 61.5% of patients required medical separation from active duty. Due to the negative impact that the diagnosis of CRPS has on occupational outcomes with a mean delay in referral of 55 days, clinics and providers should set up referral criteria and establish early pain pathways for patients diagnosed with CRPS.
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