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CRPS Cork 2017: International Association for the Study of Pain

Recently Cork hosted the SIG of the IASP world conference on CRPS. The theme of the conference centred around the role of the multidisciplinary team (MDT) management and the importance of partnership to help identify, treat and understand the nature of this disabling pain condition.

It was the largest gathering ever of specialists in this field with 240 delegates from 20 different countries in attendance.  Chaired by Dr Dominic Hegarty, Consultant in Pain Management and Neuromodulation, Cork University Hospital, World Institute Of Pain (WIP) Ireland Section Chair and Chair, CRPS Cork 2017 (IASP SIG in CRPS), the theme of the conference was ‘Working together to succeed’.

Dr Hegarty explains that the conference focused “on the role of multidisciplinary team management and the importance of partnership to help identify, treat and understand the nature of this disabling pain condition”. High-calibre international speakers, excellent networking opportunities and a range of cutting-edge demonstrations ensured that this conference was a huge success.

In particular the conference dealt with several areas including a presentation by Prof Lorimer, Moseley University of South Australia, on the ability of using brain training in CRPS. The aspect of spatial neglect and chronic CRPS, was addressed by Prof Andre Mouraux, (Belgium), while Prof Lance McCracken (London, UK) considered the evidence for acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and the influence it has on outcomes in CRPS. The potential for graded motor imagery to ‘rewire’ the brain was presented by Prof Tim Beames (UK).

Dr Jenny Lewis (Bath, UK) presented her research on body perception disturbance in CRPS and this was followed by very challenging research on where the physical limits of pain are in CRPS by Prof Van Dongen (Netherlands)

Prof Candy McCabe (Bath, UK) summarised the lessons of 30 years of experience to advise on designing the ‘perfect’ MDT team and this was illustrated by the combined work of the Walton Centre Liverpool and the experience of the team at the Cork CRPS Forum.

Uniquely, the floor was opened to patient representative groups to present the patient view and they underlined how important it is to “believe the CRPS patient at all times” and how communication between services is vital as therapy progresses. A set of guidelines to help advise healthcare professionals about CRPS from a patient perspective was launched at the Cork event.

Pain medicine in Cork has a strong partnership with the Tyndall National Institute, University College Cork (UCC), and this was underlined when Dr Hegarty and Dr Paul Galvin, Tyndall National Institute, UCC, co-chaired a fascinating session focusing on the role of technology in the diagnosis and therapy strategies for the future. Prof Slavin (Chicago, US) and Prof Hugyen (Netherlands) emphasised the potential in this area. Discussion on the development of new novel pharmacological-based treatments will depend on greater understanding of the bioscience and here too exciting new options are emerging.

Another first for the local organising committee was the inclusion of a poster and oral presentation section. There were 24 exciting new projects presented. This was so successful it has already been proposed for the next CRPS meeting in Italy in 2019.

Bringing the CRPS meeting to Cork made it the largest international pain meeting ever held in the region. With the backing of the Cork Convention Bureau and Fáilte Ireland this meeting was valued at €450,000 for the local economy.

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