INTRODUCTION Complex regional pain syndrome is characterized by pain, allodynia, hyperalgesia, edema, signs of vasomotor instability, movement disorders, joint stiffness, and regional osteopenia. It is recognized to be difficult to treat, despite various methods of treatment, including physiotherapy, calcitonin, corticosteroids, sympathetic blockade, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Pathophysiologically, complex regional pain syndrome reveals enhanced regional bone resorption and high bone turnover, and so bisphosphonates, which have a potent inhibitory effect on bone resorption, were proposed for the treatment of complex regional pain syndrome. CASE PRESENTATION A 48-year-old Japanese man with complex regional pain syndrome type I had severe right ankle pain with a visual analog scale score of 59 out of 100 regardless of treatment with physiotherapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for five months. Radiographs showed marked regional osteoporotic changes and bone scintigraphy revealed a marked increase in radioactivity in his ankle. One month after the start of oral administration of risedronate (2.5 mg per day), his bone pain had fallen from a VAS score of 59 out of 100 to 18 out of 100. Bone scintigraphy at 12 months showed a marked reduction in radioactivity to a level comparable to that in his normal, left ankle. On the basis of these results, the treatment was discontinued at 15 months. At 32 months, our patient had almost no pain and radiographic findings revealed that the regional osteoporotic change had returned to normal.A second 48-year-old Japanese man with complex regional pain syndrome type I had severe right foot pain with a visual analog scale score of 83 out of 100 regardless of treatment with physiotherapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for nine months. Radiographs showed regional osteoporotic change in his phalanges, metatarsals, and tarsals, and bone scintigraphy revealed a marked increase in radioactivity in his foot. One month after the start of oral administration of alendronate (35 mg per week), his bone pain had fallen from a visual analog scale score of 83 out of 100 to 30 out of 100 and, at nine months, was further reduced to 3 out of 100. The treatment was discontinued at 15 months because of successful pain reduction. At 30 months, our patient had no pain and the radiographic findings revealed marked improvement in regional osteoporotic changes. CONCLUSIONS We believe low-dose oral administration of bisphosphonate is worth considering for the treatment of idiopathic complex regional pain syndrome type I accompanied by regional osteoporotic change.