Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy in Beverly Hills

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), which is also known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) affects one limb, such as the arm, hand, foot, or leg, after an injury.

Causes of RSD

It is unclear why some people develop RSD while others with similar trauma don’t. But over 90% of the cases show a history of injury or trauma. Some of the common triggers include:

  • Soft tissue injury – burns, cuts, or bruises
  • Sprains or strains
  • Fractures
  • Limb immobilization
  • Surgery
  • Minor medical procedures – needle stick

Symptoms of RSD

RSD represents an unusual response that magnifies the effects of the trauma. The person responds strongly to a trigger that has no effect on other people, in a similar way to food allergies. The key symptoms include:

  • Constant severe pain
  • Burning or pin and needles sensation
  • Pain spreading to the entire limb
  • Increased sensitivity in the affected area, causing severe pain upon contact
  • Swelling of the affected limb, as wells as changes in skin color, texture, and temperature
  • Stiffness in affected joints

Diagnosis of RSD

There is no specific test to confirm RSD, so its diagnosis depends on the evaluation of a skilled doctor, as well as a physical examination. Some tests may be ordered to rule out other possible conditions. The doctor may request magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-rays, thermography, or triple-phase bone scans to help confirm the diagnosis.

RSD Treatment

Treatment options are varied and depend on the severity and duration of the symptoms, though they all attempt to relieve painful systems and restore full function of the affected limb. Common RSD treatments include physical therapy, psychotherapy, medications, spinal cord stimulation, and sympathetic nerve blocks. Surgery may also be recommended, especially if RSD is caused by a compressed nerve, in order to release the pressure.

Schedule your consultation to learn more about RSD treatment for your situation.