Information About Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) is a hard ailment to pin down. The precise reasons for the development of RSD are a bit vague and are still being studied. It can be said, however, that RSD can be caused by a sudden injury, such as a car accident. Other known triggers for RSD are surgery, falls, prolonged disuse of a limb (for example, the limb has been in a cast).

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is in fact known by many names, among which are:

  • Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)

  • Shoulder-Hand Syndrome

  • Causalgia

  • Sudeck’s Atrophy

Due to its seemingly spontaneous nature, someone suffering from RSD has better odds if they begin treatment during the early stages, of which there are three.

Acute. This stage of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy can last from 1 to 3 months and can come with a slew of symptoms, including muscle spasms, stiffness in the joints, changes in skin color and body temperature .

Dystrophic. This stage of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy can last from 3 to 6 months, during which time your pain will likely become more intense. There may also be swelling, weakened muscle tone, continued stiffness in the joints.

Atrophic. This stage of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy can cause more permanent changes to your skin and your bones. Pain persists. Muscle atrophy.

In general, the symptoms of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy are:

  • Burning

  • Tenderness

  • Swelling

  • Sweating

  • Warmth/Coolness

  • Flushing

  • Discoloration

  • Shiny skin

Diagnosis of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

It can be difficult to diagnose this condition since many of the common symptoms are also common among other ailments. Repeated testing is often necessary to reach a diagnosis for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy; X-rays and radiological tests will be useful in coming to this diagnosis.

Treatment for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

There are many treatment methods for this condition, with varying results. Among the various treatments for Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy are physical therapy, exercise, psychotherapy to help manage issues of anxiety and depression, and surgery. Medications prescribed for this condition include antidepressants, anti-seizure drugs, topical analgesics, and corticosteroids.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is a strange and troubling condition. If you or someone you know is suffering from this ailment you should continue researching it. Try visiting the eMedicine website.

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