Do you have ongoing pain, stiffness, redness, swelling, or other problems months after a medical procedure or an accident such as a car accident? You may have RSD.
Read on to find out what RSD is and what can be done to ease your suffering.
What is Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD)?
RSD is a form of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). Those who have RSD commonly experience chronic pain at the site of the injury or medical procedure, most often in the arms, legs, hands, or feet. Usually, the pain from RSD is much more severe than the injury or medical procedure that triggered the RSD.
Those with RSD may experience any, some, or all of the following:
- Aching, burning, deep, or throbbing pain
- Recurring skin infections
- Difficulty moving
- Movement causes pain
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle spasms
- Stiff joints
- Discolored skin
- Neurological problems
- Increased or decreased perspiration
- Short-term memory loss
- Emotional imbalance, such as depression or anxiety
RSD May Be Life-Threatening
RSD can be life-threatening in the most severe cases, which may require amputations. Those who suffer from RSD frequently experience depression or anxiety. Those victims who are depressed or anxious are at greater risk for alcohol or drug abuse and addiction, which can shorten life.
RSD Can Affect Your Immune System
Someone who suffers from RSD and is clinically depressed as a result may have a compromised immune system and a suppressed immune response.
RSD Can Affect Your Heart
The sympathetic nervous system regulates your heartbeat, blood pressure, and respiration. If RSD is caused by a dysfunction of the sympathetic nervous system, as many medical professionals believe, then RSD can cause fluctuations in blood pressure or a rapid heartbeat.
What Causes RSD?
The cause of RSD has not been definitively established to date. Some medical professionals believe that RSD is triggered by trauma to the central nervous system from an injury, treatment for an injury, or a botched medical procedure.
Other medical professionals believe that RSD is caused by the response of the sympathetic nervous system to an injury or a medical procedure. When the body experiences physical trauma, the sympathetic nervous system directs blood vessels to constrict so that not too much blood is lost. Then, after the trauma is over, the sympathetic nervous system directs blood vessels to open and allow blood to reach the traumatized area to heal it.
If the sympathetic nervous system turns on after trauma but doesn’t turn off, this can cause inflammation and pain, swelling, and redness at the site of the trauma.
Will My RSD Go Away in Time?
RSD victims rarely recover without medical intervention. Most victims of RSD are treated with ongoing pain management techniques. In the most extreme circumstances, surgery such as spinal cord stimulation or amputation of the injured area may be required.
How Is RSD Treated?
Unfortunately, RSD does not have a cure. The earlier you seek medical treatment for suspected RSD, the more likely your symptoms can be treated and alleviated.
Common treatments for RSD symptoms include:
- Anesthetic creams
- Antidepressant and anti-anxiety medication
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Injections that block the nerves
- Aspirin or ibuprofen
- Physical therapy
- Spinal cord stimulator
What to Do If You Think You Have RSD
Seek Medical Evaluation and Treatment
If you have been injured or have had a medical procedure in the recent past and after reading this article suspect that the pain you’ve suffered since may be RSD, you should seek medical help immediately. The sooner you seek and get the appropriate treatment, the more likely your symptoms can be treated successfully.
Contact an RSD Attorney for Help
Your RSD was caused by either an injury or medical malpractice. Were you injured in an accident? An RSD lawyer will work with you to identify who was at fault, how they were negligent, and how your RSD impacts your daily life.
You may be entitled to compensation for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity, and pain and suffering if someone was at fault for your RSD. Talk to an RSD lawyer about your options.