Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)

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What is Refle x sympathetic dystrophy (RSD) ?

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), also known as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), is a chronic and often progressive condition characterized by intense and chronic pain in a specific part of the body, usually the arms, legs, hands, or feet. It is thought to be caused by a dysfunction of the nervous system, leading to abnormal pain signaling and inflammation.


The symptoms of RSD/CRPS can vary, but typically include:

  1. Severe, burning pain in the affected area
  2. Swelling, stiffness, and decreased range of motion
  3. Skin changes, such as discoloration, temperature changes, or changes in texture
  4. Increased sensitivity to touch or other stimuli
  5. Muscle spasms or tremors
  6. Changes in nail or hair growth patterns

The exact cause of RSD/CRPS is not fully understood, but it is thought to be related to a malfunction in the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates the body's involuntary responses to stress and pain. The condition may be triggered by an injury or trauma, surgery, infection, or other medical conditions.


Treatment for RSD/CRPS typically involves a combination of medications, physical therapy, and nerve blocks to manage pain and improve function. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to address structural issues or damage to the affected area. It's important to seek medical attention if you suspect you have RSD/CRPS, as early diagnosis and treatment can improve outcomes and prevent complications.

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