Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

Also known as: RSD, reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome, complex regional pain syndrome, causalgia, Sudeck’s atrophy, shoulder-hand syndrome.

What is reflex sympathetic dystrophy?

Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a general pain disorder that can affect various regions of the body. It is poorly understood but seems to stem from the autonomic nervous system, which is the part of the nervous system that handles involuntary functions like heart rate and blood pressure.
 

What causes reflex sympathetic dystrophy?

The cause of reflex sympathetic dystrophy is not entirely clear. It appears to be related to nerve damage due to burns, infection, trauma, surgery or other causes. Many cases of reflex sympathetic dystrophy have no identifiable cause.
 

What are the symptoms of reflex sympathetic dystrophy?

Common symptoms are pain and swelling at the site of a previous injury. Tender skin, sweating, difficulty with movement, skin discoloration, shiny skin and variety of other symptoms can also be part of reflex sympathetic
dystrophy.
 

What are reflex sympathetic dystrophy care options?

A variety of different treatments seem to help with reflex sympathetic dystrophy. Certain medications can help reduce pain, and treatments such as whirlpools, physical therapy, electrical nerve stimulation and other seem to help.

Reviewed by: Migvis Monduy, MD

This page was last updated on: 10/15/2018 2:23:59 PM

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