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Aware-RSD

About RSDS/CRPS

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Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD) also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) is a chronic neurological syndrome characterized by:

 

severe burning pain

 

pathological changes in bone and skin

 

excessive sweating

 

tissue swelling

 

extreme sensitivity to touch

 

( For a complete description of RSD/CRPS symptoms, please read the Diagnosis section of the Clinical Practice Guidelines in the third section of this website).

 

 

There are Two Types of CRPS Type I and Type II.  

 

CRPS Type I (also referred to as RSD) cases in which the nerve injury cannot be immediately identified

 

 

CRPS Type II (also referred to as Causalgia) cases in which a distinct "major" nerve injury has occurred  

 

 

RSD/CRPS is best described in terms of an injury to a nerve or soft tissue (e.g. broken bone) that does not follow the normal healing path

 

 

RSD/CRPS development does not appear to depend on the magnitude of the injury. The sympathetic nervous system seems to assume an abnormal function after an injury

 

 

Since there is no single laboratory test to diagnose RSD/CRPS, the physician must assess and document both subjective complaints (medical history) and, if present, objective findings (physical examination).

 

 

Criteria for Diagnosing

 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I (RSD)

 

The presence of an initiating noxious event, or a cause of immobilization

 

Continuing pain, allodynia, or hyperalgesia with which the pain is disproportionate to any inciting event

 

 

Evidence at some time of edema, changes in skin blood flow (skin color changes, skin temperature changes more than 1.1C difference from the homologous body part), or abnormal sudomotor activity in the region of the pain

 

 

This diagnosis is excluded by the existence of conditions that would otherwise account for the degree of pain and dysfunction

 

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type II (Causalgia)

 

The presence of continuing pain, allodynia, or hyperalgesia after a nerve injury, not necessarily limited to the distribution of the injured nerve

 

 

Evidence at some time of edema, changes in skin blood flow (skin color changes, skin temperature changes more than 1.1C difference from the homologous body part), or abnormal sudomotor activity in the region of pain

 

 

This diagnosis is excluded by the existence of conditions that would otherwise account for the degree of pain and dysfunction.

Facts And Fiction On RSD

Reflex Sympathetic Dystropy is a disease that is poorly understood by patients, their families and health care professionals. In some the disease is mild, and in others it is moderate and sometimes it is a severe condition. You will note listed below is soe facts about RSD and fiction.

1 . Fiction: Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy is rare Fact: RSD is not rare and affects millions of people.

2 . Fiction: RSD is a recently discovered disease. Fact: RSD was discovered during the Civil War and has been known by various names since then.

3 . Fiction: RSD doesn't spread Fact: RSD does spread in 70% of the patients. It usually will spread up the same extremity and may continue to spread on the same side of the body or to the opposite extremity. Some patients have had RSD spread throughout the entire body.

4 . Fiction: RSD will burn itself out in six months. Fact: Many patients who are not treated early will experience spreading of this disease and it will be a life long problem. Even with early treatment RSD can be a chronic condition.

5 . Fiction: Children don't get RSD - In children it's psycho- logical. Fact: RSD has been diagnosed in kids as early as three years of age. Children can develop psychological problems when doctors, parents and teachers don't believe the child's pain is real.

6 . Fiction: Minor inures can't cause RSD. Fact: Minor injuries, like a sprain or a fall, are a frequent cause of RSD.

7 . Fiction: A painful limb should be casted. Fact: Casting and immobilizing can make the RSD symptoms worse.

8 . Fiction: After a few treatments if no results then nothing can be done. Fact: There are many forms of treatment for RSD. If one doesn't work, the doctor will continue trying other treatments until he/she finds the one that helps the patients pain.

9 . Fiction: Patients continue to complain because of secondary gains. Fact: The majority of RSD patients were active, productive individuals prior to gettig RSD and don't enjoy being in constqnt pain....

10. Fiction: Once some RSD cases goes into remission, it doesn't come back. Fact: It can subside for years, but can appear again with a new injury.

11. Fiction: Vigorous and aggressive physical therapy is best. Fact: No pain, no gain doesn't apply to RSD patients.

12. Fiction: The treatment for all RSD patients should be the same. Fact: Each patient's treatment plan varies.

13. Fiction: Any doctor can treat RSD. Fact: RSD is a complex disease with various degrees of severity and disability. Patients should be treated by a physician that knows how to treat RSD and specializes in this area.

14. Fiction: There are no symptoms except for pain, swelling, color changes, and heat or cold sensations. Fact: There are numerous symptoms with RSD.

15. Fiction: Family and friends find RSD easy to understand. Fact: RSD is difficult for many doctors and the patient to understand. Therefore, it is not surprising that family and friends can't understand what the patient's pain is like. It's hard for others to understand rsd patients pain level can flucuate from day to day.

16. Fiction: The pain isn't as bad as the patient says it is. Fact: The pain is usually as bad as the patient claimed and often a lot worse.

17. Fiction: Narcotics don't help relieve the pain. Fact: Narcotics are effective in some patients.

18. Fiction: RSD occurs in psychologically unbalanced people. Fact: People who get RSD are no different than others. Once a person gets RSD, they are in constant pain.

19. Fiction: There is no hope for patients with RSD. Fact: There is research going on all over the world. Researches are studying what causes some to get RSD and others don't.

If a physician isn't familar with RSD and the proper treatments, or is stumped by the symptoms, he/ she should refer the patiet elsewhere. The main thing with RSD is you need to be properly diagnosed as soon as possible.

Click Here To View More Articles on RSDS/CRPS

Click Here To See RSDS/CRPS Photos of Affected Limbs and Areas

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